I find the dark and cold days of winter to be a good time to catch up on my reading and deepen my faith by reading selected spiritual books. This can be a wonderful way to dive deeper into learning about scripture, Jesus and faith. With Lent starting next week it might also be a good time to read a book of a spiritual nature for our Lenten journey. There are so many good books available, where does one start? Here are a few books I enjoyed this last year and hopefully you will find them helpful in deepening your faith.
“A Stranger and You Welcomed Me: A Call to Mercy and Solidarity With Migrants and Refugees”, Pope Francis. A powerful collection of Pope Francis’s homilies, talks, and writings on the plight of migrants and refugees in our world. He challenges Christians and other people of faith on how we should work towards an environment of welcoming and integration for displaced people. Insightful reading for us as Catholics during this election year when immigration will be a hot topic.
“The Great Spiritual Migration: How the World's Largest Religion Is Seeking a Better Way to Be Christian”, Brian Mclaren. Be careful, this is a book that will really get under your skin and stay with you. I found his analysis of the state of things to be on target and totally agree with where he thinks the Christian faith needs to head in the future. Once you read this book you will start to see the issues he talks about all around you. Luckily for us Catholics, one of his favorite persons to help lead us into the future is Pope Francis.
“In God's Holy Light: Wisdom from the Desert Monastics”, Joan Chittister. I am a big fan of Sr. Joan’s books. In this book, she does a wonderful job of taking the timeless wisdom of the early desert fathers and mothers and applying them to our modern times. This would make a great book of reflections to journey with during Lent and would allow you to spend time in the desert with Jesus.
“A Pilgrimage to Eternity: From Canterbury to Rome in Search of a Faith”, Timothy Egan. Go on a pilgrimage from England to Rome via foot, train, taxi, rental car, and bus. Timothy does a marvelous job of weaving his journey with the history and theology of each stop along the way. He also weaves in the struggles and joys of his Catholic faith and growing up Catholic in Spokane, both the good and the bad. So glad St Pascal’s parishioner Anne Weyandt recommended this book as a “must-read”.
“Ostriches, Dung Beetles and Other Spiritual Masters: A Book of Wisdom from the Wild”, Janice McLaughlin. This book of reflections finds is roots in Sr. Janice’s many years of ministry in Africa. Using many examples of the different animals, trees, and scrubs of Africa she brings reflections that are very grounded. Her experiences of living with and ministering to people of different cultures will open your eyes to seeing faith in new ways.
“Jesus in Blue Jeans” see my recent blog post about this wonderful book