In the Episcopalian tradition, of which I am a part, Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Holy Saturday, the day before Easter. Most years, in accordance with the invitation from the Book of Common Prayer (p. 265) to observe Lent “by self-examination and repentance; by prayer, fasting, and self-denial; and by reading and meditating on God’s holy Word,” I make plans for those very things: self-examination, self-denial, reading, and meditating. This year is slightly different in that I am extending my Lenten journey, sort of, to the last week of April when my wife and I have a scheduled vacation on Seneca Lake, one of the Finger Lakes in upper New York State.
I was inspired to see this year’s Lenten journey as a pilgrimage after picking up an ebook, Are We There Yet? Pilgrimage in the Season of Lent, a devotional from Forward Movement, a ministry of the Episcopal Church. One of the pilgrimages a few of the authors took, and reflected upon, was Camino de Santiago (the Way of St. James), an ancient route leading to the cathedral city of Santiago, Spain, the legendary resting place of the relics of James the Greater (one of the sons of Zebedee).” So, I am calling my own Lenten journey for 2022 the Camino de Seneca.
It also works because for the last couple of years, I have been making my way through the works of Stoic philosophers, of which Seneca was one. My journey is to the physical Seneca and the metaphysical Seneca.
In addition to the aforementioned book, I also have selected a few other books to serve as my guide on my journey/pilgrimage. To accompany Are We There Yet?, I also am using daily The Pilgrim Way of Lent: Meditations from Washington National Cathedral, another devotional from Forward Movement. And I have selected seven (possible) books for the seven Sundays from tomorrow through Easter Sunday:
- Fear: Essential Wisdom for Getting through The Storm by Thich Nhat Hanh
- Convictions: How I Learned What Matters Most by Marcus J. Borg
- Turning My Mourning into Dancing by Henri Nouwen
- Liturgy of the Ordinary: Sacred Practices in Ordinary Life by Tisha Harrison Warren
- Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times by Katherine May
- No Man is An Island by Thomas Merton
- Your Erroneous Zones: Step-by-Step Advice for Escaping the Trap of Negative Thinking and Taking Control of Your Life by Wayne W. Dyer.
On the Stoic front, I also have been reading The Art of Living: The Classical Manual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness by Epictetus, a new interpretation by Sharon Lebell, and The Daily Stoic: 366 Meditations on Wisdom, Perseverance, and the Art of Living by Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention “what I’m giving up” for Lent. Seneca Lake is known for its wines, one of the things to which Kim and I are looking forward. So, it only seemed natural that I should give up alcohol, especially wine, for Lent…and so I am…or, to be completely candid, trying to do so anyway.
Earlier in the week, I pulled a muscle in my back and took a day off work on Thursday because of the pain. So, this weekend, in addition to the start of my Lenten pilgrimage to Seneca (Lake), I’m continuing to recuperate and mostly resting in my recliner with a pillow propped up behind me. On Thursday, I bingewatched the rest of Season 1 of Doom Patrol that I have been slowly making my way through. I might bingewatch more tomorrow. We’ll see.
So, what are you up to this weekend? Reading, watching, and/or listening to anything good? Please share in the comments.