Saint Meinrad Archabbey

A catholic monastery devoted to the teachings of St. Benedict

Benedictine Spirituality Books

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To further your reading on Benedictine spirituality, here are some suggestions. Click on each book to read a brief overview about the book.

Anonymous. The Way of A Pilgrim and The Pilgrim Continues His Way. Image Books, 1985.

Aquilina, Michael and Christopher Bailey. Praying the Psalms with early Christians. Frederick, MD. The Word Among Us Press, 2011.

Benedict XVI, Pope. The Legacy of John Paul II. Fort Collins, CO: Ignatius Press, 2011.

Benson, Robert. A Good Neighbor: Benedict's Guide to Community. Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2011.

Binz, Stephen J. Conversing with God: A Contemporary Approach to Lectio. Frederick, MD. The Word Among Press, 2011.

Chittister, Joan, OSB. The Monastery of the Heart: An Invitation to a Meaningful Life. BlueBridge Books, 2011. 

Deignan, Kathleen (Editor). When the Trees Say Nothing: Thomas Merton's Writings on Nature. Notre Dame, IN: Sorin Books, 2003.

DeLeon, Roy. Praying with the Body: Bringing the Psalms to Life. Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2009.

Delisi, Anthony. Praying in the Cellar: A Guide to Facing Your Fears and Finding God. Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2005.

Derkse, Wil. A Blessed Life: Benedictine Guidelines for Those Who Long for the Good Old Days. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2011.

Dolan, Timothy. Doers Of The Word. Frederick, MD: Word Among Us, 2011.

Edmonson, Robert (editor). Practice the Presence of God-Paraclete Essentials. Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2010.

Fosarelli, Pat. Paths to Prayer: A Field Guide to Ten Catholic Traditions. Notre Dame, IN. Ave Maria Press, 2010.

Funk, Mary Margaret, OSB. Lectio Matters: Before the Burning Bush: Through the Revelatory Texts of Scripture, Nature and Experience. London, England: The Continuum Books, 2010.

Fruehwirth, Gregory, OJN. Words for Silence: A Year of Contemplative Prayer. Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2008.

Galli, Mark. Beyond Smells and Bells: The Wonderful Power of Christian Liturgy. Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2009.

Green-Mathews, Frederica. The Jesus Prayer: The Ancient Desert Prayer That Turns the Heart to God. Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2009.

Grueschel, Paul, CFR., and Bert Ghezzi. Encounters with God: What Experiences Teach Us About the Divine. Frederick, MD: The Word Among Us Press, 2011.

Hall, Sister Jeremy, OSB. Silence, Solitude, Simplicity: A Hermit's Love Affair with a Noisy, Crowded, and Complicated World. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2007.

Hoffman, Daniel (Father), and Collins-Pratt, Lonni. Radical Hospitality: Benedict's Way of Love. Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2005.

Holz, Albert, OSB. Walking in Valleys of Darkness: A Benedictine Journey Through Troubled Time. New York, NY: Morehouse Publishing, 2011.

Homan, Daniel, OSB, and Lonni Collins Pratt. Radial Hospitality. Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2005.

Hume, Basil, Cardinal. The Mystery of the Cross. Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2000. 

Kardong, Terrance G., OSB. Pillars of Community: Four Rules of Pre-Benedictine Monastic Life. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2010.

Kardong, Terrence G. The Life of St. Benedict by Gregory the Great: Translation and Commentary. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2009.

Keating, Thomas. Foundations for Centering Prayer and the Christian Contemplative Life. Continuum, 2002.

Kelly, Joseph F. The Origins of Christmas. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2004.

Br. Lawrence, OSB. The Practice of the Presence of God: Critical Edition. (ICS) Publications, 1994.

Long, David. At Home With God: A Complete Liturgical Guide for the Christian Home. Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2011.

Madden, Don. Incline the Ear of Your Heart: Listening to Saint Benedict's Message of Peace. Atchison, KS: Saint Benedict's Abbey Office of Development, 2010.

