10 Books You Should Read for Your Summer Game Plan
Well-read Catholics are contagious Catholics. It’s no surprise that St. Josemaria Escriva claims, “Reading has made many saints.” Today, I will continue with some tips on how you can develop your summer game plan, outlining why spiritual reading matters and offering some reading suggestions.
Remember: How you spend your time this summer is important. Summer is often a time when people fall out of routine and give in to laziness. It’s easy to sleep in, fall away from good habits and not turn to God in the midst of your leisure. I’ve fallen into this dangerous pattern time and time again. It’s good to rest and get a little extra sleep, but you must have a plan and be intentional. If you drift, you may just end up drifting to a place you don’t want to go.
Your rest is a time meant for you to understand God’s purpose for you more, to make plans for the future and to encounter friends and family in “carefree timelessness,” as Matthew Kelly says. Rest should aid you in becoming saints, not set you back in your pursuit of holiness.
This is why spiritual reading is so important for you this summer. Your spiritual reading will transform your rest from idleness to purposefulness and will incorporate the deeper vision of God’s purpose for your life. Your spiritual reading will fill you with hope to be lights to all whom you meet.
So, what should you read? The titles below don’t make an
exhaustive list — so feel free to ask a priest, a religious sister, a FOCUS
missionary or a good friend whom you trust for spiritual advice to share other titles
of worthwhile reads. There are many great books out there, but here are ten suggestions
that are definitely worth your time.
1) The Bible
This is the most important book ever written. When I take at least five minutes
to read the Bible every day, I know I am encountering God’s own Word that has been
passed down through the generations. A great way to start is to read the
Gospels this summer, working through them slowly by putting yourself in the
scenes and asking Jesus to speak to your heart.
Fr. Jacques Philippe is able to put the basics of prayer, surrender and our
call to holiness in a simple but profound way for those of us in the modern
world to digest. I have read all seven of his books and I highly recommend them.
This book is filled with spiritual reflections from Fr. Walter Ciszek, who was
held captive in communist Russia. Fr. Ciszek’s words are perfect for building
your perseverance in hard situations and for those who need to trust more in
God’s plan for your life.
If you would like a jump start in your missionary zeal, this is an easy but
powerful read by Louis de Wohl. It will give you the kick you need as you learn
about the amazing life of St. Francis Xavier.
This is a spiritual retreat inspired the life of St. Thérèse the Little Flower.
It will challenge you to a deeper trust in God’s mercy and call you to be bolder
in sharing your faith with others.
The devil is real. This spiritual classic written by C.S. Lewis gives you great
insights on how the devil tries to tempt you to fall away from your true
purpose and your relationship with God.
George Weigel will take you on you an adventure through the Catholic world of
literature, art and church history. This is a great and easy read, geared particularly
towards young Catholics.
This is a great prayer series based on the daily Mass readings. It helps the
Gospel come alive with quotes from popes, saints and the Scriptures. It has
been the bedrock of my daily prayer for many years now.
Jason Evert has made the story of Pope St. John Paul II come alive in this
short biography about our late pope. Pope St. John Paul II has called all of you
into a New Evangelization. This book gives you the foundations of his teaching
This is the autobiography of a modern American bishop, Venerable Fulton J.
Sheen, who had his own TV show in the 50’s. His story is inspiring, and this
book is filled with his wisdom and humor.
This list barely scratches the
surface of the many great classic and modern spiritual works that are out
there. By making the commitment to start some spiritual reading this summer,
you will allow God to guide you on a spiritual pilgrimage that will help you to
encounter Him more deeply and to bring others to Him with greater zeal and
hope. This world is in need of people like you and me to be committed to Jesus
Christ and the Church — to know their faith inside and out and to have deep
lives in Christ who are beacons of hope for all to see. Your spiritual reading
will give you what you need to be saints in this world.