We frequently complain about our lack of time, especially when it comes to having time to read.
Usually, the problem is not time, but the way we organize our priorities throughout the day. Spiritual readings are an excellent way to take advantage of time and nourish our soul.
Certainly, they require us finding an appropriate space so we can meditate well and fruitfully read the words before us. In order to stop blaming our lack of time, today we present to you 5 Catholic books that, besides being very beneficial, are short in length. So, the next time you have some spare minutes, even if you’re on the bus or waiting in line, you can read any of these books which will definitely be very beneficial for your spiritual life.
1. The Way of a Pilgrim (author unknown)
This is a classic of Eastern Christian Spirituality, written by an anonymous author in the 19th century. This book is a reference text about how to live the Jesus Prayer (“Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner”). It talks about a pilgrim’s journey living this type of prayer which consists of “praying without ceasing” and contemplating. Along with insights on prayer life and the meditation of the Holy Scriptures, this book is full of inspiring chapters and characters who find in prayer the nourishment of the spirit and peace of life. This book helps, above all, to see many of the things of daily life through the eyes of God.
2. The Life of Saint Anthony the Abbot, by St. Athanasius of Alexandria
It’s difficult to measure the impact this biography had in the 4th century. Thanks to this biography written by the holy bishop of Alexandria, thousands of people left behind all their possessions in order to embrace the hermit life in the desert. The high ideals of spiritual life, the disinterest in the banalities of the world, the fight against temptations, and, especially the radical love for Jesus are felt in each and every line of this book. A reading particularly recommended for those who constantly feel disturbed by temptation.
3. The Life of Saint Benedict of Nursia, by St. Gregory the Great
Few lives of saints have had so much visible impact as the life of Saint Benedict of Nursia. Thorough the monasteries, Benedictine spirituality has been carried across time and space to our present day. Who better than another great saint —Saint Gregory the Great, who was pope in 590 A.D.— to tell us about this life full of heroism and spiritual depth. Despite having been written in the 6th century, it continues to transmit with simplicity and profundity the desire of a soul to find God and give absolutely everything to Him.
4. The Screwtape Letters, by C.S. Lewis
C.S. Lewis published these “letters” in 1942, yet they continue to be a valuable help for spiritual combat. Sometimes we forget that the Devil exists and that he sows many of the great temptations we constantly face (although we also contribute a great deal by ourselves). With spiritual delicacy and in an entertaining manner —but no less profound— C.S. Lewis reveals many strategies by which we’re defeated by temptation. Nothing’s better than knowing the tactics of the enemy in order to defeat him. Thus, this book will definitely be a great help to our growth in Christian virtue.
5. Catechesis of Benedict XVI on Prayer
On May 14, 2011, Pope Benedict XVI began a series of catechesis on prayer. He continued throughout the following months, and altogether they amount to a great compendium. Each catechesis, relatively short, forms a unit, and talks about diverse topics about prayer life. Written with great simplicity and profundity, these catechesis reflect the spiritual depth and theological ability of Pope Benedict XVI, as they enlighten every person that wants to delve into an intense and committed prayer life.