Posted January 26, 2010
Book: Open Our Hearts: A small-group guide for an active Lent: Cycle C
Authors: Donna L. Ciangio, O.P. and Thomas B. Iwanowski
Ave Maria Press. Notre Dame, IN. 2010. Pp. 81
An Excerpt from the Introduction:
Welcome to Open Our Hearts! This booklet was created with you in mind — Catholics who will gather in small groups this Lent to learn from and encourage one another. It is designed to help you open your heart and mind to the Good News. The purpose of Lent and of this faith sharing program is not simply to listen, pray, and learn about our faith but to put that faith into action. The purpose of Lent and of your time with your small group is to help change the way you live each day so that your life will more closely reveal to the world the Kingdom of God.
An Excerpt from the Book:
Gospel Reading: Luke 4:1 - 13
Filled with the Holy Spirit, Jesus returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit into the desert for forty days, to be tempted by the devil. He ate nothing during those days, and when they were over he was hungry. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become bread.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.” Then he took him up and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a single instant. The devil said to him, “I shall give to you all this power. . .
Appreciating the Word
At his baptism in the Jordan River, the Spirit of God came down upon Jesus as the voice of God proclaimed, “This is my beloved Son.” The Spirit of God then led Jesus into the desert, a place where he would not have chosen to spend forty days and nights. There the Spirit of God led Jesus to confront the devil and his temptations. There the Spirit of God led Jesus to consider his mission and ministry.
That same Spirit of God now leads us into the desert, not a desert blazing sun and scorching heat, but a desert that the Spirit of God challenges us to reflect on our life just as the Spirit of God led Jesus to reflect on his life and mission as he faced temptation. In this Lenten desert the Spirit leads us to examine whether we are faithfully living out the promises of our baptism — promises to turn from sin an selfishness and to move away from those things, persons and behaviors that hinder us from following Christ.
As the Spirit of God led Jesus into the desert and guided him throughout his ministry, so that same Spirit of God brings us to another season of Lent. If we are open to the Spirit of God, that Spirit will lead us to greater joy and deeper holiness, that Spirit will lead us into the very heart of God.
Table of Contents:
Using this booklet
Part I: Weekly small group sessions
Wk. 1 led by the Spirit
Wk. 2 shining divinely
Wk. 3 investing in God
Wk. 4 love unconditionally
Wk. 5 look beyond
Wk. 6 faithful to the mission
Part II: Weekday reflections
Facilitator’s weekly evaluation form