GUIDE TO SPIRITUAL READING (AND MORE)
By Rev T. G. Morrow
The (slow) reading of Sacred Scripture takes precedence over all the following. I recommend one chapter or less per day of The New Jerusalem Bible, the version with footnotes.
The lives of the saints bear a particular relationship to Sacred Scripture. St Francis de Sales wrote, "There is no more difference between the Gospel written and the life of a saint than between music written and music sung."
The books in the first section are recommended for those who are new to spiritual reading. They were chosen for their interest and readability. More advanced spirituality, in books more difficult to read, is found in the lists, "intermediate," and "advanced" which follow.
Spiritual reading should be done a little at a time, from five to fifteen minutes a day, but every day without fail, barring some extraordinary crisis. It should be second in priority only to prayer. It is done for formation, not for entertainment, and thus doing only a small amount daily will keep the more interesting material from being consumed too quickly---and not retained---and the less interesting from being too painful. Note well: spiritual reading is very different from theological reading.
1. Our Lady of Fatima, by Wm. Thomas Walsh; and The Sun Danced at Fatima, by Joseph A. Pelletier, both Image Books. The most fascinating books ever written about these apparitions of Mary in 1917 to three small children in Portugal.
2. The Autobiography of St Thérèse of Lisieux, John Beevers, Image. Good translation. A classic.
3. St Anthony, the Wonder-Worker of Padua, by C. Stoddard, TAN Books. Brief but inspiring, on a brilliant, but humble saint.
4. A Woman Clothed with the Sun, by John Delaney, Image Books. Brief summaries of eight appearances by the Blessed Mother.
5. Treasure in Clay, autobiography of Fulton J. Sheen, Doubleday. Fascinating account of this famous, holy priest and bishop, the "TV priest."
6. Wife, Mother and Mystic, by Albert Bessières, S.J. Extraordinary Story of Bl. Anna-Maria Taigi (1769-1837), who was just what the book title says.
7. The Wonder of Guadalupe, by Francis Johnston, TAN Books. Story of Our Lady's apparition to a simple Mexican Indian, & her miraculous gift of her image.
8. Francis, the Journey and the Dream, by Murray Bodo, OFM, St Anthony Messenger Press. Brief account of this most popular saint.
9. Prison to Praise, by Merlin Carothers. Fascinating account of how this Methodist minister turned his life around by praising God always, even in apparent disasters, trusting that "All things work out unto good for those who love God" (Romans 8:28).
10. A Man of Faith, by Jeanne Gosselin Arnold, Family Theatre, Inc. The story of Fr. Patrick Peyton, world-famous promoter of the rosary.
11. Padre Pio, by Fr Carty, TAN Books. Biography of the stigmatist who died in 1968.
12. Eucharistic Miracles, by Joan Carroll Cruz, TAN. If you want to deepen your love and reverence for the Eucharist, this is the book to read.
13. The Curé d'Ars, by Francis Trochu, TAN. Best account of this delightful, humble parish priest.
14. **Saints for Sinners, by Alban Goodier, Ignatius. Nine saints who began as sinners or with great handicaps, Augustine, Margaret of Cortona, etc.
1. The Three Ways of the Spiritual Life, by Garrigou-Lagrange, TAN Books. Explains the three levels in spiritual growth. A classic.
2. Soul of the Apostolate, Dom Chautard, TAN. Points out the need to build apostolic works on prayer. A classic.
3. Introduction to the Devout Life, St Francis de Sales, Image Books. THE book on lay spirituality.
4. Treatise on the Love of God (2 Vols), by St. Francis de Sales, Image. More wisdom from this great doctor of the Church.
5. The Imitation of Christ, by Thomas à Kempis, Image. Short thoughts on spiritual growth. Classic.
6. The Way, Bl. Josemaria Escriva, Sceptre Books. Twentieth century counterpart to The Imitation of Christ, by the founder of Opus Dei.
7. Dialogue of St Catherine of Siena, TAN. Private revelations of God the Father to St Catherine of Siena, the great saint and doctor of the Church.
8. The Life of Christ, by Fulton J. Sheen, Image. Insightful explanation by Bishop Sheen of all the major passages of the gospels.
9. The Screwtape Letters; The Four Loves; Mere Christianity, C. S. Lewis. Three modern classics by a 20th century Anglican apologist for Christianity.
10. Apologia Pro Vita Sua, by Cardinal John Newman, Image Books. Account of this brilliant, intellectual Anglican priest's conversion to Catholicism.
11. The Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola, Image Books. A guide to a 30 day retreat by the founder of the Jesuits.
12. The Complete Spiritual Doctrine of St Thérèse of Lisieux, by Fr Jamart, OCD, Alba House. Excellent insights into St Thérèse and her spirituality.
13. Saint Margaret Mary, by Leon Cristiani, St Paul. Unusual story of this sister to whom Christ revealed the devotion to His Sacred Heart. Also see St Margaret Mary's Autobiography, by TAN Books.
14. The Holy Eucharist, and a host of other books by St Alphonsus Ligouri; TAN books. Classic works.
15. True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, by St Louis de Montfort, Alba House. A classic on finding Jesus through consecration to Mary.
16. Butler's Lives of the Saints, 4 vol, Christian Classics or 1 vol version by Harper & Row. Classic.
17. Mercy My Mission, by Sr. Sophia Michalenko; and Divine Mercy in My Soul, the Diary of Bl. Sr. Faustina; both Marian Press, Stockbridge, MA 02163. Read these to learn about the power of the Divine Mercy Chaplet, and the holy sister who received it.
These works are more difficult reading but are deeply spiritual. (No pain, no gain!)
1. The Complete Works of St Teresa of Avila, 3 vols, Institute for Carmelite Studies: Her Autobiography (read this first), The Way of Perfection, Interior Castle, etc. You must read this woman. Great!
