As a kid, you likely brought home a summer reading list at the end of the school year. But summer reading doesn’t have to end at graduation! Even as an adult, summer is a great opportunity to spend some time buried in a good book. And while there are many good genres to choose from, doing some spiritual summer reading will help you grow in mind and soul.
Father James Kubicki, a regular Relevant Radio® contributor, stopped by The Inner Life® this week to offer some spiritual summer reading recommendations. Some listeners called in with their suggestions too!
Explaining how spiritual reading is not only informative but formative, Father Kubicki said, “Formative reading is where our minds and hearts are engaged together. So we’re not just thinking about what we’re reading but we’re also being inspired. We read it prayerfully and reflectively so that not only are we being informed by something, but even deeper, we’re allowing what we’re reading to form our attitudes, our minds, our way of looking at things, and our relationship with God.”
Of course, the first recommendation for spiritual summer reading is the Bible. Diving into Scripture this summer is sure to be a formative experience! Father Kubicki said, “The greatest book for spiritual reading. And it has a pride of place for Lectio Divina, or sacred reading.”
If you’re looking for other spiritual summer reading options, check out these recommendations:
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas. The Inner Life host Josh Raymond said, “If you only read one classic novel in your life it should be this one. This story deals with the jealousy, treachery, and fear of three different men that you’re introduced to in the opening chapters. There’s definitely some revenge involved, but there’s also mercy, forgiveness, and a treasure involved in this one as well.”
The Space Trilogy by C.S. Lewis. Fr. James Kubicki said of this series, “I found myself so moved by what I read. There are parts of the book I remember having tears, I was so moved.”
Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. Josh Raymond explained, “It’s this great introduction to the basics of Christianity. For me, it’s probably one of the most accessible and readable books on the faith. I also find that many Catholics and Protestants alike quote C.S. Lewis from Mere Christianity. He bridges many of those divisions we may have as Christians on different theological or dogmatic points. C.S. Lewis seems to really bring everyone together with some of the fundamentals of what we believe.”
A Map of Life by Frank Sheed. Fr. Kubicki said, “It’s a great explanation of who God is, who we are, and how God sent His Son to save the world. It’s a short, little explanation of the Christian faith.”
Theology and Sanity by Frank Sheed. Another Sheed recommendation from Fr. Kubicki, who said, “It’s informative as well as formative. It’s this very thorough overview of Catholic theology. Not only what we believe, but he gives the basis for why we believe it. He gives extremely logical explanations, and I found myself really kind of taking my time with that one.”
He Leadeth Me by Fr. Walter Ciszek. Fr. Kubicki said of this spiritual odyssey, “It’s not only a wonderful, gripping account of how he survived being in Lubyanca, the prison in Moscow, and being exiled to Siberia. It’s his reflections on it. Many people have called Fr. Walter Ciszek the ‘saint of providence’. Because what he learned as he went through this terrible experience is that God’s will is not something ‘out there’ but we find it in the daily events of our lives.”
The Story of a Soul by St. Therese of Lisieux. Josh Raymond said of this spiritual classic, “It’s such a beautiful read. Her love for Jesus and her desire to do everything out of love for Him is just infectious in this book. If you have not read this book and you want to be inspired to grow in your love for Christ, The Story of a Soul is just a top-notch read.”
The Family That Overtook Christ by Father M. Raymond. Sister Elizabeth from Los Angeles recommended this book, and said, “It’s the story of St. Bernard and his family. This book meant so much to me because it helped me see how if I let God work in my life great things can happen. It’s a wonderful book.”
A Year of Daily Offerings by Father James Kubicki, S.J. If you enjoy Fr. Kubicki’s daily reflections on Relevant Radio then you’ll love this book. It’s not only great for summer spiritual reading, but for reading all year long! Fr. Kubicki noted, “Since 2007 I’ve been doing daily reflections on Relevant Radio, and I had a wealth of material so I thought let’s put that into a book form and now that’s available as well.”
The Imitation of Christ by Thomas a Kempis. Joe in Arizona recommended this read, saying, “I’m reading it now and it’s giving me some strategy and tactics for getting better at life.”
Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales. Josh Raymond said, “This book really helped me in the way that I view my interior life. There is one section in particular where he goes through different aspects regarding sin, and purging what he calls this fond, lingering look back at sin that we have. This book really made an impression on me.”