I don’t know why but I just can’t bring myself to produce my annual “Suggested Lenten Reading and Resources” post. It’s not that I have no recommendations; like a vaudeville comedian, “I got a million of ’em.”
I just have no head for gathering it all together in one spot. I think I need to shake things up, do something different. Maybe the Holy Spirit wants me to hit precise targets — make sure certain people see certain books — and that’s best done shot-by-shot than with a spray of ammo?
Anyway, so this year, instead of one big post, I’m going to do a series of little posts. A book title, a cover shot and a quote or two from it. Assume if I’m featuring it at all, it means I’m recommending it, and that way you can kind of discern if you too might like it!
Let’s start off with Fr. Dwight Longenecker’s Praying the Rosary for Inner Healing, which is not precisely a “Lenten” book, but I think it might be particularly useful in Lent, when we are looking for renewal and healing from our old self, our repeated failings, and all of the old wounds that pull us down into them.
“…evil cannot extinguish the good. What is essentially empty, negative, and false cannot overcome all that is abundant, positive, and true. The darkness cannot put out the light. It is simply impossible for evil to defeat goodness. That’s why Jesus rose from the dead: because you cannot kill the one who is Life, itself.”
That’s a simple truth we don’t ponder enough. We’re all very hard on ourselves, and there are times when we really should be, but not to the extent that we begin to self-destruct. We can’t let our sins and mistakes lead us to forgetting that we have light, and we have worth — we must be worth something or God wouldn’t create us, wouldn’t love us so lavishly, wouldn’t constantly be waiting for us to turn toward him. No matter how badly we have sinned, how distinctly we have screwed up, we’re not “nothing.” God cannot exist where “nothing” is (you know I’ve said that before and often).So, we’re something, and what good we have managed in our lives cannot be extinguished, not even by our own badness.
Can you imagine it? Can you place yourself in the amazingly tiny state of a seed and egg meeting? You were once just two cells at the creation point of a new life. Allow the Holy Spirit to bring you to that simple moment. Can you feel what the emotion was like at that moment in time? Was it full of love, tenderness, and God’s grace, or was there negativity, lust, or rage within that foundation moment? Was there tension, selfishness and fear? Was there a lack of trust, despair or anger?
Let it go. Let Jesus Christ’s forgiveness and healing into that moment. Feel God’s perfect fatherly love and grace filling that moment. Allow the motherly love of Mary to overwhelm any gaps and failings in the love of your human parents. Allow the forgiveness of Christ to flow to them. He loves them and knows their failings. He knows the gaps in their lives, too. Take time. Allow Christ’s healing love to seep into every tiny crevice at the very beginnings and foundation of your personality. Rest in the knowledge and presence of Jesus Christ the healer. He is there at at that moment. You were formed in his perfect love. You are safe, secure, loved and valued. You are infinitely precious in his sight.
Praying the Rosary for Inner Healing is a unique book, that may speak perfectly to a very unique need for healing, and for the real “letting go” that healing allows. We are meant to be free, first and foremost of the evils that have touched our lives, through no fault of our own.