Recommended Reading

Maybe I’m just weird, but I happen to like reading. So, in case I have any fellow book lovers on here, I’m posting a reading list here. These are just some books that are interesting or make for good reference materials. This list is organized into categories, so just skim through the titles and pick one that strikes your fancy! If you guys have any questions about one of the books, comment or email me. You can’t go wrong with any of them, though.

Reference

The Catechism of the Catholic Church

Life of Christ by Fulton J. Sheen

The Catholic Source Book by Rev. Peter Klein

Biblical Fundamentalism by Ronald D. Witherup

Christ Among Us by Anthony Wilhelm

The Catholicism Answer Book by Rev. John Trigilio, Jr. and Rev. Kenneth D. Brighenti

Reason and Religious Belief by Michael Peterson (there are three other authors, but you should be able to find it from this name)

Morality and Moral Controversies by John Arthur and Steven Scalet

Lost Scriptures: Books That Did Not Make it Into the New Testament by Bart D. Ehrman*

The Historical Atlas of Jerusalem by Dr. Ian Barnes and Josephine Bacon

The New Strong’s Expanded Exhausted Concordance of the Bible by James Strong**

HarperCollins Bible Dictionary by Mark Allan Powell

Meeting St. Paul Today: Understanding the Man, His Mission, and His Message by Fr. Daniel Harrington

The Faith We Profess by Msgr. Peter J. Vaghi

Why Doctrines? by Charles Hefling***

The Meaning of Tradition by Fr. Yves Congar

Reading the Old Testament: An Introduction by Lawrence Boadt

Josephus: The Complete Works translated by William Whiston

What Happened at Vatican II by John W. O’Malley

By What Authority? by Richard R. Gaillardetz

Triumph: The Power and the Glory of the Catholic Church by H.W. Crocker III

The Teachings of the Church Fathers compiled by Fr. John R. Willis

A Life With Karol: My Forty-Year Friendship with the Man Who Became Pope by Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz

Light of the World by Pope Benedict XVI (this book is the text of an interview between the Pope and Peter Seewald)

Catholic Q&A by Fr. John J. Dietzen

What is the Bible? by Henri Daniel-Rops

The Truth of Catholicism by George Weigel

 

Spiritual Reading

The Bible

Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration by Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI)

Jesus of Nazareth: Holy Week by Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI)

The End of the Present World by Fr. Charles Arminjon

Saint John Newmann by Fr. Richard Boever

The Rule of St. Benedict by St. Benedict

Purgatory by Fr. Faber

The Diary of St. Faustina by St. Faustina

What Jesus Saw from the Cross by Fr. A.G. Sertillanges

7 Secrets of the Eucharist by Vinny Flynn

Priestblock 25487: A Memoir of Dachau by Fr. Jean Bernard

Loving and Living the Mass by Fr. Thomas Kocik

The Mystery of Joseph by Fr. Marie-Dominique Philippe

Christ, The Life of the Soul by Bl. Columba Marmion

Union with God: Letters of Spiritual Direction by Bl. Columba Marmion (this book is a compilation of Bl. Columba Marmion’s letters)

Fire of Love by St. Catherine of Genoa

Catholicism: A Journey to the Heart of the Faith by Fr. Robert Barron

 

Apologetics

Why Do Catholics Do That? by Kevin Orlin Johnson

Signs of Life: 40 Catholic Customs and Their Biblical Roots by Scott Hahn

Reasons to Believe: How to Understand, Explain, and Defend the Catholic Faith by Scott Hahn

The Lamb’s Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth by Scott Hahn

Study Guide for the Lamb’s Supper by Scott Hahn

Hail, Holy Queen: The Mother of God in the Word of God by Scott Hahn

The One-Minute Apologist by Dave Armstrong

A Biblical Defense of Catholicism by Dave Armstrong

Surprised by Truth 2 by Patrick Madrid

150 Bible Verses Every Catholic Should Know by Patrick Madrid

*This book contains the text of books from the Christian Apocrypha, which are the books that did not make into the New Testament canon. It’s useful to know what’s in these books…but remember that they weren’t put in the canon for a reason. Interesting reading, nevertheless.

**This book is one of my top favorites. Pick any word in the Bible, look it up (in English, Hebrew/Aramaic, or Greek), and see where that word or phrase appears in Scripture.

***I’ll be perfectly honest…this is a reference book, but it’s so dry it makes the Sahara look like an oasis. Hefling has good points and a dull style. If you’re going to read this, I suggest a will of steel and lots of coffee. That’s just from personal experience. So…you’ve been warned.
  1. I’ve yet to read these books; haven’t gone to the Pauline bookstore in a while. I read the Diary of St. Faustina, and I actually wanted to pick her as my saint, but I chose St. Therese of the Little Flower instead. I admired her “little way” and her persistence.
    But what I’m really confused about, is that it’s pretty hard to imagine Jesus crucified on the cross. It’s difficult to picture anyway dying in such a painful and suffering way, but such a loving disposition. I also find it difficult to envision why anything that occurred 2000 yrs ago is relevant to today. Its hard to wrap your head around it.
    One of the things that I struggle with the most in life is my self esteem. I was bullied quite badly as a younger child, and always had a hard time with myself. Many people have been extremely kind to me, despite all the hardships I’ve gone through in life. But I still struggle to know how Jesus, God, and Mary can have any love or mercy on me. How do we know that in spite of everything, they are there always and loving us no matter what?

