John Nicholas Grou: Spiritual Maxims
The Characteristics of True Devotion explores the nature of spiritual devotion, Spiritual Maxims explores the pathways to such devotion.
Nicholas Grou: Characteristics of True Devotion
A wonderful Jesuit director. I am focusing on his works in the first part of 2013. Just finished this one and am beginning Spiritual Maxims.
Philip Sheldrake: Spirituality: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)
Sheldrake is one of my favorite writers on spirituality. He is an outstanding thinker (history, theology, spirituality) who provides rich intellectual substance about spirituality as well as a devotional flavor of love and service. This is as nice (and short) of an introduction to spirituality as you will find.
Richard Platt: As One Devil to Another: A Fiendish Correspondence in the Tradition of C. S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters
A modern retelling of the age old struggle of temptation. This is in the genre of The Screwtape Letters. No book will equal the original genius of C.S. Lewis, but Richard Platt gives a worthy read for those who want to ponder the nature of spiritual warfare. See my review on December 10, 2012.
St. Athanasius: St. Athanasius: Life of St. Anthony
Just re-read this little gem on the life of Anthony, one of the first and great desert dwellers. Of course, much of this is an apocryphal account to show the greatness of Anthony. But the aim is to promote spiritual discipline, a quest for holiness, the search for intimacy with God and to strengthen the ascetic way of life by illustrating all this in the life of Anthony.
Henry Scougal: Life of God in the Soul of Man
A short devotional book that explains true Christian spirituality as the believer's participation in the nature of God. Practical guidance on how to experience this as well as devotional and biblical reflections about its meaning.
St. Bernard of Clairvaux: On Loving God
Cistercian Abbot and Doctor writes his little classic on his favorite subject - the love of God for us and the love we must have for God. Short, warm, deep.
Francis De Sales: Introduction to the Devout Life
While this is not the exact version I just finished, it is representative of one of the great spiritual classics. De Sales was influenced and helped by the Jesuits, and he in turn shaped their own approach to spiritual formation and direction. A must read spiritual classic.
Jerry Sittser: A Grace Revealed: How God Redeems the Story of Your Life
This may be one of the Books of the Year. I have not yet started it... I am eagerly awaiting its pages. As I peruse through it, it is hard not to go and find my reading chair and dive in. It will be rich in spiritual formation.
James C. Wilhoit: Discovering Lectio Divina: Bringing Scripture into Ordinary Life
Brand new and written by two outstanding evangelicals in the field of spirituality. It is wonderful to see the superlative work being done in contemplative spirituality by evangelicals. They are making a real contribution to spirituality and helping to provide needed perspective to some frequent distortions and imbalances.
Bernard McGinn: The Doctors of the Church: Thirty-Three Men and Women Who Shaped Christianity (Herder & Herder Books)
A Who's Who List of great thinkers who influenced the church. I am a little surprised at the choice not to include Ignatius of Loyola, who even though he was not as much a theologian as many in this book, he was just as important a thinker and innovative a spiritual leader as were many others chosen. Still... a welcome introduction to leading figures in our history.
Paul David Tripp: Dangerous Calling: Confronting the Unique Challenges of Pastoral Ministry
A strong word about the dangers of being in the pastoral ministry. For anyone who is in the work of spiritual direction, there is overlap for what you need to know about your own calling. And for spiritual directors who give direction to pastors, this has substance for you to ingest as you help the pastoral helpers.
Jim Manney: Charged with Grandeur: The Book of Ignatian Inspiration
This is a very nice little devotional book that collects short sayings (half a page to a page, in a small book size) of Jesuit authors. Really worth getting.
Father Kevin O'Brien SJ: The Ignatian Adventure: Experiencing the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius in Daily Life
Brand new book on doing the Ignatian Exercises. I have only skimmed through it... but on first impressions, this may now be my favorite for those who want to do the actual Ignatian Exercises and have a real shot at doing it on your own.
