The season of Lent--the Church's spring--begins the celebration of the dying and rising of Jesus, a time of deep personal renewal only completed in the Easter season. With the revival of the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, Lent returns to its original character as a time of formation for catechumens. But the Sunday and daily liturgical readings for the season of Lent do more than prepare catechumens for the reception of Baptism at the Easter Vigil. Even the long baptized can progress through the liturgical readings of this season into a deeper experience of their Baptism, their death and rebirth in the Lord. As in the early Church, all of us can take the season of Lent, and especially its forty weekdays of fasting, as an opportunity to turn back to the Lord, our God. Patrick Ryan's reflections on the liturgical readings of the Lenten season arise not only from study of the scriptural passages involved but also from his extensive familiarity with the history of religion and his long experience of life in the Christian churches both of Africa and the United States. From years of inter-religious encounter he has come to a different sense of the Paschal mystery, one enriched by a broad appreciation for the complexity of human longing, religious and secular, for the transcendent. The drawings for this volume by the Austrian-born but New York-based artist Charlotte Lichtblau arise from long years of spirited exchange with the author.