It's not a book club.
Reading spiritual classics is like conversing with great saints and trailblazers of faith. Years or centuries later, we can encounter them by jumping into their world and struggles, and scooping up their wisdom from the pages left for us. This is one of the greatest treasures within the inheritance of our Christian civilization. Reading books with open hearts and minds can be a very powerful source of encountering God, understanding His plans, raising above our daily daunting tasks, and fixing our gaze on the things above. The encounter we experience through the written word might produce what Psalm 42 describes as a collision of the depths:
Each of one us is like a universe on whose firmament God paints strokes of His thoughts. His thoughts, crossing with our existence, want to awaken us to rise toward restoring reason's rightful place, rediscovering imagination as a tool for reaching beyond the observable sensual world and rising to our destiny in God. Plunging into the thoughts of the holy disciples will take you to the place of hungering for God more than for anything else.
Texting, emails, textbooks, news on the internet, occasional school literature. Random and scattered Bible reading, on a good week. Seasonal popular books get attention every now and then. But what happened to the intentional reading of our Christian spiritual masters? A good book must captivate the mind, elevate the thoughts, stir the heart and lead to wonder. Spiritual reading is, after prayer, reading the Scriptures and meditation, the next part of a daily or weekly routine that will keep your mind sane and will give you very practical advice on HOW TO LIVE.
"This is the truth" said Edith Stein, after reading the autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila. Her heart and mind had finally agreed and found peace in the midst of her inner turmoil. Ignatius of Loyola, stricken by sickness, asked for novels. The only book available was "De Vita Christi". The more he read, the more he started to turn toward Christ.
St. Therese of Lisieux was so taken by reading one book that she decided to enter Carmel: "Reading this book was one of the greatest graces of my life. The impression I received from it is too intimate and too sweet for me to express. All the great truths of religion, the mysteries of eternity, plunged into my soul a happiness not of this earth."
This is not a typical book club but spiritual reading, i.e it concentrates on ideas concerning God's communication with men, their stories, experiences and insights. It focuses on responding to God's call, uncovering human staleness and indifference and seeing beyond the visible. In short, it is reading for understanding on how to approach God, how to receive His enormous love and graces, how to understand one's spiritual journey, how to identify God's action in one's life and how to respond or how to prepare for an encounter with God.
New seeds of contemplation, Thomas Merton
STUDY ON CONTEMPLATION
confessions, St. Augustine
STUDY ON THE HUMAN HEART
Screwtape letters, C.S. Lewis
STUDY ON TEMPTATIONS, PASSIONS, VIRTUE AND SPIRITUAL WARFARE