I read an article just this week that said many young people today are not familiar with the great classics of literature because they are not reading. Their minds are not being stretched and fed with the treasures of lofty ideas and inspiring words and images. In school they are not assigned the study of great works of literature because they complain that “they are too long.” Theirs is a life of “instant” messaging and “instant” gratification, “instant” communication through cell phones and the internet. Does that description fit any one of us? It is a very painful situation.
What goes into our minds forms our minds, our attitudes, our character, our morals, our relationships within our families and with others. And what about our relationship with God, our prayer? (The news each day is also forming us but not necessarily for the better).
In my Vatican II Daily Missal published by the Daughters of St. Paul I read this morning a reflection about spiritual reading. Quoting Dominican Fathers Antonio Royo and Jordan Aumann, the writer said “the attentive and assiduous reading of spiritual books is an efficacious aid to the practice of prayer and the acquisition of knowledge of spiritual doctrine.” What that means is that in order to be able to focus our mind on God and on the things of God, we have to put information about God into our minds. That information leads to personal knowledge of Him and to a personal relationship with Him. “A good book will not only renew the desire to strive for greater perfection, but it will impart invaluable knowledge of the truth of the spiritual life.”
Unfortunately the local public library does not carry a lot of spiritual books. (They do have thousands of the great classics of literature!). So we have to look for a Catholic book store or Borders, or find your way to Amazon.com. (Sorry, but that means you have to go on the internet!) If your budget is tight they have wonderful used books, some for as low as $.26! Try works by Father Benedict Groeschel or Dr. Scott Hahn for starters. Read the lives of the Saints - they are wonderful adventure stories. Books by the late Cardinal Nguyen Van Thuan are great treasures! Also, check out the Daughters of St. Paul on-line catalogue: http://www.pauline.org/store/index.html Ask for a good spiritual book for Christmas!
Then, shut down the internet, flip the cover closed on your cell phone, grab a hot cup of coffee or tea and READ! The winter months are approaching – a wonderful time for a cozy corner and a good book. Give it a try and let me know how you are doing!