I recently had a friend message me to ask if I had any spiritual reflection books or practices that I use in my daily life. This question was actually very humbling, because in no way do I consider myself to be anyone to give any spiritual direction or advise. It is no secret that I am a practicing proud Catholic and I don’t shy away from sharing my faith online and in person. I believe that all Christians are always on a continuing journey to love, know and serve Christ. I’ve been on this journey since my baptism as a baby, and sometimes it’s difficult and sometimes it’s easy. But along the way, I have seeked reading material, prayers, movies, like-minded christian communities, and practices that have helped me live out my faith and to enrich my relationship with Christ. I thought that I would share same books I shared with her, with the rest of my readers. There have been so many books to choose from, so narrowing down to 5 books for the simplicity of this blog post, was not easy. Feel free to message me if you would like more recommendations. Below is my compiled list and a brief description of each book, which a link to purchase on Amazon. But if you can buy these from your local Catholic/Christian bookstore, that’s even better. 🙂
I don’t remember when I first bought this book, but I’ve had it with me for at least 12 years now. More impressive is that this book has been in print for 500 years and there is a reason that it is a favorite devotional among Catholics/Christians. I love this book because it strengthens my faith and fills me with conviction for my beliefs. It puts things into perspective, reminding us that this world is temporary & that our true home is in Heaven with our Father. This version pictured below is not an easy read, but I have linked you to the updated modern english version for those that prefer it.
Lent & Easter Reflections from St Francis & St Clare of Assisi
My husband and I got married on the feast day of St. Francis and so I’ve always felt that he was the patron saint for our marriage. I also had the opportunity to visit Assisi, Italy a couple years ago, so both St. Francis and St. Clare have always been close to my heart. Their example and prayer life has been one that I have always admired and helped me through my walk of faith. I love this daily lent devotional because it is simple and quick to read. It begins with a reading from St Francis or St Clare’s writings, then leads to into scripture that is relevant to the topic of that day, after that it leads you into a prayer and then ends with a lenten action. This is a great book for individuals or couples to do together. It’s been a practice that my husband and I started doing last year every lent season. If you like this book, there are also other series for different seasons, such as advent and christmas and also with different saints and faithful people.
I’ll be honest, I had never heard about this book until last year when a friend on instagram, Emily Brockhoff posted about it. She had a post where she mentioned how she loved it so much that she wanted to gift it to someone else. Her beautiful heart decided to give a copy to EVERYONE that wanted a copy, so that is how I landed this treasure of a book. And she was right, in her words, “… [This book is] so much more like a hug. This book was an acknoledgment that life is a fickle thing and yet I can live it well. Just a real treat for your soul.” I couldn’t agree more. My favorite part about this book is how simple the language is and how the author incorporates beautiful prayer breaks in between the text. This book is a breath of fresh air and food to your soul.
As a Catholic, one of the most important and essential practices throughout life and even moreso during lent, is participating in Mass. I admire everyone who seeks to do more reading and participating beyond Mass, but sometimes I think we (myself included) don’t allow ourselves to be filled with the richness that Mass has to offer. The Mass is divided into two parts, The Liturgy of the Word and The Liturgy of the Eucharist. Both equally important which leads me to this next devotional. Every Sacred Sunday is a mass journal that includes the readings for every sunday of the year for 2018. At the end of every mass reading, it includes a space to help you reflect and take notes. As a mom of a toddler, it’s been a challenge to actually sit down and truly listen and reflect during mass. This book allows me to do further reading before or after mass and actually sit and listen with the words at a later time. This book also includes a section with key catholic prayers and a calendar explaining the liturgical year. I love the beautiful and minimal design of this book and would recommend to anyone who wants to get more and give more out of mass.
Last, but definitely not least, I end this list with a book that as a mother, is close to my heart. I actually bought this book before I was a mother and back then as 27 year old it still resonated with me and filled me with so much spiritual abundance. I first heard of this book from my mom. This book, El Silencio de Maria, was originally written in spanish by Capuchin priest Ignacio Larranaga. My mom was fortunate enough to attend a retreat given by this beloved priest, and to this day, she always regrets that I didn’t go with her. Although I did not get to experience that retreat with her, I did get to attend the Prayer and Life Workshops (Talleres de Oración y Vida) that originate from el Padre Ignacio Larranaga’s practices. If you are interested in enriching your faith with a community and weekly workshops, I would REALLY recommend attending a Prayer & Life workshop. You can find more information about them here.
Back to The Silence of Mary. I decided to put this book on the list because it was one that truly had an impact on me when I read it. Mary has always been a blessed figure in my Catholic Faith. Growing up, I knew who she was and her role in the Holy Family and in Salvation. But what I really didn’t know or experience, was the depth of her fiat, her suffering and love. To reflect on the fact that you are newly engaged and then told that you would bear God’s son, is beyond my level of understanding. Mary is our most holy and faithful mother, who through her example, I have been able to better know, love and serve Jesus. This book brings so much to light that I had never even though of, and what I appreciated even more about this book, is that it is filled and backed up with scripture. The Silence of Mary is truly a gem and one that you don’t ever want to go without reading.
That concludes my list, friends! I truly hope that you find this post helpful in your spiritual journey. I will keep you all in my prayers and please keep me in yours.