Seeking More: My Summer Reading

“You know those times in your life when you just can’t seem to get enough?  I’m having one of those times.  My prayer life isn’t enough.  I want more.  I feel like I need to go deeper.”  This was part of my conversation with Wise Friend last week.

“That’s good,” he reassured me.  “That’s a grace.  God put that desire in your heart.”

When I saw Wise Friend for my usual monthly spiritual check-up, I was feeling restless and unsettled.  Life was very busy last week and my calendar for July is jam-packed.  It’s going to be an impressive juggling act spending more time with my youngest kids who are on summer holidays and meeting professional obligations as well.

But that’s not why I’m feeling this way.  There’s a pull in my heart to seek more, pray more, spend more time in quiet.  That’s quite a challenge given the state of my daytimer but the desire is not something I can ignore.

“Can I have something else to read?”

“Sure.  What do you feel like reading?” came the reply as he surveyed his vast collection of spiritual reading.

“I don’t know.”

He handed me Mary, Mirror of the Church by Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, O.F.M.,  who was the preacher to the Papal household when Bl. John Paul II was the Pope.

To non-Catholic Christians this may seem like a strange choice because of the mistaken notion that Catholics worship Mary, the Mother of God.  We don’t.  We pray to Mother Mary as our intercessor, relying on her to bring us closer to Jesus; asking her to bring us Jesus just as she did when she visited her pregnant, much older cousin, Elizabeth.  The baby in Elizabeth’s womb, John the Baptist, leapt for joy when Mary came, and Elizabeth proclaimed, “blessed are you among women….why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me?” (Luke 1:43)  That’s why the Blessed Mother is so important to Catholics.

Wise Friend explained his choice this way:  Jesus is our life.  Mary is our model.

My assignment, if you will, is to read this book and contemplate how Mother Mary’s words, attitude and events relate to my life.  How do I imitate Mary so that the longing placed by unmerited grace in my heart by a loving Father brings me closer to Him?

I’m really excited.  I’ve started reading and making notes.  It helps that Wise Friend has his notes placed in the margins…..cheat sheets…….thank you.  There will be many Hail Marys and and spontaneous prayers sent Heaven-ward to help me understand everything, I’m sure.  Not to mention all the questions for Wise Friend. And that’s good.

So that’s my summer reading.  What’s yours?

Deo Gratias

This entry was posted in Blessed Mother, Catholic, Catholic woman, Christian, faith, prayer, spiritual direction, Virgin Mary, wellness. Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Seeking More: My Summer Reading

  1. godsbooklover says:

    “A Better Freedom: Finding Life as Slaves of Christ” by Michael Card. IVP Books 2009

    • This book got good reviews. Slavery as a metaphor for Christian discipleship. Enjoy!

      • godsbooklover says:

        Michael Card is one of my favorite writers…I always appreciate his thoughtful, fresh and well-researched take on Scripture. Have you read his study on John’s gospel, “The Parable of Joy”? Wonderful!

  2. lovehaunt says:

    I keep a stack of Mary Oliver poetry nearby. I don’t think she is Catholic, per say, but certainly a woman of deep faith whose words touch me in a very special way. Good luck on your summer journey!

  3. ... says:

    The Long Loneliness by Dorothy Day.

  4. only 5 kids and a business…but the pull in your heart is familiar. Your post is a little push to meet my Wise Friend. I’ve been putting him off for too long because I don’t think I’ve come up with anything intelligent to say or ask….just have to pray more!

    • Monica, I sometimes feel that way when it comes time for my regular spiritual check-up but the Holy Spirit always provides. Between visits, I write down questions and thoughts that I want to bring up with Wise Friend so I don’t forget them.

  5. That is how I feel too. I do not have a reading list, but the books next to my bed are “Self Abandonment to Divine Providence” and “The Way of Divine Love.”

  6. I am reading a number of books right now: Transformation in Christ by Dietrich von Heldebrand and Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist by Dr. Brandt Pitre. But don’t overlook some of the classics that were previously unavailable but have just recently been republished. My favorite which was loaned to me by my Spiritual Director of happy memory is Christ, the Life of the Soul and is now available at Ignatius Press ( Sounds like you have a good choice for now though.

    • That’s a lot of reading. I’m sure you’re enjoying and learning from all those books. I started reading Trojan Horse In The City Of God by Dietrich von Heldebrand but found it too demanding and there were too many gaps in my background knowledge so I’ll have to revisit it another time. Thanks for your recommendations.

  7. Well, it’s the middle of winter down here in Sydney… but I definitely want to check out the book you’re reading, Mary, Mirror of the Church. I have so much to learn about our Blessed Mother – but even more to learn how she fits into the picture of what God is doing in the world. I’ve added it to my Amazon wishlist!!

    • Hi Laura, I didn’t realize you write from Sydney. How did I miss that? I’m really enjoying Mary, Mirror of the Church. It’s an easy read and the first part of the book talks at length about grace since the Angel Gabriel addressed Mary as “Hail, full of grace” instead of using her given name. We added the “Hail Mary” part of the prayer.

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