Wednesday, December 31, 2008

- Spiritual Direction Reading Plan

When I entered into spiritual direction one of my first assignments was to read “Spiritual Progress” by Father Thomas Williams. This was a great starting point for me and many who begin this important trek. My challenge was that my head was filled with a handful of ideas about the spiritual life that were not well organized. What were the distinctions between meditation and contemplation? Where should I start as I seek to deepen my prayer life? How can I deepen my relationship with Christ?

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.
  1. Spiritual Progress by Father Thomas D. Williams: This book will provide a broad and foundational overview regarding how to progress in the spiritual life.

  2. 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.
  3. 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.

  4. 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.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for this post. I only recently found this site, and have found it to be a very helpful resource. I look forward to checking out the recommended reading list - looks like top-notch stuff.


Dear Friends - If you wish to submit a question to Father John, please see the "How can submit a question" post for guidelines. Your comments and feedback are more than welcome!