    • St. Faustina is wonderful, as is St. Therese. They are both great examples for us to follow and to imitate!

      I agree with you–it is very difficult to imagine Jesus’ suffering. When I reflect on Christ’s Passion, I am always struck by how little of it I am perceiving. What He endured for us is truly amazing. I used to wonder why Jesus’ sacrifice was relevant to my life, too. When I was about 10 years old, I used to wonder why we still talked about His death when it had occurred 2000 years ago. To me, it seemed utterly ridiculous! We have immortalized many individuals–Julius Caesar, Queen Elizabeth I, Paul Revere, and Jesus. The difference is, however, that Jesus Christ was God who became Man. And that is why His story is still relevant to our lives today. It is because Jesus was truly God and freely chose to take our sins upon His innocent shoulders and suffer for our sake that His sacrifice is still relevant today.

      You know, I think most people (especially most of our peers) struggle with self-esteem. We must all learn to realize that our lives have value no matter what mistakes we make. Remember that God does not judge as human beings judge. He created you and He knows you and loves you. If you doubt your worth, always look to the cross. Remember what Jesus suffered for you. God loves you more than you could ever imagine! If we could understand even a fraction of how much God loves us, I think we would be overwhelmed. Never doubt God’s love for you! Everyone struggles with this from time to time, but you must never fall into despair. Trust in our Lord’s love and mercy even in the darkest nights of the soul.

      God bless!

      • You are right, God’s mercy is way beyond our comprehension. But being a teen or not, it sometimes easy to look at the world and loose faith. In a way it is good that I was bullied and had to go through all the suffering. It helped me mature and understand things that I wouldn’t have understood otherwise. I am now able to help other kids going through the same thing.
        I think we should really try to imitate St. Faustina. Even when she felt that God had completely deserted her, she still had faith to the point of becoming sick.
        Also, what book do you recommend I read first? There’s a lot of books here and while I am a total nerd and I love to read, I am busy. :)
        This is going to be a weird question, but how do you read the Bible? It’s so big and I don’t know where to start.

        Thanks and God bless!

      • Oh man…it’s hard to pick just one! For starters, I would suggest either the Catholicism Answer Book or The One-Minute Apologist. These two books cover the basics of apologetics and the Catholic faith and I personally think they are great for laying a solid foundation for further study.

        As to your question about reading the Bible, different people will tell you different things. Some suggest just flipping open to a random passage, some say to seek out your interests…personally, I simply start with Genesis and move forward. For me, reading that way enriches my understanding. Some people will tell you to simply jump to the New Testament–but how can you understand Jesus’ actions if you do not first understand the history of Israel? Anyway, that’s my take on it.

  2. Also, have you considered putting up the YouCat? It’s the Catechism of the Catholic Church explained for young people.

  3. I have time, and I’m enjoying myself going through this website, so I’m probably going to leave a lot of comments today. I’ve read a number of these books and was pleased to see the list was so long! I love finding new books to read, especially if they help me grow in my faith. So thank you for this list!

    • I have time, and I love reading new comments! Glad you’re enjoying the site. All of those books are highly recommended. Great reading!

      By the way…if you have any ideas for questions that could be addressed in posts, drop another comment! I need some new material.

      • I do have an idea. It’s something I was recently addressed about. My answer was okay, but I’d really like to hear what you have to say about it. They asked, and I quote, “What is the big deal with the Pope being called ‘Father’ and the ‘Leader of the Church?’ God is our Father and shouldn’t Jesus be called the leader?”
        I compared the Pope and all priest and bishops as spiritual fathers, and the Pope is the Holy Father of Rome, meaning, the authority on earth, but they didn’t really seem to understand what I meant. Any help is welcome!

      • Interesting question! I’ll do a post in response and have it uploaded in a little bit.

  4. Hey, I have to recommend the book I just finished reading!
    WARNING: I am a St. Francis Xavier fanatic (though I’m more so for Christ!!!) so…that says a lot as to why I loved this book. It just so happened to be about him.
    It’s called “Set All Afire” and I started and finished it in one day, with school, homework, and mealtimes all in the way. It’s written by Louis de Wohl. Yes, it is considered fictional, but I’m fairly certain most of the situations and the people were real, just the thoughts and dialogue etc. obviously weren’t recorded in the 1500s. I 100% recommend it!

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