Books I’d recommend to anyone seeking:
The following are books or essays which have made significant impact on my faith. The content of these books have helped me tremendously to articulate what I believe and why. I would recommend any and all of them to someone looking to deepen and enrich their Christian faith.
The Holy Bible – I prefer the Revised Standard Version (RSV-CE), but have also read the New American Bible (NAB) and the Douay–Rheims (DV) version as well as numerous Protestant Bibles including the King James Version (KJV), New International Version (NIV), New King James Version (NKJV), The Amplified Bible (AMP), The Good News Bible (GNT) and The Living Bible (TLB)
Catechism of the Catholic Church – a must read; aside from the Holy Bible, this is the most important Christian document I have read to date.
The Desert Fathers: Sayings of the Early Christian Monks (Benedicta Ward Edition)
The Practice of the Presence of God, Brother Lawrence – English Translation. I have read that the Spire edition is the truer English rendition, being less revised/edited to suit non-Catholics.
Signatures: The Story of John Michael Talbot, Dan O’Neill – I read this at a very important turning point in my Christian faith, and it served as a window, a means by which I first learned about Thomas Merton, The Desert Fathers, Saint Francis of Assisi and others whom would prove to be pivotal to my conversion to the Catholic Christian faith. It is an informative read, a good way to learn a bit about John Michael and what makes his music ministry rich and deep.
The Seven Storey Mountain, Thomas Merton – this book moved me tremendously. It is Fr. Merton’s autobiography. His insights and honesty are a real breath of fresh air. His particular style evokes a great deal of familiarity with me, and as such I find I relate to him as though he were my own brother. I admire his depth and understanding, his wisdom, honesty and humility and most especially his courage!
The Imitation of Christ, Thomas a Kempis – This little book is packed cover to cover with amazing insight, written in the form of an almost Job-esque communication between the author and the Author of Life. The chapters are relatively short and make for excellent devotional reading.
True Devotions to the Blessed Virgin Mary, St. Louis de Montfort
The Great Divorce, C.S. Lewis – A day trip, by bus, from hell to heaven, need I say more? In my opinion, this is C.S. Lewis at his best. It is a profound tale, whether taken allegorically or literally.
The Walk, Michael Card – an autobiographical telling of Michael’s personal discipleship with Dr. William Lane, whose teachings and inspiration would become much of the stuff of Michael’s wonderful music.
다시 바다에서 – 이해인 (At The Sea Again, An Anthology of Poems by Hae In Lee)
Here and Now: Living in the Spirit, Henri J.M. Nouwen – beautiful, practical meditative writings focused on living everyday life in the spirit.
The Story of a Soul, the Autobiography of St. Therese of Lisieux, St. Therese of Lisieux
Confessions, St. Augustine
Toward God, Michael Casey
Strangers to the City, Michael Casey
The Wounded Healer, Henri J.M. Nouwen
The Way of the Heart, Henri J.M. Nouwen – I read this book, and the three preceding (Toward God and Strangers to the City, by Michael Casey, and The Wounded Healer, by Henri Nouwen), during a particularly dry, empty, and lonely period in my journey. The content of which resulted in a beginner’s understanding and deep appreciation for solitude and quiet prayer and caused me to seek God in His literal Presence within the Eucharist. As a result, I found myself in adoration before the Eucharist for the first time, which changed me inwardly and with a solid sense of permanence for which I am hugely grateful to God. I realized through this that in my heart, my way has always been Catholic. Or perhaps it would be clearer to say that since the beginning of my search for the reality of God, I have been oriented toward the Catholic Christian faith. It is sad to admit that I could have known this about 20 years earlier had I simply been more honest, inwardly and outwardly. Truth and humility are the true way of the heart, the Way of God. To live any other way is basically living a scam. I am living proof of that.
Lectio Divina, From God’s Word to our Lives, Enzo Bianchi
The Wisdom of the Desert, Thomas Merton
Dark Night of the Soul, Saint John of the Cross
Sacred Reading: The Ancient Art of Lectio Divina, Michael Casey
A Life-Giving Way – Esther de Waal
The Impact of God, Soundings from St John of the Cross, Fr. Iain Matthew – This may be the best book I’ve read in the past 20 years. It certainly speaks to me like no other book I’ve ever read. If someone is inclined to the deeper, more mystical prayer life; more specifically if someone has a heart screaming out for an experience of God, who is utterly unsatisfied with anything less…this book is an absolute must read. St John of the Cross is, in himself, a worthwhile study. His writings are immensely rich. The author of this book takes a deeper look into the psyche of St John of the Cross by making a sounding of John of the Cross’ soul, so to speak, through St John’s personal history and writings. The result is more than just uplifting and inspiring. It is a bridge-building between a Saint who died centuries ago and a reader of the 21st century. I honestly feel as though I know St John of the Cross personally now. And as such, am enjoying a very real Communion with a him in Christ! I would recommend this book to anyone seeking God, truth and a real spiritual life, Catholic, Protestant or otherwise.
