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Viewing: Books - Spiritual Reading, Apologetics
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33 Days to Morning Glory: A Do-It-Yourself Retreat in Preparation for Marian Consecration (Fr. Michael Gaitley)
Also known for his 33 Days to Merciful Love and Consoling the Heart of Jesus, Fr. Michael Gaitley, MIC offers here an excellent and accessible retreat in preparation for consecration to Jesus through Mary. It is more than just a popular adaptation of St. Louis de Montfort's Marian devotion: it is an update, as Fr. Michael incorporates the teachings of three great Marian saints of the 20th century: Maximilian Kolbe, Mother Teresa, and Pope John Paul II. Starting with St. Louis, each of these figures receives one week of the retreat, with five days at the end for review.
The late Fr. Benedict Groeschel was noted around the world for his deep spirituality, psychological expertise, and practical wisdom. In 1993, he wrote this brief but comprehensive practical guide for all those interested in private revelations, reports of visions and other extraordinary religious phenomena. Drawing on spiritual classics and Church documents not readily available, he gives practical norms on how to evaluate these claims. He also offers an alternative to unusual and extraordinary ways of knowing the things of God, which is a normal everyday opportunity open to all called “religious experience”—the action of grace in our lives that can become a powerful source of virtue and holiness.
This book by an eighteenth-century French Jesuit is widely regarded as a spiritual classic. The key to peace and happiness is complete abandonment to God's will in even the smallest, most ordinary things. We discover that will by living "in the present moment" and carefully attending to the details of the life Providence has given us.
Acedia—spiritual sloth, or repugnance to the highest good—was once listed among the deadly sins, but few today know what it is. Yet it is the defining sin of our age. Man is destroying himself because he wants to be able to define and remake himself according to his own will. This book diagnoses the contemporary malaise and suggests that in order to escape it we must recover a sense of the given-ness of things, and so of our own nature. Even the smallest thing, something as significant as an orange peel, makes a claim on us and demands that we recognize its goodness and its gratuitousness as a gift. Only through wonder and gratitude will we escape the existential boredom that is killing us.
St. Vincent de Paul (1581 - 1660), born in France, was sold into slavery and went on to become an apostle to the poor and suffering, including galley slaves. His life and work became the inspiration for several religious communities and societies of apostolic life down through the centuries, including the well-known St. Vincent de Paul Society—so common in parish life. Vincent did not write a great deal, but gave many spiritual conferences to his confreres. This volume draws upon these to offer readings and prayers arranged for Advent and Christmas (ed. John E. Rybolt, SM). Available in paperback and Kindle editions.
The late William May (d. 2014) was a professor of moral theology at both Catholic University and the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family. Initially he dissented from Pope Paul VI's 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae, but he quickly realized his error and became one of the foremost defenders and expositors of all Catholic moral teachings. His own experience within a resistant culture led him to find effective ways to explain what the Church teaches and why. Before starting CatholicCulture.org, Trinity founder Jeff Mirus even published one of May’s earlier books! We highly recommend this second edition of May’s Introduction to Moral Theology. (paperback, Kindle)
This 1962 biography of Frederick Ozanam, the founder of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, will bring you face-to-face with the man who created the organization that now serves the poor in parishes around the world. Author James Patrick Derum offers readers a unique opportunity to better understand a charitable group they are very likely to be able to join immediately, in their own place and time. 277 pp.
Subtitled “The bibliographic memoir of an accidental apologist”, this book by the founder of Catholic Answers is a fascinating tour through Karl Keating’s library, introducing the reader to the great Catholic defenders of the Faith in the late 19th and 20th centuries—the remarkable men and women from whom Karl himself learned what he needed to know when he needed to know it, as he became the leader of the most influential organization dedicated to apologetics in the world. More more information, see Jeff Mirus’ review, Karl Keating: In the vanguard of Catholic renewal. (239pp., available in hardcover (with a ribbon!) or for Kindle)
The son of a pagan father and a Christian mother, Saint Augustine spent his early years torn between conflicting faiths and world views. His Confessions, written when he was in his forties, recount how, slowly and painfully, he came to turn away from his youthful ideas and licentious lifestyle, to become instead a staunch advocate of Christianity and one of its most influential thinkers. A remarkably honest and revealing spiritual autobiography, the Confessions also address fundamental issues of Christian doctrine, and many of the prayers and meditations it includes are still an integral part of the practice of Christianity today.
