Are you a Catholic bibliophile? Or you’re just a bibliophile? Or maybe you are someone who is interested in Catholicism? Well, whichever applies to you, you’ve got to check out this list of Catholic spirituality books.
Catholicism boasts of a religious tradition that spans over two millennia and Catholic spirituality literature includes the work of thousands of saints and over millions of titles. So, it can be a highly arduous task to zero-in on the best Catholic spirituality books. From the plethora of available literature, we’ve picked the ones that we believe you should read at least once in your lifetime.
Here’s our list of Catholic spiritual titles that’s worth a read – there’s a book for everyone!
The Seven Storey Mountain – Thomas Merton
If you’ve been actively consuming Catholic spirituality literature, you’ll be aware of the controversial nature of this book by Thomas Merton. Most of Merton’s works have been frowned upon by seminary members. Frankly speaking, Thomas Merton is more popular for his death (quite an unfortunate one!) than he is for any spiritual insights he had put forward in his books.
While you may not completely agree with Merton’s spiritual journey, his autobiography The Seven Storey Mountain is still worth a read. An American Trappist monk and priest, Thomas Merton chronicles his search for peace and faith in this brilliantly written piece of art. It is the story of this man’s radical transformation from a man of no faith to a believer.
Merton’s autobiography is also considered as one of the most influential spirituality-based works of the 20th century.
The Silence of Mary – Ignacio Larranaga
Through his best-selling book, Ignacio presents a truly insightful portrayal of Mary. Ignacio Larranaga, a Capuchin priest ordained in Spain, travelled to different countries across the globe organizing conferences and workshops, through which he was trying to get a deep God experience.
The Silence of Mary was originally written in Spanish, but the English translation is now available. The book revolves around the personality of Mary, the mother of Jesus, fully constructed through Ignacio’s analysis of canonical scriptures. Although the book is predominantly Catholic in approach, it makes a great read for Christians of all faiths.
The Lamb’s Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth – Scott Hahn
If there’s one thing that’s Catholic yet so familiar across communities, it is the Holy Mass. In his book. Scott Hahn gives readers a topical look at the Roman Catholic Mass, introducing the argument that Mass is heaven on Earth. Although the book presents a profound insight into Catholic theology, it is written in a clear and easily comprehensible language.
Being a hardcore Catholic himself, Scott Hahn, through his book, pushes Catholics to look at Mass with new eyes. He pushes Catholics to participate in the heavenly liturgy with a renewed heart, more enthusiasm and power.
Confessions – Augustine of Hippo
Fans of Latin literature – rejoice! Confessions is regarded as one of the most influential and innovative memoir written by the ancient North African Catholic saint, Augustine. This 300-page memoir, written in 4th century A.D. during Augustine’s initial years as a bishop, is a reflection of his life and his journey towards becoming a human who is completely alive in Christ.
The book probes into Augustine’s philosophical and theological questioning of being a human and what God is. This is achieved through analyzing his past in comparison with the various resources that shaped his mind-set, like the Bible, for instance. If you’re looking for an ancient saint’s take on religion, being human, love and hatred, then Confessions is a must-read.
The Book of Pastoral Rule – Pope Saint Gregory the Great
This is indeed a gem of a book for Catholic spiritual book seekers. A priest and a bishop, Pope Saint Gregory, through this book, lends a comforting hand to the religiously faithful lot in the troubled times we live in today. Although this book is more inclined towards pastors and the religious souls, it is, in our opinion, greatly beneficial for Christians generally.
The book is a 6th century work and is recognized today as a thorough pastoral discourse of the patristic era. In the book, Pope Saint Gregory outlines clearly the duties and responsibilities of the shepherd, referring to the clergymen, with respect to fine-tuning his flock towards spirituality. The Book of Pastoral Rule is a great guide for pastors.
The Story of a Soul – Saint Therese of Lisieux
The Story of a Soul is a spiritual classic – a beautifully-written autobiography of the wise healer, Saint Therese of Lisieux. She wrote this wonderful spiritual book as a tribute of her obedience to her religious superior Mother Agnes of Jesus, who also happened to be her sister Pauline.
