New Books I Liked

What’s bringing you life these days? Carving out more time to read now that the children are in school and my husband on the road, has been life giving for me this month.

For so long, I thought I did not have time to read. And that was partially true. I discovered audiobooks are perfect for walking the dog and driving into town. I find these through my library and Audible. Real books are fabulous at night, and the Kindle App on my IPad helps when I travel.

Being able to find a good book is almost as exciting as meeting a new friend and equally worth the effort. Unlike my mother, I am not opposed to putting something down after a few chapters if the writing does not grab me. Not all books are intended for all readers. I take that as permission to let something go if it is not serving it’s intended purpose. So, I have to make sure I know why I am picking up a book in the first place.

With this in mind, I wanted to share what has been in my spiritual reading stack that I thought you might like.

tea and a book C.S. Lewis

Abide in the Heart of Christ- A 10-Day Personal Retreat with St. Ignatius of Loyola by Father Joe Laramie, S.J.

When you can’t find the time to go on a retreat, but know that you need a spiritual break from the day to day ins and outs of adulting, this new book might be just what you have been looking for. You need no previous experience with retreats or the Spiritual Exercises in order to be ready for this spa experience for your soul. Father Joe takes what can be an intimidating experience and invites you to come away and spend some time with Jesus. His writing style is accessible and not too deeply theological, which I appreciated. He includes questions to journal, some personal stories, and reminds you who you are in Christ. This is a book that you can do over the course of 10 days or 10 months depending upon your schedule.

Becoming an Ordinary Mystic: Spirituality for the Rest of Us by Father Albert Haase, OFM

This book is destined to become a classic. At its core, it is a reminder to find God in the small moments of our every day lives. Here is a sample of his wisdom: “The spiritual journey challenges us not to feel guilty about the past or anxious about the future; our task is to surrender the past to the mercy of God and to offer the future in trust to God. Our daily pilgrimage is to the first class cabin called the present moment. Here we experience the extraordinary in the ordinary, as God and angels call us in an unmet need or required duty. There is mysticism in this mundane moment for those who live with mindfulness.” Here is another tidbit I highlighted: “The thoughts that consume us on a daily basis are shaping our response to God and our spiritual life.” Lots to ponder.

Stronger than Death: How Annalena Tonelli Defied Terror and Tuberculosis in the Horn of Africa by Rachel Pieh Jones

This book will not be released until October 1, but you can preorder on Amazon if it looks like one you would be interested in reading. Annalena Tonelli was an Italian woman who, along with her friends, “demonstrated the transformational way in which living among the poor was assisting them simply by bearing one another’s burdens, offering dignity, building authentic relationships…They would cease to be ‘the poor’ and became individuals with names and unique stories and personalities.” Annalena left Italy and moved to a remote area in Africa to live among the people she served. She has been called the Mother Teresa of Africa. Her story is a fascinating look at a woman who served Muslims from the heart of Christ.

River of Fire: My Spiritual Journey by Sister Helen Prejean, CSJ

If you have ever been curious about why a woman would not only enter the convent, but stick around for many years following the tumultuous post Vatican II days, you will have your chance to find out. Sr. Prejean, well known for her work with death row inmates, provides a compelling personal history and insight into the impact that the sixties and seventies had on culture in the Catholic Church in the United States. Her book follows her pathway from sheltered Cajun girl raised in the segregated South to her awakening to the impact that racial injustice has on our society. She discusses personal details about her friendships, work, and her time as a novice and nun.