I love the Lord. I also love reading. When I can do both, it’s a good day. For eleven years, I’d like to stop my life, curl up on the patio with a book, and read. That’s not possible. maybe heaven has a library.
For now, I can’t do everything I want. There will never be enough. If you like to read, I’ve put together a list of thirteen books that I think are very important for your journey of faith.
The Holy Bible
I couldn’t start with anything else. When someone reads it again, they get new ideas. It’s good writing. When a person meets God at the pearly gates, he is asked what he liked about being on Earth.
“I used to love reading,” he says.
Books: “What did you like about them?” Some great books are on the list.
“That’s a good idea,” says the creator of the universe. “Have you read mine?”
If you start at the beginning and work your way to the end, you’ll have a hard time. There is a big change in the story when you get to Leviticus. It goes from being an epic journey to a book of laws that feel far away. In order to solve this problem, Jeff Cavins and the people at Ascension Press came up with The Great Adventure Catholic Bible.
People who are Catholic say that the Church uses the New Revised Standard Version – 2nd Catholic Edition and the New American Bible-Revised Edition as the best bibles.
The Great Journey The Catholic Bible makes it easy to read and understand the big story of salvation. It divides the history of salvation into twelve parts:
The early world
Egypt and Exodus
Wandering the desert
Conquest and the judge
The Royal Kingdom
Kingdom split in two
The Maccabean Revolt
Fulfillment of the Messiah
There is a church.
In the next part, it tells you which books of the Bible tell the story of each time period, and which books are there to help.
For example, Genesis talks about the Early World and Patriarchs time periods, and it also talks about Job as an extra. Joshua, Judges, and the first part of 1 Samuel all talk about the Conquest & Judges time. The book of Ruth is an extra. This way, the Bible’s story comes out. Also, there is a reading plan to help you get through the main parts of the book in ninety days. It is a great tool. There are a lot of great resources for people who are new to the Bible. This and the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: New Testament will help them learn more about the Bible.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church
The Catechism is what I love to call the rulebook. The Baltimore Catechism of the pre-Vatican II era has a question and answer format and, though it’s hard to find, it’s a great source. The new version does away with that format in favor of paragraphs. Four parts make up this book: what we believe, sacraments, life in Christ, and prayer. It is broken down into these parts: Can be read from start to finish and should be.
In order to make the Catechism more accessible, I recommend reading or listening to the United States Catholic Catechism for Adults, which is a “definitive text,” or the YouCat, which is a free app (which has the nihil obstat and imprimatur).
The USCCB’s book is an adaptation of the Catechism. Each chapter has a story or lesson of faith, the teaching, the relationship of the teaching to culture, doctrinal statements, a meditation, and a prayer at the end.
The YouCat goes back to the question and answer format, this time referencing specific paragraphs from the Catechism to help you answer. There are sidebars with quotes, definitions, and other information for teenagers and people who aren’t sure about the faith in this book. As a whole, these three resources are a great foundation and explanation of the Catholic faith.
A Biblical Walk Through the Mass
A lot more goes into the Catholic faith than just reading stories and learning about the Catholic Church. A lot of us do that through the Mass. To help us understand what we do in the huge one-hour prayer we call the Mass, Edward Sri wrote A Biblical Walk Through the Mass. It’s a great book to read. In this book, it doesn’t matter whether you were born a Catholic or if you’re just starting to learn about the faith. It shows you how everything works and links it to the Bible.
An Ignatian Introduction to Prayer
This book by Timothy Gallagher, OMV, also shook me up, and I loved it too. Before I changed my mind about God, I didn’t know that the Bible is alive and that God talks to us through it. In the present, God talks to us. This small book has 40 Bible verses, a meditation for each, and three questions to pray with. For me, there were a lot of “Wow!” moments when I first met God through his Word. The best way to get to know some of God’s best work is to read some of his best stories.
A School of Prayer: The Saints Show Us How to Pray
Benedict XVI gave his general audiences in 2011 and 2012. This book is made up of them. It’s a good way to learn about the saints from a pope. People like to read it slowly, and they like to drink tea while they do so.
Lift Up Your Heart: A 10 Day Retreat with St. Francis de Sales
People can get a mini-retreat with St. Francis de Sales thanks to the work of Fr. John Burns, who wrote this in just five days from his own retreat journals and gave it to us to read. This book has ten meditations with focused prayers about things like paradise, hell, creation, and sin, among other things. Full of beauty, this will work in a busy life.
On Human Life
In this book, you can read Pope Paul VI’s controversial encyclical, Humanae Vitae, as well as current writers who know a lot about things who write about it. The encyclical backs up the Church’s teaching that artificial contraception isn’t good for people. It also predicts what would happen if people used contraception: lower moral standards, more infidelity, and less respect for women. This is an easy-to-read book about an important subject.
Theology of the Body in One Hour
It was introduced by St. John Paul II in his general audiences. It confirms the teachings of Humanae Vitae, but it also shows how God has a plan for love, and how males and females are part of that plan, and how God made them. In the original, there are more than 500 pages. Theology of the Body in One Hour by Jason Evert is a good way to get a taste of what it is like.
33 Days to Morning Glory
Readers can do this retreat by Michael Gaitley, MIC. It helps them be ready to give their life to Jesus through Mary. Drawing from the writings of St. Louis de Montfort, who was the first person to make a Marian consecration, Fr. Gaitley comes up with a four-week, five-day plan to prepare. He takes the reader through the lessons of other Marian consecration fans, like St. Maximilan Kolbe, St. Teresa of Calcutta, and St. John Paul II, to show them how they lived their lives. The beautiful thing about dedicating oneself to Mary is that it helps us grow closer to Mary’s son, whom she always points to.
Forming Intentional Disciples
After giving some bad news about the Catholic Church, author Sherry Weddell talks about how we can help others learn about and follow Jesus. Only 30% of Americans who were raised Catholic still do so, and 10% of all adults are no longer Catholic. She talks about the steps that lead to conversion: trust, curiosity, openness, and seeking. Weddell and Catherine of Siena Institute co-founded the Catherine of Siena Institute, which developed the Called & Gifted discernment program to help people figure out their own charisms.
Searching for and Maintaining Peace and In the School of the Holy Spirit
I like Fr. Jacque Philippe very much. His writing is very soft and poetic, and it makes you want to read it again and again. In this small book, “Searching for and Keeping Peace,” you will learn a lot of important things. My copy has a lot of underlined parts and a lot of exclamation points. Imagine that tattooing the whole thing on your body would be a good idea. If it wasn’t ridiculous and painful, you might want to do this to keep the thing with you at all times. These are some of the best:
When we want to stay at peace, we have only one option: We must rely on God alone, with complete trust in Him.
In times when we can’t do anything, let God do the work.
In the School of the Holy Spirit is full of pearls like:
A person who is filled with the Spirit of God is a person who is calm, not someone who is tense and angry. He speaks and acts in peace.
He Leadeth Me
Finally, a book by Walter Ciszek, SJ, who spent twenty-three years in prison and labor camps in Russia. This book is wonderful and inspiring. This is the story of how he stayed strong by relying on God. Ciszek was tortured, worked hard, and was kept in solitary confinement for years, but he learned to know God’s plan for each twenty-four hour period. People are unlikely to end up in a Soviet prison camp, but we can learn from him and apply what he learned to our own problems. There was a start in 2012 for the process of making Ciszek into a saint.