Saint Therese’s masterpiece is an embodiment of the deep love she had towards God. She brings this to life to her readers through her descriptions of how beautifully grace worked within her soul.
Why I Am Catholic (and You Should Be Too) – Brandon Vogt
This Catholic spiritual book by Brandon Vogt was the winner of the Catholic Press Association Award – Popular Presentation of the Catholic Faith – in 2018. With atheism on the rise across the globe, Vogt’s book shares his passionate journey towards the realization that Catholicism was right about almost everything and why you should consider the Catholic faith.
Brandon was one among those who had completely rejected religion and God, until he converted to Catholicism during his college years. He realized then that Catholicism is true and beautiful.
Why I Am Catholic (and You Should Be Too) is a compelling read. The book puts forward a persuasive argument to former Catholics, to those who have left faith behind, as to why they should reconsider Catholicism and start their spiritual journey in truth.
The Imitation of Christ – Thomas A Kempis
It is said the only other book which has been more influential for Christian devotional reading than The Imitation of Christ by Thomas Kempis is the Bible.
Thomas A Kempis was an Augustinian monk and this spiritual classic was written by him during the 1420-1427 time period. The book puts forth the Christian ideal – My son, to the degree that you can leave yourself behind, to that degree will you be able to enter into me – explicitly and movingly. It’s an instruction manual for those who are completely lost in worldly vanities and materialism. It gives such Christians a way to reject such pleasures and instead seek eternal truths.
The Spiritual Combat – Dom Lorenzo Scupoli
This was one of the few spiritual books that actually became a hit among masses during its author Dom Lorenzo Scupoli’s lifetime.
The Spiritual Combat portrays spiritual life from a military perspective, churning out a game plan to beat the greatest enemy of mankind – oneself. Yes, the spiritual battle for one’s soul is a daily struggle. Satan is constantly looking for cracks to tempt men and enter their hearts and souls. And it is up to us to deal with the temptations and emerge spiritually mature. And this book addresses this spiritual battle that each of us face within us as Catholics.
The Secret of Mary – St. Louis de Montfort
Wondering why Mary, mother of Jesus, is given much devotion and importance by Catholic religionists?
The Secret of Mary provides a clear answer to the role that a Christ-centered devotion to Mother Mary can play in growing one’s holiness. Unlike his more comprehensive work – True Devotion to Mary, this book is shorter and an easier read. Despite this, St. Louis has achieved to lay out the reasons as to why Catholics must honor Mother Mary. And, why as believers in Christ we must wholeheartedly put ourselves in the care of the Holy Mother.
The Introduction to the Devout Life – St. Francis de Sales
St. Francis, a noble saint and bishop known for his wisdom and kindness, has published a number of books and discourses on Catholic spirituality. But, the one work of his that stands out is The Introduction to the Devout Life.
The book is a compilation of a series of letters that the bishop had written to a married noblewoman, Madame de Charmois. She had sought the bishop’s help for living a spiritual life in the midst of the chaos and busyness of the world around. The letters were intended to help Madame de Charmois live a holy life. But the noble saint later realized that his practical wisdom on all things Christian could benefit other Catholics seeking holiness too.
Through his work, St. Francis reveals the path to holiness for Catholics, while shattering the common belief that holiness is only for clergymen or the religious.
In Silence with God – Benedict Baur
A true German Benedictine, Father Baur has published many great works on Catholic religion and spirituality. In Silence with God is for those Catholics who are actively looking to follow God.
The book sketches a panoramic view of Christianity, a spiritual theology of sorts that describes how the soul makes its way towards the Lord. There is a silence that is required for the soul to hear and understand God. And, Baur, through this book, helps us journey toward this silence of our souls, so that we can foster the love of God through our everyday lives.
These are just a few of our Catholic spirituality book recommendations for every Catholic men and women.