Nouwen, Henri J.M. Thomas Merton: Contemplative Critic. Liguori, MO: Liguori/Triumph, 1991.

Nugent, Andrew, OSB. The Slow Release Miracle: A Spirituality for a Lifetime. New York/Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 2006.

Raila, Donald S., OSB. Lessons from Saint Benedict: Finding Joy in Daily Life. Augusta, MO: Sacred Wings Press, 2011.

Robinson, David. Ancient Paths: Discover Christian Formation the Benedictine Way. Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press.

Stewart, Columba, OSB. Prayer and Community: The Benedictine Tradition. Maryknoll, NY: OBIS Books, 2000.

Sutera, Judith, OSB. Lent and Easter: Wisdom from Saint Benedict. Ligouri, MO: Ligouri Publications, 2010.

Swan, Laura (Editor). The Benedictine Tradition: Spirituality in History. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2011.

Talbot, John Michael. The Universal Monk: The Way of the New Monastics. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2011.

Wagner, Francis de Sales, OSB (Editor). Thirsting for God: Prayers from a Monastery. St. Meinrad, IN: Path of Life Publications, Abbey Press, 2011.

Wagner, Francis de Sales, OSB (Editor). Sacred Rhythms: The Monastic Way Every Day. St. Meinrad, IN: Path of Life Publications: Abbey Press, 2011.

Waldron, Robert. Poetry as Prayer: Thomas Merton. Boston, MA. Pauline Books and Media, 2000.

Welborn, Amy. Come Meet Jesus: An Invitation from Pope Benedict XVI. Frederick, MD: Word Among Us, 2010.

Wilson-Hartgrove, Jonathan. The Wisdom of Stability. Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2011. 

 

Anonymous. The Way of A Pilgrim and The Pilgrim Continues His Way. Image Books, 1985.

These two Russian spiritual classics describe the adventures of the anonymous, eponymous pilgrim, who discovers spiritual healing and nurturing through continual repetition of a short prayer called the Jesus Prayer: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner." The prayer will have a soothing and focusing characteristic that enables a deep concentration while distractions are shunted away. They are good books for oblates to read and will bring home the need to pray unceasingly.

 

Aquilina, Michael and Christopher Bailey. Praying the Psalms with early Christians. Frederick, MD. The Word Among Us Press, 2011.

Mike Aquilina and Christopher Bailey open a treasure chest of ancient Christian wisdom that will enrich your experience and appreciation of the psalms. Gathered together in this book are reflections from some of the greatest saints of the early Church on the psalms. Each of the short chapters on selected psalms is designed to help you pray these beautiful and personal Old Testament songs - not just to read or recite them, but to make them a part of your lives. Each chapter features the complete text of the psalms in revised standard version translation, a brief introduction that sets the psalms in context, a few lines to recall through the day, short reflections in modernized language from one or two early Christian thinkers, questions to help you apply the words of the psalms and the ideas of the early Christian writers to your life. Also included are brief biographies of the men and women quoted in the book.

 

Benedict XVI, Pope. The Legacy of John Paul II. Fort Collins, CO: Ignatius Press, 2011.

This is a wonderful book in which one individual pays tribute to a close friend. Pope Benedict XVI honors Pope John Paul II and pays him high tribute. The book is illustrated by more than 100 carefully chosen photos that demonstrate the significant and poignant moments of the pontificate of John Paul II. This is an excellent coffee table book that will serve as an evangelizing tool for those who chose to peruse it. Pope Benedict XVI also unites his own spirituality with that of the late pope.
 
 

Benson, Robert. A Good Neighbor: Benedict's Guide to Community. Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2011.

In A Good Neighbor, the author takes a deeper look at what St. Benedict teaches us about community. Confronting the issues and problems of modern life, Benson demonstrates what it means to love in our neighborhood, work at our places of employment, enjoy an active family life and friendships in ways that form places of relationships, love and mutual support. Essentially the author explores what Benedictine spirituality can teach us about being a good neighbor.

