Spiritual reading has long been a tool for people serious about spiritual growth and developing their relationship with God. In this noisy world where we are bombarded by instant news, perplexing world problems, and loud advertisements, it’s hard to make space for the quiet, persistent voice of the Spirit. It’s hard to believe that God is talking to us, and speaking words of guidance to us personally.
We can learn to tune in to God’s voice in times of quiet prayer. We can also open our minds to divine inspiration and guidance through good books on spiritual topics. Why allow our minds to be filled, cluttered, maybe even polluted by empty, shallow, glitzy, meaningless information? It’s like trying to grow healthy from a steady diet of junk food. We have to take care to FEED our souls with solid nourishment that will lead us deeper into the sacred space of God’s wisdom.
There are a number of authors that have fed me and others with goodness, inspiration and guidance. Sister Joyce Rupp has great, readable books on a number of topics, but her book entitled Prayer is a great primer on prayer. Margaret Silf has several good books including Inner Compass; At Sea With God; Wise Choices: a Spiritual Guide To Making Life’s Choices. These titles are filled with exercises, practical tips, and good examples about living a discerning life
Pierre Wolf has a classic book on the Ignatian process of discernment entitled Discernment: The Art of Choosing Well. Books by authors such as the Franciscan priest Richard Rohr, Father Ron Rolheiser, Henri Nouwen, or Sister Melanie Svoboda, address how to grow spiritually amidst the experiences of our daily lives. Sometimes reading a book about an admirable or inspiring person (Thomas Merton, Dorothy Day, Mother Teresa, or one of the saints) can give us good role models other than mainstream media.
But I must say that the greatest way to come to know and love God, and to put on the mind and heart of Jesus Christ is to quietly read and ponder the words and revelation of Scripture. Meditating on the stories or guidance God pours out in the Bible, particularly the New Testament—the Gospel stories and Paul’s letters—or the Psalms, Isaiah, Jeremiah from the Old Testament, is a way to hear God’s voice within our own heart. Praying with Scripture attunes our heart to God’s voice, deepens our desire for God’s friendship, and supports our listening to the One who knows us well!
Who are some spiritual writers that you turn to for inspiration or guidance?