Below you will find several of the books that I highly recommend in conjunction with the various topics presented on this website as well as some that may be inspirational or helpful for your spiritual journey. Clicking on any of the links at the end of each book description will take you to Amazon.com for more information about the book or to order.
The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. Yes, there are many memoirs and biographies out there about the Holocaust during World War II, but this one is a ‘must-read’ for one reason. It is the story of one family and their struggle to help others during the Nazi occupation of Holland, strongly rooted in Christian faith and the practice of love. From their home to the confines of prisons and concentration camps, this family will inspire you to view your neighbor in a new light and to do more, loving others as He loves. Throughout this book I found myself needing to stop – earmark – ponder in amazement, and self-examine before moving on. This is a highly recommended read that will inspire you. Learn more or purchase here.
33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do It Yourself Retreat by Father Michael E. Gaitley, MIC can be done on your own or in a group format accompanied by DVD sessions and group discussion. Using writings and teachings of 4 great Marian saints (which include Louis de Montfort, Maximilian Kolbe, Mother Teresa, and Pope John Paul II) — Fr. Gaitley walks you through 33 days or preparation for Marian Consecration. Grow closer to our Blessed Mother Mary, become more knowledgeable about her role as the Mediatrix of all Graces — as well as why it makes perfect sense to consecrate ourselves to her. You can purchase this book through Amazon by clicking here. (Clicking the link will open the Amazon website in a new tab.)
The Way of the Pilgrim. This classic of world spiritual literature is the firsthand account of a pilgrim’s journey as he is dismayed at not understanding how it is possible to live out Saint Paul’s instruction to “pray without ceasing.” The narrator, an unnamed nineteenth-century peasant, begins his pilgrimage with only a Bible, a rosary, and some dried bread. As he walks, he recites the Jesus prayer (“Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me”)—a prayer that is said to quiet anxiety and fill the heart with love for all creation. Constantly reciting this prayer, the pilgrim over the course of journey experiences a profound spiritual education. Learn more or purchase here. (Clicking the link will open the Amazon website in a new tab.)
The Joyful Christian C.S.Lewis. Mr. Lewis wrote of being “surprised by joy” when he discovered his belief in Jesus Christ, which led to his conversion. Contained in this work are 127 devotional readings of just a few pages each, selected from Lewis’s many works on faith and spirituality, on various different Christian topics or questions. These topics range from the nature of prayer and good works to psychoanalysis and fascism. In this work, Lewis offers both explanation and inspiration. You can purchase this book through Amazon by clicking here. (Clicking the link will open the Amazon website in a new tab.)
Aim Higher!: Spiritual and Marian Reflections of St. Maximilian Kolbe is a short, quick, read, but is ideal for contemplation and reflection rather than as a ‘novel’. There are different sections to cover a few important topics such as his insights on the Immaculata (Mary), religious life, an explanation of consecration, and more. Even Kolbe himself says that this work is best used when just a few minutes a day is devoted to reading what is within and then pondering what has been read. You can purchase this inexpensive book through Amazon by clicking here. (Clicking the link will open the Amazon website in a new tab.)
A Man for Others: Maximilian Kolbe the Saint of Auschwitz is a great book for those who are unfamiliar with this modern era saint. Based on first-person interviews and testimony of those who knew him best or who had contact with him during his life, the story of his life (including his struggles and successes) unfolds for the reader and offers a glimpse into what made him so unforgettable and influential. This book is a great starting point if you think you might want to delve deeper into this particularsaints Marian teachings. This book is available on Amazon and you can learn more by clicking here. (Clicking the link will open the Amazon website in a new tab.)
How to be Holy by Peter Kreeft is a wonderful, simply written, easy to understand “How to” guide inspired by the writings of Jean-Pierre de Caussade (whose works I recommend below). This book is a quick-read and a great starting point for anyone who desires to increase their practice of virtue and to grow closer to and more faithful in their relationship with God. This book was the inspiration, in part, for my “Challenge and Change: Holy Anyway” workshop, currently being presented at weekend retreats at Saint Paul of the Cross Monastery Retreat Center. If you’d like to purchase this book, you can find it on Amazon by clicking here. (Clicking the link will open the Amazon website in a new tab.)
