Monday, October 31, 2011

All Saints: Spiritual Reading

"These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress;
they have washed their robes
and made them white in the Blood of the Lamb."


The saints are the ones who have survived the time of great distress.  Think about it, most of the saints have been through a lot worse than us – and they made it! 


John XXIII in his Journal of the Soul made it a practice to do some spiritual reading every day.  I was so inspired by this that during retreat one year at the seminary I made a resolution to do 15 minutes of spiritual reading every day.  I used to be amazed at how priests could have walls lined with books and now I’m one of those priests.  You’d be amazed at how much good reading can be done over the years 15 minutes at a time. 


I say this because it has been a tremendous blessing in my life to have spiritual reading.  Those 15 minutes can transform my day, focus me, challenge me, inspire me, bring me hope when I am discouraged, joy when I am sad, stillness when I am all over the place. 


As I read I underline, star, bullet point, ear mark – you know one of my books when you see them.  Just one line can change not only your day, but your week, your month, your life.  And over the years I have begun to compile the quotes… pages and pages and pages of lines that inspire me. 


15 minutes a day… what do you think?  How much time do you spend on the internet?  Watching TV?  Facebook?  Imagine what life would be like after immersing ourselves for 15 minutes in the truth. 


Reading the Lives of the Saints is encouraged by all of our great saints: St. Ignatius, St. Francis, St. Teresa of Avila, and many of the Mystics had their conversion by reading the writings of other’s that had walked that path before. 


Now I don’t suggest you start with John of the Cross, but you can start somewhere.  Grab a book that has excerpts from the saints, reflections on the saints, biographies of the saints.  Find one that you are interested in, one that speaks to you, one that has been through your “Time of great distress.”  And before you know it you’ll be reading their writings, their biographies, their journals… and then they’ll mention one of the other saints that helped them and you’ll have a whole other direction and treasure of wisdom. 


This All Saints day may we realize the great tradition we have in the Communion of the Saints and how they can still help us because they have “Survived the time of great distress.”  And so can we! 





Here are some recommendations to get you started:













And the Classic:


Butler's Lives of the Saints (4 Volume Set) by Alban Butler, Herbert J. Thurston and Donald Attwater