In the last blog post I mentioned a good formula for engaging in Advent and for deepening one’s spiritual life in general: read, pray, reflect, and act. A good first step in celebrating the season of Advent is to read.

Reading is an awesome gift, one which I am in awe of especially as I watch my baby nephew Simon voraciously listen to and look at books. He “reads” them in his own way, and it’s only a matter of time before he begins to see letters and words and meaning in the squiggly lines.

The Beating of Great WingsSo it’s no wonder that reading is a good first step for Advent, for the new church year. Reading is an invitation to new life, to open up, to look outward, to take in new sights and ideas and perspectives. It’s like opening the window on an autumn day and letting the fresh, brisk air come in and wake us up, sharpen our senses! It can connect us with other people and ideas and help us to become more of who we are.

I’m recommitting myself to reading each day this Advent (and beyond I hope!). On my list are the following books:

The Beating of Great Wings: A Worldly Spirituality for Active, Apostolic Communities by Bernard J. Lee, S.M.

  • This book was recently mentioned at a presentation given at our IHM Motherhouse on tapping into what Lee calls the “deep story”, the charism or gift that religious communities receive from their founders. He presents an integrated spirituality of Scripture and Eucharist, community, vows, mission, and presence of the Spirit.

Reading Jesus: A Writer’s Encounter with the Gospels by Mary Gordon

  • I received a review copy of this, read the first few pages and had to put it down. Not because it was bad but because it was incredibly good — it cut to the heart both because of the superb writing and because of Mary Gordon’s honest, insightful thoughts and questions about the Gospel.

The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life by James Martin, SJ

  • I started reading this a few weeks ago, taking a chapter each week as a kind of “theme” to my week … desire, finding God, simplicity of life. Father Jim will be here at A Nun’s Life this Thursday for our live webcast In Good Faith. You are most welcome to join us!

Tracking and the Art of Seeing: How to Read Animal Tracks and Sign by Paul Rezendes

  • I’ve had this book ever since I went on retreat in the Rocky Mountains. I found so many animal tracks on the hiking trails and wanted to know who had been in the woods sometimes just seconds before me. “Seeing” through the forest trees, seeing animals and the wildness for who and what they are was and continues to be a great mediation for me on the beauty and interconnectedness of God’s good creation. As we prepare for snow here in the midwest United States, I’m preparing to “see”.

What’s on your reading list this Advent? If you don’t have anything on the horizon, then what kind of book might you be looking for?