What are your favorite spiritual reading books?


“The Cross and the Beatitudes” by Fulton J. Sheen is one that I like to read often, one of the first books I read after coming back to the Church.

“The Lamb’s Supper” by Scott Hahn, because it helped me finally read the Book of Revelation!

Reading “The Confessions of St. Augustine” right now, once you get past the first 20 pages or so it’s an easier read.



Haven’t read Fulton Sheen’s works. I have read ‘The Lamb’s Supper’ and others from Scott Hahn, and perhaps I will have to pick up ‘Confessions’ again! :wink: Thanks for the encouragemtent everyone. I told my priest that I just couldnt get into ‘Confessions’ and he told me ‘perhaps you’re not ready yet’. That was good enough for me. I always did plan on picking it back up, but wasn’t sure when.

God Bless,



I recommend anything by Fulton Sheen…very insightful, very intelligent and still very easy reads.

I would like to read more of Scott Hahn, I really enjoyed “The Lamb’s Supper”.



I’d recommend two (well, three), that develop the traditional Catholic spirituality of the three stages of the interior life:

Garrigou-Lagrange, The Three Ways of the Interior Life, available on-line. This is a brief classic presentation of the traditional spirituality.
R. Thomas Richard, The Ordinary Path to Holiness. This fairly recent book explains and applies the three stages in many areas of Catholic life, and includes a very interesting comparison of Teresa’s 7 mansions with the 7 petitions of the Our Father. The author later wrote a whole and remarkable book on the spirituality of the Our Father, The Interior Liturgy of the Our Father.




Excellent suggestions, as well as so many others in posts above. I’d like to re-read St. Teresa of Avila’s “Way of Perfection,” another book mentioned earlier. St. Teresa, herself, mentioned in one of her writings that she feels a certain dryness (I’m not sure what word she used) unless she has a book to enrich her spiritual life. I believe that she suggested “The Sinner’s Guide” by Venerable Louis of Granada (1504-1588). Ven. Louis methodically lists by numbering the 11 motives for practicing virtue, the 11 privileges oof virtue, the remedies against various sins and more.

A short easy-to-read book that impacted me spiritually is “Trustful Surrender to Divine Providence.” It is really a compilation of two different authors: Fr. Jean Baptiste Saint-Jure, S.J. and St. Claude de la Columbiere.

My llist is getting longer. I wonder if I can read all the books in my collection and the ones I’m still collecting in Eternity (tongue in cheek!). I think God gives us infused knowledge. Besides, in Heaven we wouldn’t need them for spiritual growth and discovering union with God because this will be attained.



Yes, we won’t grow in heaven: we will be filled - now, on earth, is the time to prepare our capacity for the beatitude of heaven. Now, we can grow - if we will. Our understanding of God can grow, our response to God in love can grow, our “hearts” so to speak, can grow and therefore our capacity to be filled can increase now, if we will.

Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange, a solid teacher of the faith, wrote in LIFE EVERLASTING:

Beatific love, we know, corresponds to
the intensity of our merits. Not in heaven do we learn
to love God, but here on earth. The degree of our life
in eternity depends on the degree of our merits at the
moment of death. There are many mansions in the
Father’s house, corresponding to varied merits. [596]
“He who soweth sparingly shall also reap sparingly; and
he who soweth in blessings shall also reap blessings.”




Great thread. I now have a nice list of new reads to look forward to.

For me, it is Imitation of Christ and Way of Perfection. Everytime I read and re-read passages from those two books, I find a new insight, a new idea–they never grow stale.

I’m glad someone mentioned He and I. I read that many years ago and thought it was very comforting.



One of the few books beside the bible that I have read over and over is “New Seeds of Contemplation” by Thomas Merton, OCSO. I really love that book.

I’m a big fan of St. Teresa of Avila: Life, Interior Castle, Way of Perfection. She’s wonderful, even if she could have used a good editor. :wink:

Most of my spiritual reading over the past 30 years has been the bible and commentaries on the bible. The last couple of years, my favorite commentator has been Walter Brueggemann. I’ve read his commentaries on the Psalms, Deuteronomy, Isaiah and, most recently, Jeremiah, as well as several of his other books on the OT. For me, this is as spiritually nourishing as most books on the spiritual life.



Ahhhh. . . an excellent quote! And, yes, how true that we must sow the grain now on this earth to reap the benefits in LIfe Everlasting.

Here is a quote from a little book called “Breakfast with the Saints–120 Readings from Great Christians.”

