Just wondering if I should read these in any particular order:
Interior Castle by St Teresa of Avila
Introduction to the Devout Life by St Francis de Sales
Dark Night of the Soul by St John of the Cross
Imitation of Christ by Thomas Kempis
Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius
In my opinion, save “The Dark Night” for last. (It covers a more advanced spirituality subject that is subject to misinterpretation and not everyone reaches that spiritual state.) First I’d recommend either Introduction to the Devout Life or Imitation of Christ, followed by Interior Castle. (I have only read excerps from St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises and not drawn to Ignation Spirituality, so I’m not qualified to comment on that one.)
This is only my opinion; your confessor or someone who knows you may be a better person to ask.
I think the easiest to understand is “Imitation of Christ”. It is not the type of book that you just sit down and start with page one and go to the end in one sitting. There are short daily meditational readings that you might want to read before going to bed. The Spiritual Exercises are also daily readings. They were written for meditating and/or retreats.
With your other choices you might save “interior Castles” and “Dark Night of the Soul” for a weekend of uninterrupted prayerful reading.
My favorite daily meditation book is “In Conversation with God”. I have the entire set that includes all the church calendar days of readings. There is also a New Age book with the title “Conversations with God” Do NOT get that book. It is a mockery. If the first word in the title is not “In” it is the wrong book.
You too? Must be the most popular line out there from my blind agnostic, “enlightened” or Buddhist friends… here’s an article/book/mp3 to “help you find the truth”… Thanks but no thanks, I know the Truth. Its with Jesus.
I agree with Gardenswithkids. Start with Introduction to the Devout Life.
Let me make the following suggestions:
First: read Introduction to the Devout Life by St Francis de Sales
Second: read a good book on Lectio Divina (a method of praying the Bible.)
Third: While learning Lectio Divina read Imitation of Christ by Thomas Kempis
Fourth: Practice Lectio Divina and dabble in the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius
Fifth: Get yourself a spiritual director, place yourself in obedience to him and at his direction read Interior Castle by St Teresa of Avila and Dark Night of the Soul by St John of the Cross. It is very possible that your spiritual director will advise you to read different books first.