So many spiritual books have impacted my life. I wish I could start a library. If I could retrieve many of those books and add new ones, I’d consider the following to be at the top of my favorites’ list.
St. Teresa’s autobiography and her “Interior Castle” had a profound effect on my spirituality as a “revert” Catholic after having left the Church during college years.
To read about the ascending rooms in the “Castle” helped me to discover the ever-deepening levels of prayer in the spiritual life. I felt a calling to learn more about mystical prayer and how to attain a higher degree of prayer in my life. I found that we start out with purgation, which generally continues for a long time, to purge us from empty desires and bad habits and dependence on “the creature” instead of the Creator. Following purgation is illumination which takes us to a higher level in the “Castle.” The intellect is enlightened and the will made stronger. The Master takes us yet to a higher level in the “Castle” in which prayer is now no longer strenuous and a duty but is contemplative. That is, the Master, Himself, is doing the work. Very few reach the unitative level in this life, but that is something to strive for.
St. Teresa acknowledged that we don’t necessarity go easily from the bottom rung to the top, but our progress is uneven instead of linear. We may be on one level, such as “the prayer of quiet” and progress rapidly or go back and forth for a long time.
There are many other books I’d like to give space to here, but, rather, I’d like to find out about others’ choices. If this thread goes anywhere, maybe we can have a discussion of the spirituality learned from reading particular books.