C. S. Lewis said, “If I find in myself a desire which nothing in the world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world”. I love reading books that amplify my faith journey, and help me grow more deeply in my love for God. Here are a few of the best from 2018.
I loved this one–a fictional account of the life of Father (later Archbishop) Latour and his friend and fellow priest Father Vaillant as they are stationed in the newly American territory of New Mexico. They are good priests–living out the Gospel with hard work and grace, and experiencing the wonder and beauty of the cultures already present there as they build a new cathedral that still stands today. The book is based on the life of Bishop Lamy of Santa Fe, and captures the spirit of the land and people. Two of my favorite quotes:
“Where there is great love there are always miracles,” he said at length. “One might almost say that an apparition is human vision corrected by divine love. I do not see you as you really are, Joseph; I see you through my affection for you. The Miracles of the Church seem to me to rest not so much upon faces or voices or healing power coming suddenly near to us from afar off, but upon our perceptions being made finer, so that for a moment our eyes can see and our ears can hear what is there about us always.”
and about New Mexico:
“Elsewhere the sky is the roof of the world; but here the earth was the floor of the sky. The landscape one longed for when one was far away, the thing all about one, the world one actually lived in, was the sky, the sky!”
What is different about Catholics who are actively practicing and living out their faith? What sets apart those who are the volunteers, the teachers, the enthusiastic leaders in a church from those who come to Mass sometimes but may not get involved in the life of their parish? Matthew Kelly surveys thousands of these “dynamic Catholics” to investigate what makes them so, and finds four common pursuits. Active prayer life, constant desire to study the faith and know God better thru reading the Bible and books about faith, generosity in finances, time, talent, and acts of kindness, and evangelization–a desire to share the ways their faith has changed their lives. If we can all start practicing Prayer, Study, Generosity, and Evangelization little by little in our daily lives, we can change the church and the world as we each become more dynamic in our faith.
3. A Biblical Walk thru the Mass by Edward Sri
Are you Catholic, and wonder why we do what we do at Mass? Or as a non-Catholic, have you ever wondered what all the standing up, reciting creeds, kneeling, and sitting down is all about? This is a good little book that goes thru why Catholics do what we do, and where these particular practices came from.
Historical fiction about St. Hildegard von Bingen, one of the first Benedictine abbesses in Germany. She had to overcome so much in her life, and finally established a home for her sister nuns and building a new church there. She read all the library had to offer, and had visions of the church, which she later wrote about in books that were illuminated by her sisters. Very compelling and well researched tale of a woman I am glad to know more about.
5. Rome Sweet Home by Scott and Kimberly Hahn
Chronicles this Presbyterian pastor’s journey to Catholicism thru his personal study of the Bible and understanding of the idea of covenant. He is now one of the premier Catholic Bible scholars and writers today.
A fantastic true story about Brother Andrew, a Dutch Protestant who smuggled Bibles behind the Iron Curtain, helping the struggling churches know that they were part of the larger world church of believers, and were not forgotten.
The author finds out her husband is in a relationship with someone else which he wants to continue, and wants a divorce. She decides to spend the time they have together living out 1 Corinthians 13, about how to love, towards her husband. This is the story of doing a difficult thing, and the healing that resulted from it.
What books have you read that enriched your faith or gave you hope? Let’s discuss them!