Good Catholic reading

This excerpt by St. Alphonsus Liguori called “On Spiritual Reading” was so helpful when I first read it 3 1/2 years ago, and so I would like to pass it on:

I spent a lot of time meditating on it, and gradually, I have cut out the bad, worldly reading (I even quit secular TV and movies because God gave me the grace to see that they were influencing me too much), and replaced it with Scripture and the spiritual classics. I can no longer count how many lights and graces I have received through spiritual reading.

There’s a lot of material out there that calls itself Catholic, and so much of it rejects Church teaching in favor of the writer’s own idea of what it means to be a good Catholic. (I do not wish to single out any specific person or website, but I have even stopped looking at many Catholic websites because they reject all popes since Vatican II.) Even with a lot of good Catholic material, some books are a better use of time than others. I have found it more helpful to stick with a few books and read them over and over, rare than to read many different books.

What I have done is to get a Kindle Paperwhite (much easier on the eyes, and easier to read at all light levels than other kinds of Kindle) and download spiritual classics at little or no cost. Many can be found at Catholic Way Publishing:

Many other good ones were recommended to me because I bought Catholic spiritual classics.

My 5 favorites (apart from the Bible, of course), alphabetically by title:

Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales
The Sinner’s Guide by Ven. Luis de Granada
The Spiritual Combat by Dom Lorenzo Scupoli
The Spiritual Works of Louis de Blois
The Story of a Soul by St. Thérèse of Lisieux (my favorite saint, apart from the Blessed Virgin Mary)

These have been the source of so many helpful thoughts and counsels for me, I would love for others to benefit from them.

I forgot to add links to those books, which can be read for free online:

I thought “Jesus: A pilgrimage” was an exceptional book. It was written by Fr. James Martin.

Thank you mathematoons, very thoughtful.

Pax Christi!

Good links! Thank you!

God bless and keep us from the sedevacantists…

This is a wonderful list thank you. Reading Spiritual Combat now

God Bless

Thank you very much for sharing these with us! :slight_smile:

From The Spiritual Combat:

Make it a rule, if you desire to succeed, every day to set apart half an hour to be spent in reading some pious book under these two regulations.

  1. Choose such books as will most efficaciously stir up a penitential spirit in your heart.
  2. Consider with great attention such passages as seem to affect you in particular, and lead you to an interior and affective spirit of penance.

This is the passage from Introduction to the Devout Life that helped me find most of these books:

You should always have some good devout book at hand, such as the writings of Saint Bonaventura, Gerson, Denis the Carthusian, Blosius, Grenada, Stella, Arias, Pinella, Da Ponte, Avila, the Spiritual Combat, the Confessions of Saint Augustine, Saint Jerome’s Epistles, or the like; and daily read some small portion attentively, as though you were reading letters sent by the Saints from Paradise to teach you the way thither, and encourage you to follow them. Read the Lives of the Saints too, which are as a mirror to you of Christian life, and try to imitate their actions according to your circumstances; for although many things which the Saints did may not be practicable for those who live in the world, they may be followed more or less. Thus, in our spiritual retreats we imitate the solitude of the first hermit, Saint Paul; in the practice of poverty we imitate Saint Francis, and so on. Of course some Lives throw much more light upon our daily course than others, such as the Life of Saint Theresa, which is most admirable, the first Jesuits, Saint Charles Borromeo, Archbishop of Milan, Saint Louis, Saint Bernard, Saint Francis, and such like. Others are more the subjects of our admiring wonder than of imitation, such as Saint Mary of Egypt, Saint Simeon Stylites, Saint Catherine of Genoa, and Saint Catherine of Sienna, Saint Angela, etc., although these should tend to kindle a great love of God in our hearts.

Hmm, this post made me think of the quote I use in my signature (see below).

As a Lay Carmelite in the final years of my formal formation period, preparing to make my Permanent Promises, I have made it my practice to read from at least two Carmelite sources each month and at least one non-Carmelite source each month. I really study the Carmelite materials, taking notes in a notebook and such, and I’m less intense with the other reading but I find they help in rounding out my spiritual formation. I’m currently reading:

Climbing the Mountain The Carmelite Journey (Johan Bergström-Allen, T.O.C.) - one chapter per month
In Allegiance to Jesus Christ (Joseph Chalmers, O.Carm)
The Noonday Devil: Acedia, The Unnamed Evil of Our Times (Jean-Charles Nault, O.S.B.)
Introduction to the Devout Life (St. Francis of Sales)

I have ‘The Sinner’s Guide,’ hope to tackle it some day, and really appreciate the OP’s recommendation. My community will be reading ‘The Story of a Soul’ beginning this summer so I’m waiting to read that particular volume with them.

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