 

Binz, Stephen J. Conversing with God: A Contemporary Approach to Lectio. Frederick, MD. The Word Among Press, 2011.

Is it really possible to enter into a genuine conversation with God? Christians throughout the ages have done so using the ancient practice of lectio divina, or spiritual reading. In this practical and inspirational book, Binz shows how we can read and reflect on Scripture in ways that enable us to hear God speaking to us in our thoughts and hearts. He explains how to converse with God in prayer that will lead to contemplation and life-changing action, with a clarity that all will be welcome. This book is suitable for faith-sharing and Bible study groups.

 

Chittister, Joan, OSB. The Monastery of the Heart: An Invitation to a Meaningful Life. BlueBridge Books, 2011.

Sr. Joan Chittister, a well-known author and spiritual writer, has written a book that is a guide on the ancient Rule of St. Benedict. She shows us a new way to live a spiritual life in the very center of the secular world today and still not escape from it. This new way of living a spiritual life is centered in the ancient Rule and rooted in its values. The book attempts to redefine this new way for those who seek a practical model upon which to build their spiritual lives. The book is refreshing in its format. It follows a lyrical or poetic format that is easy to read. The author has taken the monastic tradition and shown how we have it our hearts so that it becomes a monastery of the heart. This is a great book to help individuals discover how to live a life that is meaningful even though it is lived in a world that is non-spiritual and replete with materialistic goals.

 

Deignan, Kathleen (Editor). When the Trees Say Nothing: Thomas Merton's Writings on Nature. Notre Dame, IN: Sorin Books, 2003.

The book is a lovely volume that collects and arranges the passages from Thomas Merton's writings on nature. They are enhanced by the drawings of John Giuliani, an internationally acclaimed artist, who has blended the spiritual and cultural treasures in his work. The editor is a sister of the Congregation of Notre Dame and an educator, theologian, composer and performer. Together, they have crafted a volume that evokes the sense of the sacred inherent in Merton's writings.

 

DeLeon, Roy. Praying with the Body: Bringing the Psalms to Life. Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2009.

Pray with more than your mind and learn how to use your whole self in this innovative approach to prayer. Readers are asked to do more than just read. They are asked to move in prayer by expressing the psalms with motion. The author is an oblate of St. Benedict, spiritual director and a certified yoga instructor. This book is for anyone who wants a more integrated and reconciled approach to prayer. The readers will move in prayer by expressing the psalms with motion.

 

Delisi, Anthony. Praying in the Cellar: A Guide to Facing Your Fears and Finding God. Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2005.

For 60 years, Fr. Anthony Delisi has been a Trappist monk, chaplain, teacher and retreat master. He demonstrates in the book how we can bring the pain experienced in childhood, unspoken fears and memories that remind us of loss to God as we learn to pray in the cellar. It is a guide to contemplative prayer, and it will convey us to the inner room that Jesus describes when he says: "When you pray go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to God in secret." Fr. Anthony encourages us to follow Jesus' invitation to enter our interior cellar, and our fears will surface. This is an excellent book for those who have trouble praying because memories of pain and hurt often get in the way.

 

Derkse, Wil. A Blessed Life: Benedictine Guidelines for Those Who Long for the Good Old Days. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2011.

The author is an oblate with the Benedictine St. Willibrord's Abbey in Doetinchem, the Netherlands. He asks the question: who does not long for the good days where a strong blessing rests? He states that many individuals, both lay and religious, have experienced the guidelines of St. Benedict's Rule that offer inspiring and realistic ways toward a blessed life. The book is aimed at nourishing persons and communities right where they live and work. The main topics in the book are cultivation of silence and restrained speech, the dedication of work and study, the importance of humility, the cultivation of hospitality, care, stewardship, mutual respect and care of speaking good words. The author is searching for those basic attitudes and virtues that characterize Benedictine spirituality, making them available to those who live and work beyond the walls of the monastery.

