Without good books and spiritual reading, it will be morally impossible to save our souls. (St. Alphonsus Liguori)editor
But what sort of “good books” and “spiritual reading” will help us to save our souls?
I’ve heard young Catholics raving about Lord of the Rings as a great story and a marvellous means of understanding their Faith better. Here’s author J.R.R. Tolkien: “The Lord of the Rings is of course a fundamentally religious and Catholic work; unconsciously so at first, but consciously in the revision.”  By design The Lord of the Rings is not a Christian allegory but rather an invented myth  about Christian and Catholic truths. As one commentator noted, giving a young person Lord of the Rings as a means of communicating essential truths of the Faith is to use the same method a mother uses to feed spinach to her baby – sneaking it in via the rivetting story!
If you can think of other non-fiction works to recommend – not just for the young but for us all, as wholesome as possible – let’s hear it…
There is an abundance of solid spiritual reading available; given the state of the Church right now, however, it is wise to avoid contemporary writings and stick with the tried and tested classics written by great saints, such as The Sermons of St Alphonsus…
The Secret of the Rosary by St Louis De Montfort is another classic, which I’m currently re-reading – it never fails to inspire and edify – highly recommended, although I have to admit that not everyone finds it an easy read in the beginning – but it’s worth persevering. I’ve heard it described as “transformative” – with good reason. You can read it online by clicking on the link above, at the name of the book.
Another book which has transformed the spiritual lives of Catholics since its publication is St Thérèse of Lisieux’s Story of a Soul which, again, you can read online here
The Life of Christ by Fulton Sheen is another beautiful read; to quote the blurb on the back page of the complete and unabridged copy which describes the contents faithfully: “With his customary insight and reverence, the author interprets the scripture and describes Christ not only in historical perspective but in exciting and contemporary terms; he sees in Christ’s life modern parallels and timeless lessons. Sheen probes the hearts of many prominent New Testament figures – Joseph and Mary, Peter and the disciples, Herod, Pilate, et al – shedding new light on age-old events. The whole adds up to a masterful study: a faithful blending of philosophy, history, and biblical exegesis.”
Share your favourite spiritual reading with us in the comments below – not least reading that will inspire us to persevere during Lent… Now, there’s a challenge, folks!