Thursday, November 21, 2013
And There Are Books
It's a time of year when minds of young men and old women lightly turn to thoughts of books.
Yes, I made that sentence up all by myself.
Perhaps I could put it this way. The air outside is chilling. Darkness falls early. There's frost on the punkin, snow in the forecast, a crackling fire beneath the mantel, and a cup of warm tea by my side.
And of course, a book.
This is also a time when we're thinking about Christmas gifts. Dolls and scooters and toy airplanes (I bought one of each this morning; shhhh, don't tell..). And what better gift than a book?
But there are books, and there are books. Some transport us to worlds of wonder, and we soar through their pages on words spun together like threads in fine tapestries. Others read more like a string of sentences akin to the first one in this post. Not likely to be on any bestseller lists, they.
Of course, bestseller lists are not the best places to find good reading material. I know such news is not a shock to anyone reading this, and there are certainly exceptions, but many highly popular offerings are not worth our time (at best) and can (at worst) be harmful to our lives of faith.
I think St. John Bosco gave us perfect guidance on the matter when he wrote "Never read books you aren't sure about... even supposing that these bad books are very well written from a literary point of view. Let me ask you this: would you drink something you knew was poisoned just because it was offered to you in a golden cup?"
After my recent post on spiritual reading material, I’ve been thinking of writings that have struck me in some way. Here are just a few, with links to more information about each.
The Fulfillment of All Desire by Ralph Martin. An inspiring look at growth in holiness, using the works of seven Doctors of the Church. One of my favorite books of all time.
Fire Within by Father Thomas Dubay SM. I love anything by Father Dubay, but this one is my favorite.
Francis de Sales, Jane de Chantal, Letters of Spiritual Direction helped me know (and love) both of these saints as human beings.
And then there are the following three titles, which had me burning the proverbial midnight oil. I found them (the first in particular) as riveting as novels - probably because the stories are true.
Unplanned by Abby Johnson.
Mother Angelica... by Raymond Arroyo.
A Right to be Merry by Mother Mary Francis PCC. I love Mother's humor! This was written in the (1950s?), but the life has changed little, and hey: a smile is still a smile.....
I want to feed my mind with things that will lead me toward God, never away from Him. One of the most comprehensive helps I've found, for when I'm considering various topics and even (a few) authors, is a list of links on the Women of Grace Blog. Even though it does not list specific titles, it does deal with subject matter we might run into when we're considering spiritual books. I once heard it said that "lies are more believable when they're built on a foundation of half truths." So I am grateful for the help that can be found by clicking here.
I write this as winds begin to stir outside. I have a hard time adjusting to this season of early darkness. My old clock keeps up a steady tick; it chimes on the hour, but never correctly (we decided to call this idiosyncrasy "charming"). I have chamomile tea, a soft afghan, and of course - a book.
Painting: St Cecilia (detail), John William Waterhouse
This post is linked to Catholic Bloggers Network Monthly Linkup