 

Dolan, Timothy. Doers Of The Word. Frederick, MD: Word Among Us, 2011.

Whether you are ensconced in the sanctuary of a church and surrounded by its peaceful tranquility or trying to catch a metro train in the chaotic hubbub of an urban city, God is always there with you. He is present in the stillness of the church or the chaos of the subway. We are called to seek God, find Him and to serve Him. As archbishop of New York, Timothy Dolan knows only too well the many faces of Jesus Christ and sees him in almost anybody. He uses his book to share a unique combination of simplicity, practicality, and guidance to give our faith a daily injection of meaning and application.

 

Edmonson, Robert (editor). Practice the Presence of God-Paraclete Essentials. Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2010.

This is a classic book that has instructed and inspired millions of people. The author recounts a humble 17th-century monk who reveals the secrets of a daily, moment by moment, relationship with God. Br. Lawrence spent most of his monastic life in the monastery kitchen and shows how it is possible to discern God in everyday situations, even among the pots and pans. This edition has been translated from the original French into very readable English. The book is replete with realism, friendliness and simplicity.

 

Fosarelli, Pat. Paths to Prayer: A Field Guide to Ten Catholic Traditions. Notre Dame, IN. Ave Maria Press, 2010.

This book presents 10 of the most widely recognized Catholic spiritual traditions. It spans from Augustine spirituality to Mystical spirituality, including Benedictine spirituality. Each chapter includes a brief history of the tradition's founder and it highlights the major characteristics of each tradition. The chapters also include a spiritual prayer representative of that tradition. An excellent resource for the Benedictine oblate who seeks to understand other traditions and recognizes both similarities and subtle differences.

 

Funk, Mary Margaret, OSB. Lectio Matters: Before the Burning Bush: Through the Revelatory Texts of Scripture, Nature and Experience. London, England: The Continuum Books, 2010.

Sr. Mary Margaret has written about her experience of seeking God through the ancient tradition recommended by St. Benedict. The tradition of lectio divina: the diligent reading of the sacred Scripture accompanied by prayer. She points out that St. Benedict's directive in the Rule was to do lectio divina several hours each day. In her book, Sr. Mary Margaret shows how lectio divina relates to the spiritual life as taught by ancient Church writers, and especially by John Cassian. She points out that lectio divina can be sustained and sourced from three texts: the book of Scripture, the book of experience or the book of nature. She has chosen to teach the method of lectio divina through Scripture, using the Book of Jonah. The book is an excellent addition to the oblates' library as they travel life's journey with an emphasis on growing closer to God.

 

Fruehwirth, Gregory, OJN. Words for Silence: A Year of Contemplative Prayer. Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2008.

Fr. Gregory draws from the most ancient Christian wisdom in his book Words for Silence. He guides readers to create more stillness and solitude in their lives and to do so right where they are. Fr. Gregory urges us to realize that we are always in God's presence and to be more conscious of this. He writes, "The contemplative life and unceasing prayer is about being exactly where you are and aware of the presence of God and quickly and joyfully responsive to God's urgings." The author, who is both monk and poet, demonstrates through his book how we can make substantive changes in our lives.

 

Galli, Mark. Beyond Smells and Bells: The Wonderful Power of Christian Liturgy. Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2009.

The author makes a compelling case for the relevance of Christian liturgy in our individualistic, secular world. He presents examples and personal experiences and, by doing so, explains the countercultural appeal of liturgical worship that is the format of ecumenical orientation. Galli also cuts across the entire denominational spectrum. This book is an excellent resource for anyone interested in changing to different liturgical traditions.

 

Green-Mathews, Frederica. The Jesus Prayer: The Ancient Desert Prayer That Turns the Heart to God. Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2009.

This popular and well-known author offers the most comprehensive book written to date on the Jesus Prayer. She presents the history, theology and spirituality of orthodoxy in order that the Jesus Prayer can be understood in the native context, and makes provision for practical steps in making it an integral part of our prayer life.

