Archive for the ‘Reading Lists’ Category

The Wisdom of St. Ignatius

In Catholic, Christianity, Reading Lists on June 1, 2011 at 12:11 pm

Previous posts have mentioned Ignatius House Retreat Center. I am increasingly grateful daily for the wisdom of St. Ignatius, on whose Spiritual Exercises most retreats at Ignatius House and elsewhere are based.

There are numerous texts of the Exercises, but I would encourage you to get this edition, which has a wonderfully helpful Preface and Introduction. From this morning’s readings, later in the book, the following notes appear in my daily prayer journal (summarizing pages 235 and top of 236):

I am made to know, love, serve, and possess God:

  1. To know God, in the created order of the world (Psalm 24:1)
  2. To love God, because it is from his bounty He has given to me even the creatures; it is His love that serves me in each one.
  3. To serve God. Consider how all the creatures obey? Shall I be the only one to refuse to serve God? Shall I be the least faithful?
  4. To merit the possession of God. There is nothing created or ordained by God that cannot be the occasion of prompting some virtue:
    • Things we need and may enjoy offer occasions for practicing temperance and detachment.
    • Things to which we must submit (labor, illness, poverty) offer occasions for patience and humility.
    • Things that lead to God offer occasions to practice piety and faith.
    • Things that lead away from God offer occasions to practice sacrifice.

A Reading List, Part II

In Catholic, Christianity, Reading Lists on February 21, 2009 at 6:49 pm

In a previous post, A Reading List, Part I, I promised a list of secondary sources that proved helpful to me.  This list is longer and more subjective than the first. Even so, many more fine books might be included. All I can say is that, on my pilgrimage and given the questions I had, these books were sturdy companions.  “Taste and see” (Psalm 34:8).

  • Letters to a Young Catholic, George Weigel. Mentioned to me by my sister. Very much worth reading, for more than the chapter on St. Mary’s. This was among the first books that pointed to the immense richness of the Catholic Church.
  • Catholic & ChristianAlan Schreck. The very first book about Catholicism I purchased.  Still one of the most helpful short works I’ve read.
  • Evangelical is Not Enough: Worship of God in Liturgy and Sacrament, Thomas Howard. I could not imagine (until I read Howard) anyone writing so graciously, so well, about his journey to the Church. I am grateful for the love and respect he expresses for his own biblical, evangelical background.
  • Magnificat, Fr. Peter John Cameron, Editor.  A helpful guide to daily prayer and Scripture reading, as well as texts used in daily Mass.  Liturgical Calendar appears on the inside front cover.  The daily readings selected by the editor have prompted many hours of richly blessed meditation.  This is a monthly subscription publication, but single copies should be available at your Catholic bookstore.
  • On Being Catholic, Thomas Howard. “We are ceremonial creatures,” Howard asserts. An invaluable book, with chapters ranging from “Glad Tidings” and “Is Man Religious?” to “Are Catholics Saved?” “Hiddenness” was a very special chapter.
  • Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II, George Weigel. Highly recommended. Although lengthy, it is perhaps the best comprehensive introduction to the Church, to John Paul II, and to the years 1978-2005 one could ask for.
  • Theology of the Body Explained, Christopher West.  George Weigel says John Paul’s theology of the body will be one among the key contributions of his Papacy, though it may take decades to be appreciated. From Weigel’s foreword: “Some will, no doubt, find it odd that the Catholic Church takes human sexuality far more seriously than the editors of Playboy and Cosmopolitan. But that’s the plain truth of the matter.”
  • The Courage to Be Catholic, George Weigel.  For those concerned about the sexual and financial scandals in the Church.  From Weigel’s introduction: “Like every Christian community, the Catholic Church is a Church of sinners . . . The trauma of the Catholic Church in the United States in 2002 will become an opportunity to deepen and extend the reforms of Vatican II if the Church becomes more Catholic, not less—if the Church rediscovers the courage to be Catholic” (italics mine).  
  • Theology and Sanity, Frank Sheed. Tremendously helpful passages include his explanation (to the extent we even can begin to explain) of the Trinity; his description of God being outside time; his analysis of man as both matter and spirit all were extraordinary—as was his continual emphasis that living sanely means living in reality, and reality is both seen and unseen.

 To keep this post as compact as possible, I have included annotations about each book, but not full bibliographic citations.  For additional information, or if you have difficulty finding one of these books, email me at the address shown under Welcome, at the bottom of the copyright notice.

A Reading List, Part I

In Catholic, Christianity, Reading Lists on February 12, 2009 at 5:27 pm

If you are being drawn to the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church, or simply want to know more about what the Church believes, here is a list of references I found helpful.  The list is not exhaustive, but these are primary sources that will be indispensable to you.  A list of secondary sources is located here, which may also prove helpful.

By the way, if you are a Catholic Christian, these primary documents should be familiar. They describe what we believe.  In them, you will begin to see the immense richness of the Church—of Christianity Richly.  If these works are not familiar, then I encourage you to have a look, as well.  

Finally, although Christianity Richly normally links books and articles to Web sources, I have not done so for this list.  Most of these items will be readily available at your local Catholic bookstore.  Your Catholic bookstore needs your support. Even more than that, a good Catholic bookstore will also become a source of support and Christian community. Visit them and take advantage of their help.  

  • The Holy Bible. The New American Bible, School and Church Edition, Fireside Bible Publishers (Wichita, KS).
  • The Catechism of the Catholic Church, Second Edition.  USCCB Publishing (Washington, D.C.).
  • Christian Prayer: The Liturgy of the Hours. Catholic Book Publishing Corporation (New York, NY).
  • Dei Verbum (“Word of God”).  Documents of Vatican II.
  • Lumen Gentium (“Light of the Nations”).  Documents of Vatican II.
  • Fides et Ratio (“Faith and Reason”).  Encyclical, John Paul II.

If there is no Catholic bookstore in your area, or they cannot help you with one or more of the documents on this list, email me at the address shown under Welcome, at the bottom of the copyright notice.  I would be happy to help you find the item or to describe any document listed here in more detail than this post allows.