Search This Blog

Friday, January 27, 2023

Got any Good Spiritual Books on Your Reading List?

One of my favorite Catholic authors is Fr. Leo Trese. presently I'm reading his 1961 book, Seventeen Steps to Heaven. I take seriously his recommendation to make spiritual reading a part of daily life. How can we know God if we never think about Him? How can we love God if we don't know Him? Fr. Trese gives us this practical advice:
Loving God is the most important business of our lives....The truly practical Catholic, the Catholic who takes seriously his vocation to love God, will try to make spiritual reading a regular part of his weekly, if not daily, program.

And so, every day I read Scripture, or an entry in the Lives of the Saints, or a chapter in the Imitation of Christ, etc. At present I'm reading the life and ministry of Christ in chronological order in scripture. It puts things in perspective. What happened first? What did Jesus do right after His Baptism and temptation in the desert? I never thought about a lot of it before. His meeting with the woman at the well, for example happened very early in His ministry, so did the nighttime visit of Nicodemus. How does that impact my understanding of Jesus and His ministry?

You can find a number of chronologies on the internet. Here are a few:

This one is pretty extensive, but starts with the Baptism in the Jordan:

The public life of Jesus 

This one includes the infancy narratives:

Bible timeline, Life of Jesus

There are websites that offer the entire Bible in chronological order. At some point I want to follow that order. "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God." The Word came first, before creation. Jesus was always the Word of the Trinity. What did He speak before "Let there be light?" It's exciting to me just to think about it -- that for all eternity He had those words of creation in mind, that He had my creation in mind. The God of the Universe was already thinking about bringing me into existence. It makes me a little dizzy to think of it.

At any rate, my husband and I are also reading together a book about the angels after our evening rosary. It's really increased my awareness throughout the day that I have a powerful friend to help and guide me. I have never interceded with my angel so much as I have in the last month, sending him to pray with family members and friends in need. Realizing how much I need his help and how willing he is to give it. Merci, mon ange!

I also like to read encyclicals. I'm currently working on Leo XIII's Libertas. So many people today are confused about the nature of freedom and liberty. It's very much an encyclical for our time. And it's easily available at the Vatican website

Today is the feast of St. John Chrysostom, one of the wisest and most learned Catholic saints, renowned for his preaching. think of the difference in our churches if the congregation paid attention to his words:

When you are before the altar where Christ reposes, you ought no longer to think that you are amongst men; but believe that there are troops of angels and archangels standing by you, and trembling with respect before the sovereign Master of Heaven and earth. Therefore, when you are in church, be there in silence, fear, and veneration.

Reading about the saints of the day offers so many great role models to encourage our own proper disposition and behavior. What a treasure, if we have the sense to make use of it.

If you have any recommendations for blog readers, please leave a comment.


  1. Can you please tell us the title of the book about Angels? I would love to read that.
    Thanks kindly

  2. My personal favorite scriptural reading source is St. Thomas Aquinas' Catena Aurea (Golden Chain). Briefly, St. Thomas took comments from sermons and writings of various Church Fathers (e.g., St. Augustine, St. John Chrysostom, St. Jerome, etc.) which referred to each verse of the four Gospels, with the verses grouped to match each day's TLM Gospel readings. He then cleverly arranged and interspersed the Fathers' comments to read as if they were sitting together at a roundtable, discussing and debating the verses amongst themselves. Their comments and insights are absolutely fascinating and instructive. Most importantly, the reader can be assured that their interpretations of the Gospel passages are fully reflective of authentic traditional Catholic Church teachings. I highly recommend it for daily spiritual reading either alone or with others. I frequently used it when leading the monthly spiritual discussions in our church's men's group meetings.

    The Catena Aurea is available from various sources, online or hardcopy; free or purchased; inexpensive or a bit pricy. The quality, of course, varies with the different sources. I have the four-volume set of books from Baronius Press. It is a bit pricy for many but absolutely worth every dollar. If you can afford it, you will not regret it.

  3. The Courage to be Afraid by Fr. Marie-Dominique Molinie, OP, translated by Fr. Alexander Wiseman. Simultaneously, I’m reading Worshipping a Hidden God by Archbishop Luis M. Martinez. Both are excellent!

  4. What a wonderful essay. It's good encouragement to read scripture every day, or try, or something spiritually helpful. I will check out the links, and thank you. I've wanted to do a Bible study for YEARS. I get discouraged because I want something truly Catholic, not Protestant and not watered down. It's hard to find.
    I did sign up for Scott Hahn's Lenten study of God's holiness. Scott Hahn is an intelligent man and certainly scholarly. I hope he doesn't mention Francis or I'll be out of said Lenten study.

  5. Humility of Heart. I cannot recommend this enough. It's something I'll probably reference the rest of my life

    The Happiness of Heaven

  6. The name of the angel book is All About the Angels by Fr. Paul O'Sullivan, O.P. published in 1945. My copy is from Tan Books. We read another that I also like by a French journalist, George Huber - My Angel Will Go Before You published in 1983. We read that after the rosary during Advent.

  7. Love your quote from Saint Chrysostom- please at some point visit a Holy Orthodox Church and experience his beautiful Divine Liturgy- it just might chnage your faith and your life.

  8. I recently read "Saint Michael and the Holy Angels: Their Relations with the Visible World" by Rev Eugune Soyer. I cannot recommend this book enough.

  9. What a great post idea! Thank you.

    I am re-reading "The life of Little Saint Placid" by Mother Genevieve Gallois, OSB.
    It's an unusual book, which combines text with Mother's bold line drawings.
    It's very good for picking up, reading a snippet and then meditating.

    And, I have found a Biblical reading plan that I am actually sticking with.
    It's not Catholic, so I will have to do the Deuterocanonicals when I finish.

  10. Today, on this feast of St. Ephraim, Father of the Church, let me share this spiritual gem.

    PDF]A Spiritual Psalter, or Reflections on God

    You can also purchase this on Amazon.

    Thanks to you, dear writer of this blog, I failed in my New Year’s resolution...not to buy anymore spiritual reading books until I finish my 30+ books that have not yet been read. Resolution made at 1159 pm, New Year’s Eve...broken around 4:30 am New Year’s Day after reading your blog On My Angel Will Go Before You. Am happy I succumbed and decided it was a resolution not worth keeping.. For Lenten Reading, I strongly recommend The Hours of the Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ by Luisa Piccarreta available online in a PDF and in hard copy on Amazon. This book is clearly manifested by our Lord to Luisa and allows the reader into the mind of Christ as He is suffering for us.

  11. Yes, spiritual reading is wonderful. Archbishop Martinez - The Sanctifier. Any of the brief books by Fr.Jacques Philippe, Theology and Sanity by Frank Sheed, He Leadeth Me by Fr Walter Cizsek, S.J., The Song of Bernadette, Sigrid Undset's Catherine of Siena to name just a few.
    Although my pastor says he does not read fiction there are some wonderful books that I think qualify as spiritual reading - Brideshead Revisited, Diary of a Country Priest, In This House of Breed, Tattoos on the Heart to name just a few.
    Always enjoy your blog, Mary Ann.

  12. Frank Sheed has a great book about Jesus, “To Know Christ Jesus”

    I am currently reading Ralph Martin’s “Fulfillment of all Desire” as my spiritual reading, and can recommend it highly.