The Sacrament of the Present Moment is a classic work, very popular, by Jean-Pierre de Caussade. This work focusses on why each moment is truly a sacrament and how we should respond. This work is recommended because if truly contemplated while reading, it can change your perspective on how you view each and every event and circumstance of your life. It’s a short work, but if you plan to read it make sure that you pick an edition that has good reviews. Because it is a classic, you will find many versions out there, available for purchase, some not as easy to read as others. You can find this work on Amazon by clicking here. (Clicking the link will open the Amazon website in a new tab.)
Abandonment to Divine Providence is another work by Jean-Pierre de Caussade, very similar to The Sacrament of the Present Moment. In fact, if you read both you’ll find some of the same information within the pages of these two classics. However, don’t let that dissuade you. There are some different elements in each work and it is definitely worth the time to read both. Although the present moment is a factor in this book, the emphasis is heavier on abandoning ourselves to the Will of God, which for many of us, isn’t something easy to do, or easy to discern. If you struggle with this aspect of being holy and being a person of faith, this work is highly recommended. Find an edition or publication with good reviews that attest to its readability and quality. You can find this work on Amazon by clicking here. (Clicking the link will open the Amazon website in a new tab.)
The Seven Capital Sins is a wonderful little work by the Benedictine Nuns of Perpetual Adoration. It’s just slightly bigger than a pamphlet, yet still small enough to fit in a large pocket or to slip into a purse without adding much weight or bulk. In its simplicity, this book describes each of the capital sins and how we can root these sins out of our lives as well as why it is important for us to do so. Easy, quick reference that can be invaluable. It is incredibly inexpensive (on average selling for about $3.99), but can sometimes be hard to find except through re-sale. Currently it is available on Amazon secondhand as well as in Kindle format, for even less. You can find this work on Amazon by clicking here. (Clicking the link will open the Amazon website in a new tab.)
I love some Archbishop Fulton Sheen! Victory over Vice is similar in organization and purpose to The Seven Capital Sins but is bit more fleshed out for those who want to go a step above the basics. It’s encouraging and practical, yet has that bit of flair that we associate with Sheen. All of the seven capital sins are covered in this work as well as reasoning about why we need to work at eliminating these behaviors from our daily lives. This is all done from the perspective of how Christ had to respond to each of these deadly sins on the journey to his crucifixion and how we will encounter these same sins in ourselves or in others. Practical advice on humility as well! If you’d like to order this book you can find it on Amazon by clicking here. (Clicking the link will open the Amazon website in a new tab.)
For those who like to read something a bit more ‘theological’ or challenging, give The Spiritual Combat and A Treatise on Peace of Soul by Dom Lorenzo Scupoli a try. First published in 1589, it still presents to the reader an applicable guide for spiritual discipline, but do note that I started off this recommendation by stating that it was more theological and challenging! Prepare yourself to spend much time simply contemplating what the author has to say and how it can apply and work for you. This work is truly about COMBAT – wrestling against our vices. Scupoli tells his readers that they must either fight or die. If you are interested in this book you can find it on Amazon by clicking here. (Clicking the link will open the Amazon website in a new tab.)
Like a little Church History? Can’t get enough of Papal history? Enjoy a bit of controversy? This might be of interest to you! It certainly was interesting to me and I dedicated quite a lot of time and effort to putting it together. Authored by yours truly, you can read my Masters Thesis Pope Saint Gregory VII: Catalyst of Medieval Church Reform on the Eve of the Investiture Controversy, which was published in Catholic Distance University’s Quarterly Magazine, Digital Continent, in the Feasts of Saints Peter and Paul 2016 issue by clicking here. (Clicking the link will open Digital Continent in a new tab.)