 

Grueschel, Paul, CFR., and Bert Ghezzi. Encounters with God: What Experiences Teach Us About the Divine. Frederick, MD: The Word Among Us Press, 2011.

This book is about encounters with God in ordinary daily experiences by ordinary people. The questions of who is God and how to know Him are often asked. The authors encompass a wide diversity of subjects and, by doing so, make us aware of the many ways we can learn about God through ordinary situations in our lives. God's image is revealed through the authors' compelling stories about family, conversion, kindness and forgiveness that emanate from their own experiences. Stories are also taken from Scripture, literature and the lives of ordinary people.

 

Hall, Sister Jeremy, OSB. Silence, Solitude, Simplicity: A Hermit's Love Affair with a Noisy, Crowded, and Complicated World. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2007.

The author, a Benedictine nun, knows a great deal about silence and solitude. For 20 years, she lived as a hermit. She has also lived in the secular world and is alert to the world around her. Her Benedictine wisdom is fundamental human wisdom. Her book is the outcome of her many decades of spiritual practice and journey. She demonstrates how monasticism is not placed on a pedestal or behind walls, but is in the middle of a noisy, crowed and complicated word. Her premise is that monasticism is not to forsake the world, but it is for the sake of the world.

 

Hoffman, Daniel (Father), and Collins-Pratt, Lonni. Radical Hospitality: Benedict's Way of Love. Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2005.

In today's world, it is increasingly difficult to approach anyone who appears to be different and to be hospitable to that individual. Monasticism teaches us to accept differences and to see Jesus Christ in everyone we meet. In monasticism, everyone gets the same Jesus. There is no trendy Jesus. The monks practice a religion based on the life of Jesus. Benedict wrote the Rule within the context of his Christian faith and so his teachings cannot be separated from those of Jesus. This book attempts to open a door to a more hospitable way of life.

 

Holz, Albert, OSB. Walking in Valleys of Darkness: A Benedictine Journey Through Troubled Time. New York, NY: Morehouse Publishing, 2011.

In this book, Fr. Holz invites the reader to walk with him through five periods of pain and difficulty that happened in his life. The first was when his world fell apart when the school he taught in for many years was closing. St. Benedict Prep was an intimate part of his world. Then came the death of his beloved brother Bob, Fr. Albert's knee surgery, his own cancer and the diminishing numbers of monks in his monastery. In a series of 24 meditations, Fr. Albert shows how the insights of the New Testament can be a citadel of practical help and spiritual help for those of us undergoing troubled times. These insights include compassion, courage and trust that appear in the New Testament. Each chapter concludes with reflections, Scripture and a point from the Rule of St. Benedict. This is an excellent book, as we all face troubled times at some juncture of our lives. Fr. Albert shows us how we can cope with those times.

 

Homan, Daniel, OSB, and Lonni Collins Pratt. Radial Hospitality. Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2005.

In today's world, strangers often invoke a feeling of fear, suspicion and sometimes hostility. Anyone who appears to be different is viewed suspiciously, especially after a tragedy has occurred. Our basic instinct is to withdraw, lock the door and make ready to protect our loved ones. A remedy for this suspicion and distrust lies within the heart of Benedictine spirituality. Hospitality is the key for this kind of defensive behavior. True Benedictine spirituality requires that we welcome strangers, not only into our domestic sanctuaries, but also into our hearts. The authors have drawn from monastic tradition and personal experiences. They urge us to embrace the strangers from without, but also the stranger within us.

 

Hume, Basil, Cardinal. The Mystery of the Cross. Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2000.

