My director helped me through these and many other questions, but I am aware that many of you don't have access to a director at this time. If I had to do it all over again and I did not have a spiritual director, I would read the following books in the following order.
The order I have chosen is based on the idea of building depth of understanding, each predicated upon the foundation of the other. Said another way, if I had read these books in this order, it would have saved me a bit of time and confusion in my spiritual development. It is important to note that each of these books will benefit beginners, experienced begin-againers, and the experienced seeking to build or rebuild greater depth. Finally, these works (with the exception of the Gospel meditations section of “The Better Part”) are instructional works, not devotional. They are recommended here because they illumine the spiritual path clearly, concisely, and with sufficient depth and breadth for most readers.
- Spiritual Progress by Father Thomas D. Williams: This book will provide a broad and foundational overview regarding how to progress in the spiritual life.
- Prayer Primer by Father Thomas Dubay: This book will establish a solid foundation of understanding of all key forms of prayer along with the challenges and benefits of each.
- The Better Part by Father John Bartunek: This book will take you deeper into your knowledge of Christ through a clear guide to meditation method and daily readings on the Gospels. This is excellent preparation for contemplative prayer.
- The Fire Within by Father Thomas Dubay: This book will help you understand contemplation and will prepare you to experience this gift as God desires.