Ever since I first heard of it, I have thought very fondly of this discipline. It really ought to be more widely encouraged than it is. This year's reading is Dom Hubert van Zeller's Spirit of Penance, Path to God , and it's quite a read. He puts a lot of thought into everything in there, and it's a topic that's naturally suited to Lent. That it is brief is also a point in its favor, as there is a significant (okay, really significant) amount of reading for classes that I can't blow off. I also have Fr. Adrian Fortescue's The Mass: A Study of the Roman Liturgy, but I'm afraid I won't be able to give the work the time it deserves, with round about 40 books on the Crusades piled on my desk.
One comment for Lent that was monastic in origin, but really has a much wider application to the Christian life, has really stuck in my head lately. I'll paraphrase: "We have all these rules and restrictions put in place, these things that are seen almost as bars on a window- those bars on that window are the gateway to true freedom." Having the courage to admit that we are all in some way broken and ill, and then taking steps to correct it is necessary. We might not like the medicine, but it will cure the sickness, which is what will make us happier in the long run. And after all, we have a good model to follow- who better than the One who bore the punishment due to everyone and was Himself innocent?