Posthumously published, this book represents a gift to anyone who reads it. It is a collection of Cardinal Hume's reflections of the passion and death of Our Lord. Through his reflections, we are brought more deeply into the mysteries of our salvation and can glimpse the grace that was always in his mind and heart. Cardinal Hume shares his own questioning, his searching, and his anguish. These reflections are drawn from his homilies and speeches over 20 years. He looks at such questions as why do tragedies happen, why do the innocent have to suffer, why do many of us experience pain and desolation during our lives? Cardinal Hume joins us as a fellow pilgrim on our journey to grow closer to God. He meditates on the deep mysteries and uncertainties of our journey. He encourages us to enter into Jesus Christ's brutal and barbaric death on the cross and see if we can ascertain some meaning.

 

Kardong, Terrance G., OSB. Pillars of Community: Four Rules of Pre-Benedictine Monastic Life. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2010.

The author points out that anyone who has visited a great cathedral has been impressed and duly awed by the massive stone foundations that support the main central tower. The four pillars of the church give strong support to the soaring church edifice. Kardong uses this analogy to write about the four ancient rules that stand in support of Western monasticism, giving a structure that future spiritual architects, St. Benedict being one of them, would build upon. Kardong explores the lives and Rules of four of the earliest monastic writers: Basil, Pachomius, Augustine and the anonymous author of the Rules of Lorins. In a creative and engaging way, he shows how the lives and social settings of these early founders shaped their unique style of monasticism. For example, St. Augustine did not like the term monk because of the bad reputation of local monks who associated with Donatist heresy. This book is great for appreciating ancient texts in comparison with modern times, which we can recognize even today.

 

Kardong, Terrence G. The Life of St. Benedict by Gregory the Great: Translation and Commentary. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2009.

Pope Gregory the Great, in his classic book, Second Book of Dialogues, treats St. Benedict as a celebrity and depicts him as a hero. Gregory places Benedict primarily in the role of hero and as a miracle worker. In reading the Rule, we can discern that Benedict appears to be a pragmatic administrator and a first-class spiritual advisor. Kardong takes a new look at Pope Gregory's classic book. He alternates between the translated parts of the Dialogues and his own commentaries. The author injects his sense of humor into his commentaries and, by doing so, moves the reader into an enlightened spiritual life. Another benefit is that Kardong's practical and sensible writing propels the readersinto loving St. Benedict and wanting to learn more about him.

 

Keating, Thomas. Foundations for Centering Prayer and the Christian Contemplative Life. Continuum, 2002.

This book is an attractive compendium that brings together three of Fr. Keating's most important books on centering prayer: Open Mind, Open Heart (1986), Invitation to Love (1992) and Mystery of Christ (1987). Together, they explore both the theory and practice of centering prayer, along with its use in the total liturgical life of the Church.

 

Kelly, Joseph F. The Origins of Christmas. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2004.

This book is written as an answer guide to questions individuals have raised over the years about the origins of Christmas. The author considers these questions: when was Christmas first celebrated, how did December 25 become the date of Christmas, how did the magi from the East become the three kings named Melchior, Caspar and Balthasar? The author, a professor of religious studies, answers these questions and more in a precise and cogent way.

 

Br. Lawrence, OSB. The Practice of the Presence of God: Critical Edition. (ICS) Publications, 1994.

The contents of this book were compiled from the letters and other sources of Br. Lawrence. Br. Lawrence's signature work is characterized by its emphasis on simple, everyday occurrences. He calls us to celebrate how prayer and piety in the most ordinary of circumstances can help to cultivate a lasting sense of intimacy with God. Br. Lawrence found the presence God even in the monastery kitchen.

 

Long, David. At Home With God: A Complete Liturgical Guide for the Christian Home. Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2011.

How does a family find time to live and pray the gospel of Jesus Christ in the home? Beset with busy work lives, extracurricular activities and other time demands, it becomes increasingly more difficult to find time to pray together as a family. This book will help to shape the lives of mothers, fathers and church personnel so that time management will allow for time to pray together. For too long, families have been removed from the practice of daily prayer and, especially, family prayer.

 

Madden, Don. Incline the Ear of Your Heart: Listening to Saint Benedict's Message of Peace. Atchison, KS: Saint Benedict's Abbey Office of Development, 2010.

