40 Days, 40 Ways: A New Look at Lent is not your typical Lenten devotional book. This chapter-a-day volume features a daily penitential or devotional practice. But that’s just the beginning of what Dr. Marcellino D’Ambrosio offers the reader each day. The meat of each chapter is a reflection or meditation that helps Catholics understand how to live the faith in concrete ways. Practices such as the Rosary, Eucharistic adoration and the Sign of the Cross are explained simply but thoroughly, giving the reader new appreciation and understanding. While that’s not the express purpose of the book, the sections on “why we do what we do” were among those I found the most fascinating.
Dr. D’Ambrosio’s book offers a combination of reflections on Scripture, examples from history, stories of his own experiences and plenty of concrete ideas for keeping Lent well. He shares his broad knowledge of history, Scripture and the Church in a manner that is encouraging, not intimidating; I found it engaging, fascinating and motivational.
Don’t let the day-by-day format of Dr. D’Ambrosio’s book discourage you. This book can be read day by day, but it’s just as useful to people like me who tend to fail at committing to daily devotional books. The beauty of this book is that it can be picked up at any point in Lent, and opened to just about any page, because each short chapter stands on its own.
The daily reflections challenge the reader to live out the faith through acts of charity, penance and prayer. More than a challenge, though, these reflections offer encouragement and hope. Dr. D’Ambrosio shows that penance does not have to involve feeling down on yourself; the actions suggested in this book will lift your spirits and transform your soul.
Learn more about Dr. D’Amrbosio at his website, The Crossroads Initative.
The fine print: I was provided with a preview copy of this book for the purposes of this review. I received no other compensation for the review, and the opinions expressed here are my own.