Flannery O’Connor, the American Catholic southern gothic writer,
once said, “I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.”
That line has always resonated with me, but never more so than
when I sit down to write reflections on Scripture readings, verses that can
feel so familiar there seems nothing new to uncover. My latest book of
reflections, Not by Bread Alone 2021: Daily Reflections for Lent (Liturgical
Press), is my third book of Lenten meditations and prayers, and so the
challenge is real — but realer still is the truth that lives within Scripture.
Old passages can speak new hope to us at any particular moment of our lives if
we are willing to open ourselves up to the work and words of the Spirit. Even the
familiarity of Lent itself can turn a season of growth into a rote spiritual
exercise if we are not prepared to be surprised by God, sometimes in
The column originally ran on Huffington Post in 2015, but it’s a favorite so here it is one more time, just in time:
Lent is one of those seasons that always begins with the best of intentions and rapidly goes downhill, at least that’s how it usually plays out for me. I plan to pray more, eat less, and find creative ways to make my favorite time in the Church year more meaningful. Unfortunately, the ashes hardly have time to settle into the wrinkles on my forehead before I’m feeling like I’ve already failed.
Ash Wednesday is only four weeks away. I know if feels like we just got through Christmas, but, trust me, Lent will be here before you know it, and wouldn’t it be nice to have a companion to guide you through the desert, especially when getting to church these days is difficult if not impossible due to COVID? I have just the thing for you. My latest book of Scripture reflections, Not By Bread Alone 2021: Daily Reflections for Lent.