7 Quick Takes Friday: Preparing for Lent

Thanks for stopping by our blog! On most Fridays we share our 7 Quick Takes and link up to the blog Conversion Diary. Sometimes our “takes” have a theme; other times, it’s just a series of very random, rather useless thoughts. This week’s theme was an easy chip shot given Lent begins on Ash Wednesday next week. Wowsa — it really is right around the corner, eh? I’ve shared a few Lenten resources here, and I would love to hear what practices or devotions you are incorporating into your Lenten spiritual journey. Whatever your particular devotion or resource of choice, in the spirit of St. Benedict, may you await holy Easter with the joy of spiritual desire. Looking forward to receiving your comments! 

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A resource I have been using for many years is Praying Lent: An online resource of Creighton University. The site has compiled a plethora of resources to help you grow in your relationship with God during the season of Lent. Some of you may have the time and desire to use many of the resources. Others, like me, may only have time to cherry pick certain prayers or devotions. Go check out the site; you are sure to find something that works for you.

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Another terrific resource is the Magnificat Lenten Companion app available via iTunes and optimized for the iPad. It very well might be the best $.99 to spend this season. If you don’t have an iPad, as in years past, a print edition is also available.

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How many times have you walked out of Sunday Mass and because of one distraction or another felt you really didn’t hear one word that was said? I certainly have those moments so I’m especially eager to spend a few minutes each day with the book Conversing with God in Lent: Praying the Sunday Mass Readings with Lectio Divina by Stephen J. Binz. Latin for “divine reading,” lectio divina describes a way of reading the Scriptures whereby we gradually let go of our own agenda and open ourselves to hear what the Lord is saying. Binz’s book simply and succinctly leads readers through the 4 steps of lectio devina (read, meditate, pray, and contemplate) for the Old Testament and Gospel readings for each Sunday during Lent. Even with a variety of distractions that will indeed occur during the Mass, I’m comforted knowing I’ll have spent some time praying with Scripture throughout the week.

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On the surface, the following idea may appear to be my Lenten penance, but I am committing (promising) to read a 1,000+ page book this Lent. The book is A Father’s Tale, a novel by Michael O’Brien. When the complementary thick and heavy copy arrived on our doorstep, Joel and I joked it would make a great tool for jacking up the car when changing the oil!

Have you read it? Thoughts? From the reviews, the book appears to be an amazing read, and I’m very excited to dive into it. It’s been a long time since I’ve read a book for *gasp* pleasure! Here’s a quick synopsis: 

O’Brien describes the book as a retelling of the parables of the Prodigal Son and the Good Shepherd, which should tell us about the ambition of his novel — it seeks to bring the teaching stories of Jesus to bear on the modern cultural and religious situation. These themes are played out in the life of one person — the faithful father of the title — who struggles with a series of personal crises as he steps unwittingly onto a world historical stage involving the relations between East and West, both in terms of Church history and global politics (read full review).

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I am thrilled that an Elizabeth Ministy chapter is now off the ground in Des Moines and hosted at St. Augustine Catholic Church. Elizabeth Ministry is an international movement designed to offer hope and healing for women and their families on issues related to childbearing, sexuality, and relationships. I look forward to sharing more information about the ministry in the weeks, months, and God willing, years to come. If you are a local reader looking for more information about Elizabeth Ministry, drop me a note and I’ll connect you with the powers that be.

— 6 —

And speaking of childbearing and sexuality issues, the St. Jospeh Education Center of Iowa and the St. Augustin Respect Life Committee are pleased to co-sponsor the presentation Christus Medicus: A Physician’s Witness to the Culture of Life with Dr. Damon Cudihy on Thursday, March 1 from 7:00 – 8:30 p.m. at St. Augustin Church in Des Moines.

Dr. Cudihy, a Catholic Ob/Gyn practicing at the Center for Women’s Health in Pennsylvania, will share a personal witness of his professional commitment to integrate into his medical practice a Catholic vision of authentic sexuality and the dignity of preborn human life. He will discuss the challenges and the joys of living his faith in the workplace. Register now for Dr. Cudihy’s talk.

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Don’t let your babies grow up to be JPEGs!

Not to get the cart before the horse, but after we journey through the six weeks of Lent, Easter will be upon us and in many parishes, that brings the celebration of First Communion, Confirmation, and graduation. If you have one of these special events to celebrate, how about giving your child a personalized memory book to treasure? Or maybe you are looking for a cute and personalized Christian devotional book to help lead your child even closer to the Lord? Or maybe you are a Godparent looking for a unique gift?

If any of these apply, consider working with my good friend Sara and her photo solutions business — she would be honored to help you create customized photo memory books for these special occasions. You provide the photos and she does all the hard work! The memory books are digital photo albums with about 40 – 45 photos, sprinkled with various devotional and inspirational quotes. Check it out!


  1. Dianna says

    Sigh …. #3 …. I’ve left Mass plenty of times feeling like I’ve wrestled a bear, or two. My sweet babies certainly make it a challenge to pay attention.

    Can’t believe it’s already Lent!

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