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Winter Spiritual Reading Picks

With Christmas a distant memory, the weather in Minnesota feeling like winter, and Lent only three weeks away it is a good time to do some spiritual reading. Like last year, I thought I would recommend a few books for your consideration that I found to be sources of inspiration and insight over the last year.

“My Life With the Saints”, Fr. James Martin. I love Fr. Martin’s writing style as it is so honest and conversational. This book has been a bestselling for good reason. It is more than just a retelling of each Saint’s life, but rather about how he came to know each Saint and how that relationship has deepened his faith life. There are famous Saints and some not so famous Saints in this book.

“Songs of the Heart: Reflections on the Psalms”, Sr Joan Chittester. This is a wonderful treatment of the Psalms. Many times during Mass or reading the Daily Readings it is easy to tune out the Psalms, which is unfortunate as they cover the range of human emotion and the ups and downs of our relationship with God. I really enjoyed the wisdom stories she picked for reflecting on each Psalm.

“Women: Icons of Christ”, Phyllis Zagano. I think this is a “Must Read” for all Catholics to understand the history and theology that provides support for reinstating women to the permanent Diaconate. It also covers the rich history of women’s important role in the liturgical life of the Church. Here is my earlier blog post concerning this wonderful book.

“Mystics: Twelve Who Reveal God's Love” Fr. Murray Bodo. I knew I would like this book when the first Mystic covered was Mary. Her ability to hear, ponder, and act on God’s promptings is the basic formula for all Mystics. Fr. Bodo does a very nice job of weaving history and his personal understanding and love of the twelve Mystics he picked to be the subjects of this book. Reading this book shows how diverse being a Mystic can be.

“Jesus, Friend of My Soul: Reflections for the Lenten Journey”, Sr Joyce Rupp. I really enjoyed journeying through Lent and Holy Week last year with this set of reflections by Sr. Joyce. Each reflection covers a different aspect of the qualities and being of Jesus.

I will leave you with an interesting perspective on spiritual reading from Henri Nouwen.

“Spiritual reading is not only reading about spiritual people or spiritual things. It is also reading spiritually, that is, in a spiritual way! Reading in a spiritual way is reading with a desire to let God come closer to us.

The purpose of spiritual reading . . . is not to master knowledge or information but to let God’s Spirit master us. Strange as it may sound, spiritual reading means to let ourselves be read by God!

Spiritual reading is reading with an inner attentiveness to the movement of God’s Spirit in our outer and inner lives. With that attentiveness, we will allow God to read us and to explain to us what we are truly about.”

Peace, Love, and Blessings

Deacon Richard


  • Ann LemkePosted on 1/28/21

    I too endorse any writings by Fr. James Martin S.J. His humor and openness make for delightful spiritual reading.

  • Kim RoeringPosted on 1/28/21

    Thank you for these suggestions, Rich! I would concur that My Life with the Saints is a good choice. And now I need to explore the others on your list! I just started Let Us Dream: The Path to a Better Future by Pope Francis and am awaiting Learning to Pray: A Guide for Everyone by Fr. James Martin to arrive next week.



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