Here are a few of our favorites. You can order them through your local Catholic Book Store or Catholic book websites such as the CatholicCompany.com and others.
1) Marian Thoughts by Pope Benedict XVI
Discover wonderful reflections on Mary, Mother of God. Going to Mary is like a school of Christianity, learning from her the alphabet of faith and hope. (catholicbookpublishing.com)
2) The Story of a Soul Therese of Lisieux – a spiritual classic from a young Catholic saint and Doctor of the Church. Therese of Lisieux lived only 24 years, however, her deep insight of the “simple way to God” has transformed many lives and brought thousands closer to Christ.
3 Imitation of Christ by Thomas Kempis.
For five hundred years, this gentle book, filled with the spirit of the love of God, has brought understanding and comfort to millions of readers in over fifty languages, and provided them with a source of heart-felt personal prayer. These meditations on the life and teachings of Jesus, written in times even more troubled and dangerous than our own, have become second only to the Bible as a guide and inspiration.
Book One — Thoughts Helpful in the Life of the SoulBook Two — The Interior LifeBook Three — Internal ConsolationBook Four — An Invitation to Holy Communion
Book One. Thoughts Helpful in the Life of the Soul (A few titles are listed below)
1. Imitating Christ and Despising All Vanities on Earth2. Having A Humble Opinion of Self3. The Doctrine of Truth4. Prudence in Action5. Reading the Holy Scripture
3) Mother Teresa – A Simple Path – Mother Teresa shares the thoughts and experiences that have led her to do her extraordinary charitable work. A Simple Path gives voice to the remarkable spirit who has dedicated her life to the poorest among us. (Ballantine Publishing)
4) Living the Catholic Faith by Archbishop Charles Chaput, O.F.M.Cap.
Less than 160 pages, this fantastic book is for everyone who wants to learn about being a Christian, being a Catholic! Some chapter titles are: “Becoming a Christian”, “Growing in Christ” and “Not a Burden, but a Joy”. (Servant Publications)
4th Sunday of Advent Gospel: Luke 1:39-45
“Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulflilled.”
Even though Mary did not understand the message of the angel, she believed and immediately responded in faith. The Lord has made us many promises that will change our lives if we belive and respond in faith. Obedience to the Word of God is essential for a life of faith, hope and charity.
by Sarah Stravitsch
Recently I gave birth to a precious little girl. During the last few weeks of my pregnancy, I realized that I wasn’t prepared for my baby. I knew she would be coming soon, but I didn’t know when. It was my responsibility to get ready for her. So my husband and I packed our bags for the hospital, scrubbed the house from top to bottom, and cleaned out unnecessary clutter. We washed her clothes, prepared her basinet, and organized her new room.
During Advent, the Church prepares for Christ coming as a baby and also for His second and final coming. I didn’t know when my baby would come, but I knew she was coming. In the same way, we don’t know when Christ is coming again but Scripture tells us He will be back. Therefore it is our responsibility to get ready for Him. We need to clean house and get rid of the unnecessary clutter in our spiritual lives. We need to wash our souls by praying and receiving the Sacraments. We need to prepare our hearts for the moment the special Guest arrives. Just like Lent, our attitude during Advent should be one of constant conversion.
It is easy to think, “I will start tomorrow.” However, scripture also tells us not to delay. How sad it would be if Jesus came today and we are not prepared to meet Him. He is coming, so let us pray that we are ready to meet him. Let us heed the words of the Gospel for the second Sunday of Advent, “Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight his paths…and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.” (Luke 3:4-6)
by Sarah Stravitsch
During this Advent season we wait for the coming of Jesus with the whole Church and in the company of Mary. I wonder what Mary was thinking about during her difficult journey to Bethlehem. Surely, she knew the time for her Son to be born was approaching. Did she worry she would get to Bethlehem in time? Did she beg God to wait just a little longer until they were in a place fitting for her to deliver His Son? Was it difficult to leave the home she had already prepared for Him? Whatever went through her mind, I don’t doubt that she trusted completely in God.
Recently, I was awaiting the birth of my own child. Just like Mary, I knew the time for my delivery was near. My daughter’s due date was very close to the Catholic Women’s Conference. As coordinator of the conference, I was a little worried when my doctor said she didn’t think I would be there. I begged God to wait just a little longer so that I could be at the conference. Then I asked Mary to help me trust in God’s will; whatever it may be.
I did attend the conference and even had some extra time to rest and to be with my son before my daughter arrived. Soon though, I found myself a little impatient feeling like I had waited so long already; how much longer must I wait? How patient God is with me! So often we want to plan and have God arrange things just as we want them, when in actuality God makes the plan and we should arrange our lives to be open to it. I had no control when my daughter was going to be born—I simply had to wait for His will and trust in Him.
My daughter’s name is Sophia, which we chose because it means wisdom. I received some wisdom during the last few weeks of my pregnancy. Even though God answered my prayer and I attended the conference, He reminded me that His ways are not our ways. His wisdom looks like foolishness to the world. Doesn’t it seem foolish that He would permit His only Son to be born homeless and lying in an animal manger? However in God’s holy wisdom, it was His will that Jesus emptied Himself completely and abandoned Himself to Mary and Joseph. How much more should we empty ourselves before God and abandon our total selves to Him.
Perhaps this is what Mary was pondering on the road to Bethlehem. May she pray for us, as we journey through this Advent season. May we learn to abandon our entire selves to her Child and trust in Him completely.
This evening I heard Father Ishmael speak about the love of the Mary, mother of Jesus has for each one of us. He invited us to “sit on Mary’s lap and be her child; tell her everything, tell her your needs, your desires and give her your wounds, your hurts.” Father continued to invite us to enter this Season of Advent with Mary, to consider our ‘spiritual home’ with Mary; to spend time with her. It was consoling to hear this message; as elementary as it may sound for some; for me, it reminded me that Mary is my Heavenly mother who also knows me and all the ‘junk or wounds’ I carry. And she loves me! This Season of Advent will be an opportunity to remind myself each day of her presence, her love for me and for those I love as I meditate on her journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem with Joseph. As I think about how she and Joseph, simple and humble, asked for a place for her Son to be born. And Mary was full of hope and peace – she was carrying the Savior of the world in her womb and trusted in her chaste spouse, Joseph.
Mary, Mother of Jesus, pray for us! Mary of Nazareth, pray for us! Mary, Mother of of us all, pray for us!