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9 Books Every Catholic Should Have on Their Bookshelf
Plus the first new podcast episode is live!
We all like lists, don’t we? Especially when that list helps narrow down an overwhelming number of choices or helps us discover something previously unknown. The following list of 9 Books Every Catholic Should Have on Their Bookshelf will hopefully assist in doing both and includes recommendations across categories, from theology to philosophy, spirituality to liturgical living. Clearly not an extensive list of all the books I think are worth reading, but maybe you’ll find one that you haven’t read yet and want to dive in.
For homeschoolers or those wishing to extend their children’s religious education, many of these books could also be read starting in late middle/early high school (I love the idea of a family book study during Advent and Lent!)
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Okay, here we go:
The Light of Christ by Fr. Thomas Joseph White. A must read to get a firm foundational understanding of Catholicism. The Light of Christ presents traditional theology alongside contemporary questions and all in an accessible way. You don’t need a background or formal education in theology to get a lot from this book.
The Best Argument for God by Pat Flynn - My husband’s book which arrives on October 17th. Not just adding this to the list because Pat’s my husband lol but because this is a book that distills years’ worth of philosophical research and makes it accessible even to those who don’t feel naturally inclined to do philosophy well (*ahem, me). But I read this book three times and understood it and have a better handle now on “why God” than ever before. You pre-order it now on Amazon or directly through the publisher at Sophia Institute Press
Ladder of Divine Ascent by St. John Climacus- This little book contains short bites of wisdom that are best ingested slowly. Read 1 or even half of one at a time and sit with it, pray with it, live it. While the advice was written for fellow religious, those of us living in the community of family life will greatly benefit from reading it. Expect to be convicted, but don’t beat yourself up. Take this realization and proceed with joy in Christ.
Confessions by St. Augustine “This could have been written today” is the most common sentiment I’ve heard whenever Confessions is discussed, showcasing the timelessness of sin and our proclivity towards it but also our desire to come to know and love and serve Our Creator. A great book group read and is probably the most accessible of any Doctor of the Church’s writings.
Why Must I Suffer? by Fr. Remler - This book is short and simply written…and utterly profound. For anyone who has ever asked “Why?” when it comes to bad things happening (haven’t we all?), this is a must read.
The Bible Is a Catholic Book by Jimmy Akin, Presenting a case against Sola Scriptura, why the Bible includes 73 books, and instilling a deep love of Scripture, all while being clear and concise, Jimmy Akin’s book is the book to read.
Pope Peter by Joe Heschmeyer As with the previous book, Pope Peter addresses many objections that non-Catholics often present to counter a central part of Catholicism, this time in regards to the Seat of Peter. Even if you don’t deal with anti-papal sentiments, this book is a easy point-by-point read that will help you better understand the papacy and why it is part of our Faith.
Pray, Hope, and Don’t Worry: True Stories of Padre Pio Book 1 by Diane Allen. Detailing the life and incredible witness of one of the Church’s greatest spiritual heavyweights, the stories of Padre Pio are a fantastic read.
The Catholic All Year Compendium by Kendra Tierney. Living life in line with the liturgical calendar is for everyone. Catholic All Year includes tons of ideas for celebrating with young children but there are many ideas, including special meals and church activities, that work for the Faithful, regardless of age or family size. Don’t be discouraged looking at all the celebrations, wondering how you’ll ever do it all…you don’t have to! More doesn’t mean better. Choose one (simple) feast day a month to start. If you never add more than that, that’s fine. It’s more about the mindset of living liturgically, but as far as organizing the various feast days and giving loads of ideas on how to celebrate each, Catholic All Year can’t be beat.
And obvious “bonus” picks:
The Bible - I’ve been using my Little Rock Study Bible since 2018. It is well worn and well-loved.
I’d love to know: Which of these books do you have? What is your absolute must-read from your own shelves? Drop a comment!
And heads up! If you don’t already subscribe to The Catholic Mama podcast, please do! New episodes are coming weekly. This week’s episode “Pray, Hope, and Don’t Worry: Combatting Discord in a Messed Up World” is live here or anywhere you listen to podcasts:
And please forgive the awful audio quality. It’s my husband’s fault :-P
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