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Simplifying the Soul: Lenten Practices to Renew Your Spirit (Ave Maria Press) Paperback – December 19, 2011

4.7 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Too often thought of as simply a season of sacrifice, Lent is revealed here as something far richer--a privileged time to experience God in your everyday life, to open yourself to conversion, and to savor God's transforming love."--Rev. James Martin, S.J., Author of The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything


"This is the most moving, most appealing, and, at the same time, most practical book I have ever seen on Lenten practices."--Phyllis Tickle, Author of The Great Emergence


"Huston offers herself as a lively companion in a Lenten practice stripped of cliches. Join her--it might be the simplest and liveliest Lent you have ever kept."--Eugene Peterson, Author of Pastor: A Memoir


"When I read Huston's words I am galvanized and motivated toward greater simplicity." --Luci Shaw, Author of Water My Soul

About the Author

Paula Huston wrote literary fiction for twenty years before shifting her focus to spirituality. Since then, she has published the critically acclaimed Signatures of Grace, The Holy Way, By Way of Grace, and Forgiveness. A Camaldolese Benedictine oblate, Huston is married, has four grown children, and lives in central California.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Ave Maria Press (December 19, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594712697
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594712692
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #520,623 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Sarah Reinhard VINE VOICE on February 15, 2012
Format: Paperback
I sat down to read Simplifying the Soul: Lenten Practices to Renew Your Spirit, by Paula Huston, with the intention of just reading the first section. Then I decided I could read the first couple of sections.

And then I read the whole book.

In my defense, I had a whole evening before me and I needed to get the review written for the Patheos Book Club. What I found with this book, though, was much different than what I expected.

I don't know what, exactly, I expected, but I'm sure it had to do with preaching and a feeling of insignificance at the end. I was excited at the premise and what the book jacket promised, but maybe a little sure that I would not be able to approach Lent using this book as an actual resource.

"It will be good for someone, though," I thought, "and I can surely read it and see what I have to look forward to."

(Negative much?)

I was gloriously, wonderfully WRONG. I found myself reading, shaking my head, and looking forward to Lent, when I can dig in.

Will I fail? Yeah, probably. I do every year. In the failure is the kernel I need from Lent, I think, and success isn't usually about what I plan, but about what graces I allow God to work.

Each day of Lent has a task, with a reflection by the author from her own experience, and then an brief description of the task or practice for the day.

Throughout the book, you get to know Paula Huston as your guide, someone walking beside you and encouraging you, even as she doesn't settle for less than what you can at least try to do. She's gentle, but tough. She weaves humor in with what I can only call teaching: she makes the Desert Fathers and Mothers an accessible crew, even for a busy mom in the Midwest.
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Format: Paperback
Paula Huston is one of premier spiritual writers today (disclaimer (sort of): Paula is a friend of mine). She writes clearly and well about the deepest parts of the human experience -- our spiritual life. Simplifying the Soul provides wonderful (as the subtitle says) "Lenten practices to renew your soul."

Now, as a Quaker (a sect that eschews Advent, Lent -- where every day is both ordinary time and extra-ordinary time), I am not normally drawn to materials that are liturgical seasonally based. But, since Paula wrote this, I knew I wanted to read it and would find it helpful. And I did. And I'll return to it again and again -- in Lent and other times.

Lent is quickly approaching. So if you're a liturgical type, pick it up soon. And if you're un-liturgical (like me) get it anyhow!
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If you ever want to spend six weeks to refocus your walk with God this is a wonderful devotional tool to use. I am in the process of using right now and in my 56 years of life I can honestly say this is the best Lenten season I have ever experienced. It is good food for the body, soul and spirit. I highly recommend this book to all followers of Christ, no matter their church affliation.
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I love this book and it is quite helpful in an overwhelming fast paced world. It explains how to slow down and allow God to be first and foremost in your life. A wonderful book to use not only in Lent.
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I used this book post-Lent and found it just as useful for the 40 days I read it. Huston takes us through a six-week journey with devotionals for 6 days, allowing Sunday for worship. The book emphasises the letting go of stuff, both the physical and spiritual. "Sin is complicated", a friend reminds her so seeking "humility, the ground of goodness, is simple and open."

We start by simplifying space around us, we explore money in week one, then the body, the mind, our schedules, relationships and the final week we simplify prayer. Each day's reading has a message of reflection from Huston which paints a picture leading to a practical instruction for the day. These varied from cleaning a hidden space, to visiting the sick in hospital, to studying meditative prayer to name three.

I admit I didn't complete all the practical instructions, however, especially benefited from the discovery of the Divine Office and Lectio Divina, both of which I've happily continued to varying degrees. I appreciated Huston's musings. Her reflections her own spiritual journey to developing greater mindfulness has been of much encouragement and I look forward to reading more of her work. She made many references to the Desert Fathers and others who have inspired her on her journey.

I'm not a Catholic but heartily recommend this book for anyone looking to simplify one's life so as to gain some better clarity on humility.
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simplifying THE SOUL is just what the title says. It introduced me to some simple Lenten practices that made a lot of sense. I enjoyed Paula Huston's reflections, meditations and simple suggestions for practice. I am planning on continuing to practice her suggestions throughout the year to help become a better person and Christian.
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40 days of reflections and practices, designed to challenge the person and recharge the soul. Many of which have a deep spiritual tradition to them. Many date back to the desert fathers. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants more meaning in their Lenten journey.
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