Sense and Sensibility

A Lenten Exploration

Sam Portaro

Nov/2018, 136 Pages, PAPER, 5 x 7

ISBN-13: 9781640651272

• Daily Lenten reflections with a novel approach
• Color images enhance message of text

Lent is often a season given to denial of physical pleasure and sensation, but are we already denied these by a cultural atmosphere saturated with visual images, noise and air pollution, violence, and processed foods that has already dulled the senses? The physical senses play an integral role in the human capacity for emotion and feeling. Overstimulation in the physical senses gradually erodes one's ability to feel emotion. Yet empathy—emotional identification and connection with others—is crucial to liturgical engagement, especially in the highly dramatic practices of the signal events of the Christian Year.

Sam Portaro proposes to restore our ability to participate emotionally in the Lenten journey by revisiting the five physical senses—one per week—in Lent. The discipline of a 40-day preparation for Easter suggests the importance the Church places on this seasonal retelling of the central acts of Christian redemption. Sense and Sensibility encourages the reader to renew a relationship with the physical senses that is a prerequisite to a deeply attuned engagement with the biblical stories read, taught, and liturgically re-enacted in the rites of Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, Holy Week, and Easter.

Audience: Individuals, clergy, seekers, those who use Lenten devotional materials

Sam Portaro, former Episcopal Chaplain to the University of Chicago and Director of Brent House, has had a long and rich career in campus ministry mentoring students and young adults. His published work reflects his own vocational journey: Inquiring & Discerning Hearts: Vocation & Ministry with Young Adults on Campus; Crossing the Jordan: Meditations on Vocation, Conflict, and A Christian Life; and Sheer Christianity.


  • Meditation
  • Lent
  • Easter

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