2. The complete Works of St John of the Cross, Institute for Carmelite Studies: Spiritual Canticle, and Living Flame of Love, read first. Then try the more difficult, The Dark Night of the Soul, and The Ascent of Mount Carmel. St John was a contemporary of and collaborator with St Teresa of Avila in reforming the Carmelite Order in the 16th century. Not easy reading but super classics!
3. Confessions of St Augustine, Image and other publishers. The classic autobiography of St Augustine, sinner turned saint.
4. City of God, St Augustine, Image Books. Another classic by Augustine. A philosophical analysis of the two cities, the earthly, and the heavenly.
5. The Cloud of Unknowing, Anonymous, Image Books. Deep. On contemplation, perfection.
6. Writings of the Church Fathers such as St's Augustine, John Chrysostom, Gregory the Great, Ephraem, Ambrose, Basil, Gregory Nazianzen.
RECOMMENDED CATHOLIC PERIODICALS
(This is not spiritual reading.)
National Catholic Register - 12700 Ventura Blvd. -Suite 200 - Studio City, CA 91604 - 1 (800) 421-3230; Weekly, theological, orthodox.
Catholic Twin Circle - 12700 Ventura Blvd. - Suite 200 - Studio City, CA 91604 - 1 (800) 421-3230. Weekly, family oriented.
Envoy Magazine - An apologetics magazine by Patrick Madrid (convert to Catholicism). New in 1996. All Scripture - The Big Picture". How to step back and see Scripture's single theme. 1-800-55-ENVOY.
Homiletic and Pastoral Review - 86 Riverside Dr -New York, NY 10024 - Primarily for priests, but others seem to like it too. Scholarly, yet readable.
This Rock - P. O. Box 17181 - San Diego, CA 92177 - (619) - 541-0324 - Magazine of Catholic apologetics (defending the faith). Very good.
CATECHISMS, DOCTRINE BOOKS
Catechism of the Catholic Church, Ignatius, & other publshers, 1994. THE SOURCE. In most bookstores.
Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, by Ludwig Ott, TAN. 1954 Classic. Excellent!
The Teaching of Christ, by Lawler, et al., OSV. Solid.
The Catholic Catechism, by Hardon, Doubleday. Excellent.
The Christian Faith, by Neuner & Depuis, Alba House. Councils, papal statements. Good index.
CATHOLIC TELEVISION ON CABLE
Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) - Mother Angelica's network. If your cable company doesn't have it, call them and encourage them to put it on!
Also, she's on shortwave radio. Frequencies change periodically so call to get current ones: 1 (800) 585-WEWN. All great!
WHERE TO GET RELIGIOUS BOOKS & TAPES
In Washington, DC Area
Daughters of St Paul - 1025 King St - Alexandria, VA 22314 -(703) 683-1741 - Their own pubs and more. All orthodox.
Franciscan Monastery - 1400 Quincy St NE - Washington, DC 20017 - (202) 526-6800. Good.
Gallery's - 11272 Georgia Ave - Wheaton, MD 20902 (301) 942-4700 - Wide selection, plus religious goods.
Catholic Information Center - 741 15th St NW - Washington, DC 20005 - (202) 783-2062 - Good books, leaflets, rosaries, etc.
Newman Book Store - 3329 8th St NE - Washington, DC 20017 -(202) 526-1036 - Some good.
Gift Shop - Shrine of the Immaculate Conception - 4th & Michigan NE - Washington, DC 20017 - (202) 526-4433. Marian books, religious articles.
Catholic Media Fair - (410) 352-3285 - They will come to your parish bringing good books to sell. No cost to parish! Call them!
***Also check your parish library, or try the public library inter-library loan system for many of these books.
Mail Order Houses (ask for their lists)
TAN Books - P O Box 424 - Rockford, IL 61105 -(815) 987-1800 Publishers of many spiritual works.
Preserving Christian Publications, Inc. - P. O. Box 6129 - Albany NY 12206 - (518) 439-7431 - Used Catholic books.
Catholic Treasures - 626 Montana St. - Monrovia, CA 91016 - (818) 359-4893 - A wide variety of books (new & used) and tapes.
Christendom Press - 2101 Shenandoah Shores Rd. - Front Royal, VA 22630 - (703) 636-2900. Publishers of many fine books.
Scepter Press - 481 Main St - New Rochelle, NY 10801 - (914) 636-3377 - Opus Dei books plus.
Ignatius Press - 15 Oakland Ave - Harrison, NY 10628 - Fine authors, books on tape, great videos.
Christian Book Distributors - P.O. Box 7000 - Peabody, MA 01961 - (508) 977-5000 Christian books & tapes, Bibles, etc. (some Catholic). Discount prices.
Keep the Faith, Inc., 141 Main Ave - P.O. Box 1069 - Clifton, NJ 07015 - (201) 471-7494, Bp Sheen & much more.
St Joseph's Communications, Inc. - P.O. Box 720 - West Covina, CA 91793 - (800) 526-2151 - Good, wide selection.
Catholic Faith Alive!, 1910 Ventura Ave, Silver Spring, MD 20902, (301) 649-2037 - Radio tapes by author of this list covering entire Catholic faith; tapes on dating, marriage, & more.
Catholic Cassette Library - 1420 Northwest Hwy - Park Ridge, IL - (708) 827-4075 - Borrow audio tapes free! (donations) $3 for catalogue.
Daughters of St Paul Video Rentals! - $3/two days. Call them at (703) 683-1741. Or (800) 836-9723. Rent by mail!
Catholic Faith Alive!, Inc.
1910 Ventura Ave
Silver Spring, MD 20902
© 2000 Rev. T. G. Morrow
Permission to reproduce and distribute free is hereby granted
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