“If you want the sacred writings to become sweet to you and the divine commands to help you as they should, withdraw from worldly occupations for several hours to reread the divine words in your homes and to dedicate yourselves entirely to God’s mercy. Merchants do not limit themselves to just one source of income; they look for many ways to increase their profits. Farmers sow more than one kind of seed in order to be able to provide enough food for themselves and their family. Likewise, your spiritual profit should not be limited to hearing the divine lessons in church. At home also you should engage in sacred reading, even for several hours an evening when the days are short. Thus you will store spiritual wheat in the storehouse of your heart, and Scriptural pearls in the treasurey of your souls.” (St. Caesariius of Arles (470-543) became an archbishop at age thiry. A popular preacher, he founded a monastery for women.)



I checked out all three sites. Great to have the book “Ways of the Interior Life” by Garrigou-Lagrange on the web. Below is a site where you can get a few free books with $2.00 shipping and handling. The site was advertised in the “National Catholic Register.” I get a lot of periodicals, newspapers, pro-life materials. Here’s the web page:




Questions –

Just how do all of you find time to do spiritual reading? :shrug: And how do you store those books?


All human life is worthy of profound respect from the moment of conception.




Yup. Seven Story Mountain is fantastic, but some of his later books are even more spiritual. St. Augustine is perfect for college students - not just those who misplace their faith but anyone who has to write a paper or take an exam. I think he can relate to all three challenges and he’s willing to help out! Fr. Martin has written several books beside “My Life With the Saints.” One is “A Jesuit Off-Broadway,” which I highly recommend. He spoke at our parish and impressed me with his irrepressible humor regarding all things religious - the sort of humor you can have only with a subject with which your are truly familiar and which you love dearly. Thanks for writing!



Well, I can tell you as possibly one with ADD, it can be a challenge! Lately I’ve been getting audiobooks, but for some reason, it’s just not the same as having the paper version in your hand and reading it at leisure…

What does help, though, is that if it’s good spiritual reading, one does find the time no matter how busy life tends to get. It certainly does have a profound impact on one’s spiritual life, that’s for sure. That’s probably the biggest advantage.

As for storage, as I said, I probably have ADD. ADD’ers don’t “store” things, they pile them up! :blush: You really don’t want to see my house… :wink:



I would love to hear Fr. Martin speak!

I loved Seven Story Mountain too, but never read any of Thomas Merton’s later works.



Hi granny!

You asked how anyone can find time to do spiritual reading. Good question! With all the demands on me, it takes some strategic planning. Even weekends can get hectic. I try to hide myself in the bedroom (if only for 10 minutes) and dig under my bed for an assortment of books for which I hope to put in a little library in my home eventually. I have books in boxes in the basement and many on shelves–not ALL read! The problem is I get all these wonderful catalogs in the mail and can’t resist ordering more than I can logically read. In any case, I manage to squeeze a bit of time here and a bit of time there. I try to put prayer time ahead by getting out of the house to an adoration chapel where I sometimes use a part of the hour to read a spiritual book along with Our Lord nearby.

It’s good to hear from you, granny. Thanks for your input.


“In those respects in which the soul is unlike God, it is also unlike itself.” (St. Bernard)



Fr. Martin sounds like he’d do a great retreat. I’ll have to check out his books. Thanks for the input. Keep reading!

“In those respects in which the soul is unlike God, it is also unlike itself.” (St. Bernard)



ADD comes from being a parent. And you really don’t want to see my floor. That’s why I asked the question. :rotfl:



Some people may not consider this book for spiritual reading, but it’s been popular and #1 on the New York Times best seller list. It’s actually a work of fiction (which I rarely read) called “The Shack.” The subtitle: Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity by Wm. Paul Young.
After I had already read this book, our parish priest mentioned it in his homily. For me, it fostered a greater understanding of how the 3 Person of the Blessed Trinity interact.

The book opens with a tragedy in the llife of a father. His youngest daughter has been abducted. Four years later, in the midst of his GREAT SADNESS (as he calls it), Mack receives a strange letter, presumably from God inviting him to go back to the scene of the presumed murder, the SHACK.

“Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry aftternnon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack’s world forever. In a world where religion seems to grow increasingly irrelevant “The Shack” wrestles with the timeless question: Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?
The answer Mack gets will astound you and perhaps transform you as much as it did him.”

I was incredibly shocked to meet the 3 Persons as they “appeared” to Mack. It’s an easy to read book. I couldn’t put it down.


“In those respects in which the soul is unlike God, it is also unlike itself.” (St. Bernard)



In the strictly spiritual category:

Introduction to the Devout Life
Practice of the Presence of God

Interior Castle, though one has to be “ready” to read that. Don’t force it!
Abandonment to Divine Providence

I also enjoyed The Shack, though you’ll likely get flamed here (as will I now) for even bringing it up since many misunderstand the theology of the book and think it contrary to Catholic teaching.

One of the best books I read though, although it wasn’t a purely spiritual book, was one called An Interrupted Life: the Diaries of Etty Hilesum 1941-43. It is the spiritual journey of a young Jewish woman in Holland when the Nazis came to purge the Jews from there. One of the most inpsiring books I have ever read.


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