The countdown to the New Year is fast approaching. Will you be making resolutions?
For most of us, the answer is yes. If you are a regular reader of this blog then you know that last year, I wrote a blog using the acronym R-E-S-O-L-V-E-D to help us focus our resolutions on the things that really matter. The “L” in the acronym stood for “Listening” in which I encouraged the cultivation of a listening spirit so that we could hear the voice of God in our everyday circumstances. In addition to prayer of the Holy Rosary, Eucharistic Adoration, and Lectio Divina, one of my favorite ways to practice “listening” is spiritual reading.
I’ve compiled the list below which features some of my all time favorite books for spiritual reflection, prayer, meditation and direction. I hope that you will incorporate one or several of them into your Catholic library because I know that you too will see much fruit in your relationship with God as a result. They are in no particular order.
Prayer Primer and Fire Withinby Fr. Thomas Dubay
These two classics are written by one of the spiritual giants of our time, Fr. Thomas Dubay, of happy memory. Fr. Dubay was a spiritual director, mentor, father, and friend to many through his writing, television programs, conferences and retreats. Fire Within is considered to be a hallmark of modern Catholic literature. In it he gives practical spiritual direction for those who are seeking to make progress in the path to holiness. Using wisdom and quotes from St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross and the Gospel on Prayer, as well as his own insightful commenary, this is sure to become a book to which you refer to over and over. It has certainly become a permanent fixture in my Catholic library.
is a very practical handbook which gives readers the essentials of Christian prayer, meditation and contemplation. It goes far beyond the basics but is useful for beginners and proficients alike. Fr. Dubay takes the reader by the hand and draws you into deeper, more intimate dialogue with Jesus through the various forms of prayer. It is also very helpful in contrasting authentic Christian prayer with the many false spiritualities that can be pitfalls for the unknowing seeker.
This little gem of a book by Gertud von le Fort has become a recent favorite of mine because of my deep interest in the nature and vocation of authentic feminine spirituality. I must admit, it isn’t a light read and there have been many paragraphs which I have read over and over again in attempt to plumb the depths of its wisdom and insights. She examines the war on womanhood, motherhood, and the Catholic faith. Using Mary as the exemplar and mode of the feminine vocation, she gives us what has been desribed as “the most beautiful meditation on womanhood ever written.” It is a study to be sure, but one that is well worth the investment of your time and energy.
It has only been in the last few years that I have really come to a fuller appreciation of the power of this spiritual classic. True Devotion
is considered to be one of the greatest books on Marian spirituality ever written. It proposes that devotion to Jesus through Mary is the shortest, easiest and most perfect way to deeper union with Jesus because it is the path He himself has chosen. In my own life, this devotion has proven to be the path which the Lord has used to draw me ever more closely to His own heart. I love the latest publication by Tan Books because it gives the full text of the book “True Devotion to Mary” as well as the “Preparation for Total Consecration” in a much more reader friendly format than the previous edition.
I love, love, love this little treasury of books. They are sold individually and as a set of 7. I recommend the entire set because once you begin reading them, you will want to have them all. Each day, Fr. Francis provides a beatiful meditation on the daily liturgy. He often incorpoates the writings of Opus Dei founder St. Josemaria Escriva as well as John Paul II, Vatican II documents, and many of our most beloved saints. What I find most helpful about this series is that it is so practical. It truly provides spiritual direction for each day and brings God into even the most mundane of circumstances.
This is another book which has only recently become a favorite of mine. Like “In Conversations with God,” it too is based on the daily liturgy and each reading contains two meditations and a “Colloquy.” Fr. Gabriel is a revered master of Carmelite spirituality and through this book provides the reader with spiritual direction based on the writings of St. Teresa of Jesus, St. John of the Cross, St. Therese of Lisieux and others. The writings are meant to lead us on a spiritual journey with the ultimate goal of Divine Intimacy with Jesus. What more can you ask for in a book? It is a bit pricey for a book but that is because it has a leather cover and gilded pages. I think it is well worth the investment and have made this book part of my daily prayer time over the last few years. I’m so grateful that someone introduced me to it.
So there you have it…my favorite spiritual books. Do you have a favorite that I didn’t mention here? I’d love to hear about it. Have you read any of these books? What are your thoughts?