Lent is the season I love to hate (or hate to love?). The idea, therefore, of spending Lent with Mary has a lot of appeal, though it’s probably what I’m already doing (although probably not well).

How could I resist, then, a book so enticingly titled A Lenten Journey with Mother Mary, by none other than Fr. Edward Looney, author of one of my favorite devotionals, A Rosary Litany?

I couldn’t.

And rather than read it before Lent, as I would normally do for a review, I’m sharing about it now as an invitation to you to join me. I’m ready for Lent, or as ready as I ever am for a season in which I’ll fail and start again and then fail some more. I’ve learned that it’s not about the failing; it’s about the perseverance.

And who better to guide me than Mama Mary?

“In the first week, we will let go of our sins as we examine our consciences and later seek forgiveness through the sacrament of Reconciliation. In weeks two and three, we will respond to Our Lady’s request to pray for specific intentions, focusing on one each day. In our fourth week, we will learn different methods of prayer and give each a try, and in the fifth, we will focus on the need for healing in our lives and in our world. During the Triduum ⏤ Holy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday ⏤ we will move to a reflection about Mary in those days of Jesus’ life. During the Easter Octave, we will continue with a postlude to our Lenten journey and turn our focus to St. Faustina. … During these days we will focus on developing greater trust in God.”

Sounds like just what I need. And while I would like to add “I need it this year more than ever,” I think that’s true every year.

Here we are, in February, the armpit of winter. The days are bitter and cold, even when they’re flirting with the 40s. There’s an overcast air, even when there’s sunshine streaming around me.

So let’s go Lenting, shall we? Let’s dive in.

Fr. Looney encourages us: “I’ve been excited to get a book I wanted to pray with during Advent or Lent, but then I quickly fell behind and was not sure what to do next. If this happens to you, don’t become discouraged. While it is ideal to read all the meditations, so as to understand better Mary’s messages at approved apparitions, don’t let falling behind cause you to leave the book on the nightstand until next year. … Begin again, starting with the week you are currently in. The devil wants to discourage us and does not want us to draw closer to God in prayer. The devil doesn’t want us to listen to Mary, because her foot is the one that will crush the serpent’s ugly head.”