Jesus' revelation of His Divine Mercy to St. Faustina (1905-1938) is, along with Fatima, the most important revelation of modern times. Jesus wished to make His mercy fully known and fully effective for a time which needs it more than ever. Under obedience, this humble, uneducated Polish nun recorded in her diary all the words spoken to her by the Lord and the process by which He perfected her soul. Essential reading for every Catholic to grow closer to Jesus' Mercy and to extend it to as many other souls as possible. Beautiful leather binding, gilded page edges, ribbon marker, 20 pages of color photographs. Also available as paperback and ebook.
The collected works of the greatest exponent of Marian devotion. St. Louis proposes Marian devotion not as an isolated part of the Christian life but in fact as the most perfect way of living one's baptismal vows. This spirituality has been practiced and wholeheartedly endorsed by several popes starting with Pope Pius IX, who said that St. Louis's spirituality was the best and most acceptable form of devotion to Mary. Recommended by Pope Leo XIII, Pope St. Pius X, Pope Benedict XV, Popes Pius XI and XII, and most recently, Pope St. John Paul II, who said that "The reading of True Devotion to Mary was a decisive turning-point in my life," and took his motto "Totus Tuus" ("I am all thine") from De Montfort.
In Conversation with God: Meditations for Each Day of the Year (7 Volume Set) (Fr. Francis Fernandez-Carvajal)
This seven-volume set of meditations for the entire liturgical year has sold over two million copies in various languages. Fr. Fernandez, a Spanish Opus Dei priest, draws from Scripture, the Catechism and the saints to illuminate the liturgical season and the daily Mass readings, following all three cycles of the liturgical year. Each volume is small and portable, making it easy to bring to Adoration.
In 2007, Our Lord and Our Lady began to speak to the heart of a Benedictine monk in the silence of adoration. He was told to write down what he received, and now this work has been published anonymously with an imprimatur. It covers the entire spiritual life, but above all it urges priests to spend more time adoring Jesus in the Eucharist, for only then will the Church be healed and renewed. Fr. Timothy Combs, O.P., recommends: “This is a MAGNIFICENTLY RICH journal to nourish & rejuvenate priestly, Eucharistic spirituality. I can think of no better gift for a priest this Christmas.”
The first woman to be proclaimed a Doctor of the Church, St. Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) was (along with St. John of the Cross) one of the great reformers of the Carmelite Order and a master of the spiritual life, including contemplative prayer. The Interior Castle is her autobiography, in which she recounts the stages in her spiritual development while illuminating also the corresponding stages of prayer for everyone. While this is perhaps the greatest work ever written on prayer, those just beginning to enter these deep waters might profit from first reading her spiritual direction for nuns, The Way of Perfection, which can also be helpful to all.
This is arguably the most highly-recommended work of spiritual direction for the laity. St. Francis de Sales (1567 - 1622), as Bishop of Geneva during the Catholic Counter-Reformation, is said to have converted over 70,000 Calvinists. As a champion of the universal call to holiness, he spent much of his time giving spiritual direction to the laity. He wrote Introduction to the Devout Life to make his simple, cheerful, and sensible approach to holiness available to all. Together with St. Jane Frances de Chantal, St. Francis founded the Order of the Visitation of Holy Mary for women. He also established an Oratory of St. Philip Neri for men. Long after his death, various congregations have continued to adopt his spiritual principles. He was named a doctor of the Church in 1877.
Father Thomas G. Weinandy—who was named to the International Theological Commission in 2014—is known worldwide for both sound theology and inspiring spiritual writing. Here he opens the fascinating world of Christian theology to all readers. In clear language, he begins in Scripture to draw out the plan of salvation, leading the reader through the development of the Church's grappling with the glorious and paradoxical conviction: That God Himself has lived a human life. From within the life of the Trinity, to the womb of a young woman, to the Cross upon Calvary, the empty tomb, and the ascension into heaven, Fr. Weinandy unfolds the theological consequences of the Incarnation as the central belief of Christian faith. Originally published in 2003, 230 pp.
The epistles of St. Ignatius of Antioch (35-108 AD) are, among many other things, a testament to early Catholic hierarchical authority. This study was recommended by a reader who converted from Evangelicalism to Catholicism partly under the influence of Ignatius.
