Journey Through Lent by J D Crichton (Kevin Mayhew, £4.95) Fr John Clear
FROM the very first pages one is enthralled by this rather slim book. In chapter one the readet is treated to a most interesting and well researched outline history of the origins of Lent. The time scale of 40 days has its precedence in the sojourn of Moses on Mount Sinai as well as in the 40 years the people of Israel spent in the wilderness.
The practice of prayer, fasting and almsgiving was preached by Our Lord, so from the very early days of the Church, the faithful recognised that the best way to prepare for the worthy celebration of the Pascal Mysteries was to pray, fast and give alms during period of 40 days.
Next Mgr Crichton goes on to show us how the three readings for the five Sundays form a pattern that may not on every occasion be obvious, but nevertheless the strands are there in place. The responsorial psalms too can be seen to form a link between the Old Testament reading and the New, sometimes cloudy, sometimes unmistakable.
The chapters devoted to each Sunday of the three year cycle are fully explored through an explanation of the readings together with appropriate references to other passages in the scriptures. The presentation is never dull or heavy for the quotations and comments arc aptly employed, giving the underlying theme of the readings more emphasis.
As the blurb on the back cover of the book indicates, Mgr Crichton offers specimen homilies, but the wealth of sound teaching contained in each homily is enormous. So rich in fact is it that the material presented for any one Sunday could be used again in another homily on the same theme but with a slightly different approach.
This is a solid, refreshing book for the priest who has to face the same congregation Sunday after Sunday. Yet, if it is for him a handy little source of ideas, it can also be recommended for all those who wish to explore, and reflect on the scripture message for the live Sundays of Lent. Those who use Mgr Crichton's book as "points" for meditation will certainly he greatly helped ii a truly devotional way.