Thanks for stopping by! Here are a few reads that led me along my spiritual path. While I did end up converting to Catholicism in the end, the majority of these recommendations are not written by or for Catholics. Most of these books are just signposts on that road.
Please note that these recommendations contain affiliate links, which means that I receive a small percentage of sales when you decide to click the image and make a purchase. A little bit goes a long way and helps our family prioritize time for my writing.
For anyone with a stirring interest in the Abrahamic traditions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam), this book is a good place to begin. When I became interested in Christianity, I had a totally New Agey orientation, and this book was a great entry point. It is a quick and soulful read. I also enjoy Mirabai Starr’s translations of the Spanish mystics.
A History of God is another book that helped me understand the three big monotheistic religions. Again, for someone totally new to these traditions, its a good jumping off point. Everything else I read sort of took for granted that I understood the basics of Christianity- when in reality, I didn’t know much about any of the Abrahamic traditions, and I knew even less about the bible.
A Return to Love is another book that helped me make the leap towards Christianity. Seems a bit absurd, considering that this book – which is based on the teachings contained in A Course in Miracles- is considered highly blasphemous by most Christians. But again, I needed a fresh introduction to Christ, and this book was a helpful step in that direction.
Anam Cara is probably one of the most important books in our home. I love, love, love this book. I just adore the author and the way he writes about the soul. For anyone with Celtic leanings, don’t skip this one. Its spiritually soothing.
The Language of Letting Go is not a spiritual book, per se. Its a book written for people with codependency issues. But like all the books in the program, it affirms trust in a Higher Power. I don’t even consider myself a codependent, and yet codependency appears in my family tree, so those habits are part of my inheritance. This book has been a balm to my spirit in difficult times and its impossible for me not to recommend it. It offers one short reading for every day of the year, along with an affirmation.
When ever anyone wants to understand Christianity, they end up reading this book. Honestly, Mere Christianity was a bit lost on me the first time I tried to read it. I was like, Whats this old bro carrying on about?! I had to work my way up to it, and now that I get it, I love it. Lewis was clearly a brilliant man, with a sparkling imagination.
I’ll always love buddhist Thich Nhat Hanh. This book is tremendously helpful for taking care of your anger, as he puts it. I’m mostly Choleric (one of the Four Temperements) , so I occasionally need a little extra help chilling out when I get peeved.
Something Other than God is written by a former atheist who converted to Catholicism. She’s just plain funny, and while this book reads more like a lengthy, fleshed-out blog post, it was helpful for me to hear her story. (I bet the audiobook version is great.) All the other conversion stories that I was reading were written by former Protestants who already upheld Jesus as their savior, and I couldn’t relate to that whatsoever. The title of this book refers to the fact that whenever we make “something other than God” (usually ourselves) the center of our Universe, we set ourselves up for misery. C.S. Lewis makes this same point, which was the inspiration for the title.
I chose Saint Hildegard of Bingen as my confirmation saint. (Actually, it feels a bit more accurate to say that she came to me.) Mother Hilde was a medieval abbess, herbalist, composer, artist, seer. I loved reading her bold, Earthy (at times even repulsive!) visions. We have an icon of her hanging in our home. This book is an enjoyable treatment of Hilde’s visions. I also listen to Hildegard of Bingen’s station on Spotify all the time.
While I have a special devotion to my dear, strange Mother Hilde, I’m also really into saucy St. Teresa of Avila. I’m actually pretty smitten with all four female Doctors of the Church (St. Hildegard, St. Therese, St. Teresa of Avila, and St. Catherine of Siena). There’s a good reason so many people adore St. Therese of Lisieux: she was a small person, but a theological giant. Her sweet and simple explanations of faith have been a great help to me. Her ideas keep developing and adding color and texture to my faith.
I was pretty nervous to read anything written by a Pope. When I first began considering Catholicism, I still held the view that Popes were these opulent old trolls who sat on thrones and told women what to do in craggy voices. Certainly history has seen some terrible popes, but the books I’ve read by Popes John Paul II, Benedict XVI, and Francis have been super rewarding for me. Like, yuuuuge sigh of relief.
Did you know Black Elk eventually converted to Catholicism? I actually didn’t know this until fairly recently. I loved this book in my girlhood- its a lovely treatment of Native American spirituality, and it informed the paganism that I used to practice. I would say that same emphasis on care for the Earth still exists for me in my understanding of an incarnational Catholicism.