M.Basil Pennington: Bernard of Clairvaux: Lover Teaching the Way of Love
I have only read a little of the considerable writings by Bernard. I decided that I wanted to read several of his works this year. So I picked up this little anthology of selected writings. Very nice. Plus, the introduction by Basil Pennington is very good.
Brother Lawrence of the Resurrection: The Practice of the Presence of God
Just re-read this little classic. See the post on March 12 for some reflections.
Jean Leclercq: Memoirs: From Grace to Grace
Leclercq is one of the great authors of the mystical tradition of monastic spirituality. This was his memoirs. Not what I had expected. I was hoping for more of an intimate look into his spiritual life. It wasn't here.
Roger Helland: Missional Spirituality: Embodying God's Love from the Inside Out
One of the reasons why I am so attracted to Jesuit spirituality is because, it is, at heart - a missional spirituality. There are a number of people who engage with Ignatius and his exercises, but do so as a mainly privatistic spiritual experience. True Ignatian spirituality is intensely missional. Here is a wonderful volume on this Ignatian Way (and one would say Pauline Way and also "Jesus Way) by a Mennonite and a Baptist. I have just started it.
Mark E. Thibodeaux SJ: God's Voice Within: The Ignatian Way to Discover God's Will
The work of spiritual discernment is central to Ignatian spirituality and in one sense, the Spiritual Exercises are a long reflection that enables one to discern the Presence, Work and Word of Jesus that is coming to one, and then on how to respond. The Ignatian language of consolation and desolation is core to the work of discernment. This is a very substantial discussion of Ignatian discernment.
Rodney Reeves: Spirituality According to Paul: Imitating the Apostle of Christ
The theme of the "imitation of Christ" is a core idea in my theology, spirituality, missional engagements and leadership. This book is "theological spirituality" and "spiritual theology." There are 12 chapters organized around the three themes of (1) crucified with Christ, (2) buried with Christ and (3) raised with Christ. This is not a Jesuit book at all, but rather an evangelical providing depth biblical reflection on the spirituality of Paul.
Carl McColman: The Big Book of Christian Mysticism: The Essential Guide to Contemplative Spirituality
A friend who recently met Carl McColman, recommended this to me. I have not yet read it, but it looks rich and deep, biblical and accessible.
Charles J. Healey: The Ignatian Way: Key Aspects of Jesuit Spirituality
This is now my favorite "short" introduction to Ignatius and the Jesuits. A 140 page introduction that gives the essence of Ignatius, the Jesuits, the Spiritual Exercises, prayer, discernment, the Constitutions (and Jesuit leadership) as well as short biographical notes on important Jesuits. I love it.
Susan Howatch: Glamorous Powers
Volume 2 in the Starbridge series and this one about a skilled spiritual director who is dealing with his own brokeness.
Susan Howatch: Glittering Images
A novel of spiritual formation, pride, power, sexuality... and how deceptive the heart is. First in the Starbridge series. I found myself reflecting deeply.
Brennan Manning: All Is Grace: A Ragamuffin Memoir
Brand new by one of my very favorite authors whose early work helped me get in touch with Abba. I am taking this with me on an upcoming trip.
Frederica Mathewes-Green: The Jesus Prayer: The Ancient Desert Prayer that Tunes the Heart to God
This is one of my supplemental pathways... I use this prayer from time to time and always find it helps me center and draw near to Christ. I am looking forward to this little explanation.
Friedrich Von Hugel: Letters to a Niece
I am a little embarrassed to admit that I have never read this classic work on spiritual direction. I recently read another book that had so many good thoughts from it, that I determined - now is the time.
Harvey D. Egan: Karl Rahner: Mystic of Everyday Life (The Crossroad Spiritual Legacy Series)
This is a very substantial work about Karl Rahner (see booknote below this one). I really like it. Not easy reading by any means, but for those who want a more substantial engagement with wise theology, this is worth getting.