From The Hand of Fr. Aaron Ferris…For June 24, 2018

Last week I offered a few books about saints to help with your summer reading list. This week I thought we could turn to some books that attempt to lay out the basics of the spiritual life. All of these are classics, though some are better known than others. This is a challenging list because there are any number of great books that could be on it.

One of the best known is The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis. The book is short, and each chapter is short, often only a couple pages long, making it is an excellent choice for reflection. The writing is very direct, and so it is easy to appreciate what the author is getting at. Short and direct, it offers a great deal for personal reflection.

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I would say the next best-known book on the spiritual life is St. Francis de Sales’ An Introduction to the Devout Life. The book is also known as Philothea. The book is a collection of letters and notes that are applicable to all states of life. Because of the nature of letters, the book has a much more personal, and often conversational tone, and it is a very easy read.

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Also fairly well known, but generally less so than the first two, is St. Teresa of Avila’s The Interior Castle. St. Teresa is one of the great Doctors of the Church, and is known for her work in spiritual theology. This book combines deep insight into the systematic development of the spiritual life with an easy to grasp description.

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A book that could have gone on last week’s list and this one is John Cassian’s Conferences. The book is a collection of stories from the Desert Fathers, the men who went off into the desert in the first centuries of the Church in order to develop their relationship with Christ. In the midst of these great stories are priceless pearls of wisdom about how to grow in holiness.

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The last book for this list (again there could be any number of books) is This Tremendous Lover by M. Eugene Boylan, O.C.R. This is the most recent of the books, having been written in 1946. This is also for those who want to dive in to a more systematic presentation on the spiritual life that is also very readable.

Paperback $42.14

Rev. Aaron Ferris
Rev. Aaron Ferris
Rev. Aaron R. Ferris Ordination Date: June 6, 2009 Pastor, St. Anthony Parish (Saranac) and St. Mary’s Parish (Lowell) 402 Amity Street Lowell, MI 49331 Phone: 616-897-9820
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