Catholic Commute S02E08 Hope of Lent – Interview with Diane Houdek

How you can have a lent that matters

In this episode I am joined by Diane Houdek, author of the book The Hope of Lent.  It features a lot of wisdom and teaching from Pope Francis, and is a great guide to your lenten journey.  Whether you are just starting or trying to recover, I recommend the book!

Diane does a great job making each daily meditation really practical to that day.  I found myself connecting with the comfortable wisdom that Pope Francis can offer.  In this episode, Diane and I discuss what everyone could gain from this book, in order to find a lent that accomplishes real change.

I recommend the book, and encourage you to go check it out!  You can download the episode here!

Click “Continue Reading” to read the show notes!

S02E09 Interview with Diane Houdek – The Joy of Lent with Pope Francis


St St. Francis of Assisi  is patron saint of episode


Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy.

O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.

In 1182, Pietro Bernardone returned from a trip to France to find out his wife had given birth to a son. Far from being excited or apologetic because he’d been gone, Pietro was furious because she’d had his new son baptized Giovanni after John the Baptist. The last thing Pietro wanted in his son was a man of God — he wanted a man of business, a cloth merchant like he was, and he especially wanted a son who would reflect his infatuation with France. So he renamed his son Francesco — which is the equivalent of calling him Frenchman.

Grew up super popular, wealthy, and lived a life of sin and wild parties.


He was great at business, wanted to be famous, went to the Crusades, was captured, ransomed, released, wanted back for more.  He got a great golden set of armor, then after leaving the manor, God intervened.


There he had a dream in which God told him he had it all wrong and told him to return home – and he did.  Francis’ conversion did not happen over night. Francis started to spend more time in prayer. He went off to a cave and wept for his sins.

One day while riding through the countryside, Francis, the man who loved beauty, who was so picky about food, who hated deformity, came face to face with a leper. Repelled by the appearance and the smell of the leper, Francis nevertheless jumped down from his horse and kissed the hand of the leper. When his kiss of peace was returned, Francis was filled with joy.


His search for conversion led him to the ancient church at San Damiano. While he was praying there, he heard Christ on the crucifix speak to him, “Francis, repair my church.”



Diane M. Houdek is the author of The Joy of Advent, Pope Francis and Our Call to Joy, Lent with St. Francis, and Advent with St. Francis. She is a professed Secular Franciscan with a bachelors degree in English and history from Marquette University and a masters degree in English literature from Northwestern University. She is the digital book editor for Franciscan Media and past editor of Weekday Homily Helps and Bringing Home the Word.

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