The Long Loneliness, Dorothy Day
The Rule of Saint Benedict (Timothy Fry edition) – Saint Benedict
The Cloud of Unknowing – Author Unknown, William Johnston edition
No Man is an Island – Thomas Merton
Becoming Human – Jean Vanier
The Monastic Journey – Thomas Merton
The Way of Perfection – Saint Teresa of Avila
The Genesee Diary – Henri J.M. Nouwen – Outstanding! Fr. Nouwen asks brutally honest questions of himself, of God and of his Christian beliefs in this account of his 7 months lived as a Trappist monk in upstate New York. For anyone wishing to learn how to ask the tough questions of oneself, this is a good place to start.
Encountering the Other – Jean Vanier
On Christian Contemplation – Thomas Merton
More to come…
Encyclicals, Exhortations essays and homilies:
Laudato Si’ (24 May 2015, Pope Francis)
Amoris Laetitia ( 19 March 2016, Pope Francis)
Other books of significance:
The following are books or essays I have read which were in some way beneficial or interesting but made lesser significant impact on my faith:
Becoming Who Your Are, James Martin, SJ – This book was a bit disappointing, due mainly to having expectations to begin with. Still, not an altogether waste of time. 🙂
Rosary: Mysteries, Meditations and the Telling of the Beads , Kevin Orlin Johnson, Ph.D. – This is a very informative read. The author offers a nice broad history of the development of the Rosary over the centuries. It was published in 1996, however, long before the Luminous Mysteries were suggested by Pope John Paul II, but the author expounds nicely upon the Sorrowful, Joyous and Glorious Mysteries.
Spiritual Authority, Watchman Nee
The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis
The Ragamuffin Gospel: Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Burnt Out – Brennan Manning – The content of this book, I think, is questionable at times, but Mr. Manning expresses, quite exhaustively, the “furious love of the Father” for His creation, that He loves us simply because He made us. This is a message I needed to hear with the ears of my heart, and this was achieved through the reading of this book. Also, Brennan Manning was held in very high regard by Christian artists whom I have always held in very high regard; namely Rich Mullins and Michael Card.
Practicing His Presence, Frank Laubach
Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ, Madam Jeanne Guyon – I’ve read this book a few times, but it has been some years. I feel deeply drawn to Madam Guyon’s rich and passionate love of Jesus Christ. At times, some of the depth she speaks of was completely lost on me. It is a book I intend to read again in the future, as my Christian life has changed and evolved significantly since last I read it.
The Pilgrim’s Progress, John Bunyan
Hind’s Feet on High Places, Hannah Hurnard
Currently In the Queue:
- Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola – St. Ignatius of Loyola
- History of Jerusalem – Flavius Josephus
- On Prayer and the Contemplative Life – Thomas Aquinas
- The Path to Rome – Hilaire Belloc
- City of God – Saint Augustine
- On Free Choice of the Will – Saint Augustine
- The Foundations of the Spiritual Life – Jean-Joseph Surin
- The Autobiography of St. Therea of Avila – St. Theresa of Avila
- Interior Castle – St. Theresa of Avila
- Fully Human, Fully Devine: An Interactive Christology – Michael Casey
- The Everlasting Man – G.K. Chesterton
- On the Passion of Christ: According to the Four Evangelists : Prayers and Meditations – Thomas a Kempis
- Pensées – Blaise Pascal
- The Brothers Karamazov – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
- Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
- Living with Contradiction – Esther de Waal
- The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross – Translated by Kieran Kavanaugh, O.C.D. & Otilio Rodriguez, O.C.D., comprised of the following:
- The Sayings of Light and Love
- The Ascent of Mount Carmel
- The Dark Night (already read)
- The Spiritual Canticle
- The Living Flame of Love
- Special Counsels
- The Essential Writings of Christian Mysticism – Bernard McGinn
- The Lord Calls My Name – Song Bong-mo, S.J.