Saturday, June 5, 2010
Some Good Spiritual Reading
Some time ago I took a fellow blogger up on his offer to send out copies of Fr. Walter Ciszek's memoir, He Leadeth Me. There are very few books that I have read (and I have read many!) where I would say that the book is life changing, this is one of those books!
In his book Fr. Ciszek tell the story of his 23 years in Siberian prison and labor camps. He was captured by the Russian army during World War II and then convicted as a Vatican spy. During this time of suffering, hardship and trial, Fr. Ciszek speaks of how he came to accept all that was happening as being part of God's will for him.
It is a story of faith and hope under the harshest and most difficult of circumstances.
Most of us will never be called to endure the hardships and trials that Fr. Ciszek endured, but his story is one that we can all learn from. All of us will endure sufferings of one sort or another in our lives. Seeing and accepting what befalls us as part of God's will in our lives will give it value and draw down endless graces for us as well as for others.
The book is gripping but by no means an easy read. It took me several months to read the 202 pages that make up this book. I would read a chapter or two and then need time to absorb and process what I had read.
The last several chapters on freedom, humility and faith read like homilies; I felt like I was listening to father preach. One of my favorite quotes from the book came in the chapter on freedom. In this day and age when the true meaning of that word seems to be twisted beyond recognition, Fr. Ciszek nails it: "It is choosing to serve God, to do His will, that man achieves his highest and fullest freedom."
If you've read the book, you understand what I have said here, if you haven't, put it on your "must read" list.
Another book I recently finished is Michael D. O'Brien's Theoplilos. In Scripture, Theophilos is the man St Luke addressed his Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles to, but not much else is known about him. O'Brien creates a beautiful fictional narrative steeped in Catholic teaching and scripture. I don't think I will ever read St Luke's Gospel or Acts the same way ever again. This is one of those books you hate to see end.
Finally, in honor of the Sacred Heart for this month of June, I purchased A Heart Like His by Fr. Thomas D. Williams. Fr. Williams has written 30 meditations that explore and draw the reader more deeply into the many facets of Our Lord's sacred Heart. Each meditation is only a few pages long with thought and soul provoking questions throughout. This is a bookstores can't seem to keep in stock for very long, but check with Amazon or Barnes & Noble if interested; they can e-mail you when they receive another shipment. The book is written with a meditation for each day in the month of June but can be used any time.
These are simply my own personal thoughts on some of the spiritual reading I have been blessed with lately. If you have read or are currently reading any of the books I have mentioned, please share your thoughts in a comment.
Happy and Blessed reading!
Psalm 45: Canticle of Love to the King
My heart overflows with a good theme;
I address my verses to the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.
You are fairer than the sons of men;
Grace is poured upon Your lips;
Therefore God has blessed You forever.
Gird Your sword on Your thigh, O Mighty One,
In Your splendor and Your majesty!
And in Your majesty ride on victoriously,
For the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness;
Let Your right hand teach You awesome things.
Your arrows are sharp;
The peoples fall under You;
Your arrows are in the heart of the King’s enemies.
Your throne, O God, is forever and ever;
A scepter of uprightness is the scepter of Your kingdom.
You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness;
Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You
With the oil of joy above Your fellows.
All Your garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia;
Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made You glad.
Kings’ daughters are among Your noble ladies;
At Your right hand stands the queen in gold from Ophir.