St. Vincent de Paul (1581 - 1660), born in France, was sold into slavery and went on to become an apostle to the poor and suffering, including galley slaves. His life and work became the inspiration for several religious communities and societies of apostolic life down through the centuries, including the well-known St. Vincent de Paul Society—so common in parish life. Vincent did not write a great deal, but gave many spiritual conferences to his confreres. This volume draws upon these to offer readings and prayers arranged for Lent and Easter (ed. John E. Rybolt, SM). Available in paperback and Kindle editions.
Fr. Timothy Combs, O.P. recommends this book: “Probably one of Scott Hahn's best, this is as intellectually illuminating as it is spiritually enriching. Amazing and delightful.” Hahn describes the way in which Scripture is brought to life in the liturgy, which makes the realities described in Holy Writ actually present.
Phil Lawler examines the astonishing phenomenon that is the pontificate of Pope Francis, demonstrating how Pope Francis is rather consistently weakening the Catholic grip on key Catholic doctrines and disciplines. He also reassures us that there is nothing here that fundamentally invalidates Catholic confidence in the Church. And he tells the faithful how best to respond. If you like Lawler's commentary on CatholicCulture.org, you will love the brilliantly titled Lost Shepherd. Published by Gateway Editions. 256 pp; available in hardback and Kindle editions
Fr. Timothy Combs, O.P.: “This is easily the most important spiritual book I've read in the last 10 years. Everyone to whom I've recommended it has also profited from it considerably.” More spiritual books are published annually than anyone could ever benefit from, but Fr. Philippe's stand out far above the rest. He writes that because only peace frees us from ourselves and makes us available to others, it is "the necessary corollary of love": "Acquiring and maintaining peace, which is impossible without prayer, should consequently be considered a priority for everybody, above all for those who claim to want to do good for their neighbor. Otherwise, more often than not they would simply be communicating their own restlessness and distress."
Fr. Timothy Combs, O.P. recommends this book: “Chesterton's classic biography offers a gripping narrative of Aquinas' fascinating life, followed by a magnificent exposition of key themes in the teaching of the Common Doctor.” The great 20th-century Thomist Etienne Gilson wrote, ''I consider it as being without possible exception the best book ever written on Saint Thomas. Nothing short of genius can account for such an achievement.''
As the Curé of Ars in France, John Vianney (1786-1859) became famous for hearing confessions and reading souls. He even knew when “a big fish” (generally a major sinner of high estate) would be coming to him to confess. But this fame came at a price, for St. John was a very poor student who very nearly was refused ordination. He was also plagued by doubts about his worthiness, walked away from his parish on several occasions (but always returning before any harm was done), and experienced nightly spiritual and even physical attacks by the Devil. St. John Vianney was named the patron of parish priests when he was canonized in 1929. Trochu’s biography, first published in 1927, is widely regarded as the best.
Introduced anew by Ignatius Press with an introduction by Karl Keating, this classic from 1938 covers Arianism, Islam, Albigensianism, Protestantism, and what Belloc called “The Modern Phase”—showing the core and relevance of each of these great errors as they challenge us again and again over time. Hilaire Belloc (1870 - 1953) was an historian, cultural critic, and one of greatest English Catholic defenders of the Faith in the early twentieth-century. Belloc and his contemporary G. K. Chesterton were often referred to by their enemies as a monster called the "Chesterbelloc".
The most widely read and translated devotional book in history next to the Bible itself. Countless saints from St. Thomas More to St. Thérèse of Lisieux to St. Ignatius of Loyola have sworn by it. If you really wish to die to yourself so that Christ can live in you, this book will be a very great help. Amazon offers the well-regarded Ronald Knox and Michael Oakley translation only as an ebook; also recommended is the Challoner translation which Fr. Knox himself read in his youth.
Robert Cardinal Sarah's books have received much attention and acclaim from faithful Catholics. In The Power of Silence, Cdl. Sarah argues that in this era of unprecedented noise and distraction, the practice of silence is both more necessary and more difficult than ever. It is a prerequisite for peace and for any relationship with God.
The Story of a Soul conveys St. Therese of Liseux's "Little Way" of spiritual childhood - her "elevator" to Heaven, as she called it. This method was approved by Pope Pius XI as a way for all to grow in holiness through unfailing confidence and childlike delight in God's merciful love. Again and again in this book, St. Therese shows us how her "Little Way" of love and trust comes straight from Sacred Scripture. This book belongs in every Catholic home, for Pope St Pius X stated St. Therese of Liseux the "greatest Saint of modern times". Unlike some earlier, heavily edited versions, this edition is fully faithful to what St. Therese originally wrote.
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