This beautifully illustrated book is published by Abbot Barnabas Senecal, OSB, of St. Benedict's Abbey in Atchison, Kansas. The book's contents include: Why We Need Benedictines; Benedict's Gifts: Conversion of Life, Obedience, Stability, Humility, Peace, Hospitality, and Lectio; Beauty: Stairs Well Worn; Psalms and Ultima. The author shares the insights of St. Benedict as they are lived each day by the monks of St. Benedict's Abbey. It is a small volume that is graced with beautiful images depicting the natural beauty and environs of the abbey. The text is presented in lyrical and reflective prose and offers a glimpse into the traditions, beauty and gifts of monastic life. It presents the text as a monastic gift to be lived and shared throughout the world. It is the kind of book Benedictine oblates might keep on a coffee table as an evangelization tool.

 

Nouwen, Henri J.M. Thomas Merton: Contemplative Critic. Liguori, MO: Liguori/Triumph, 1991.

The late Henri Nouwen wrote a unique book that is a meditation on the life and writings of Thomas Merton. It is a rich sampler of Merton's words on the spiritual life. Nouwen discovered the sources of Merton's inspiration that resulted in his writings on prayer and contemplation. Nouwen places his excerpts and commentary under the headings: From Sarcasm to Contemplation, The Way to Silence, Conquering Solitude, Unmasking the Illusion and Discovery of the East. The author wanted to have the short chapters lead to an attentive meditation of Merton's writings and for readers to continue to search for a contemplative formation in their chaotic, secular lives.

 

Nugent, Andrew, OSB. The Slow Release Miracle: A Spirituality for a Lifetime. New York/Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 2006.

According to the author, spiritual living is not a technique to be acquired by basic training or a skill learned from a book. It is a slow release miracle the Holy Spirit progressively creates in us. To Nugent, spiritual growth is always slow and it takes as long as what we have: a whole lifetime. The author traces the three stages of spiritual awakening: (1) points of departure - an awareness of the dimensions and the dynamics of Christian spiritual life, (2) vantage points - a growth in wonder for the manifold gifts of the Spirit in the Church and in the world, and (3) points of arrival - a spiritual maturity that enables us to go gently into the darkness, unafraid and rendering thanks for everything with hope and joy. These dimensions are all a part of the strange adventure that we call human life. It is a great book for those who expect instant arrival to heightened spirituality and are disappointed when it does not happen right away.

 

Raila, Donald S., OSB. Lessons from Saint Benedict: Finding Joy in Daily Life. Augusta, MO: Sacred Wings Press, 2011.

This book is a collection of 26 letters that Fr. Raila has written over a 20-year period. He is a monk of St. Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe, PA, and the director of oblates for the monastery. These letters were quarterly letters written to the community of oblates and friends of St. Vincent Archabbey. For these letters, he used the Rule of St. Benedict and Benedictine spirituality as his foundation, presenting a gentle sifting of some of the most important aspects of this 1,500-year-old rule. He presents the Rule so that it is comprehensible to secular individuals and workable for their spiritual lives. This book is exceptionally applicable to oblates who are obligated to live by the Rule as well as non-oblates who want the wisdom and guidance of the Rule.

 

Robinson, David. Ancient Paths: Discover Christian Formation the Benedictine Way. Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press.

This book presents both personal and practical insights into the Rule of St. Benedict, an ancient guide for Christian formation in community. The book abstracts information gleaned from 15 centuries of Benedictine spirituality and monastic spiritual practices. It presents Benedict's perspectives and principles as a rich source of wisdom and practical guidance for Christian formation in the modern world. Readers will discover ancient, but new, ways of living their faith together with others.

 

Stewart, Columba, OSB. Prayer and Community: The Benedictine Tradition. Maryknoll, NY: OBIS Books, 2000.

This book is about the spirituality of the Benedictine monastic tradition. Inevitably, the sixth-century Rule of St. Benedict is central. Each chapter begins with the teaching of St. Benedict, as understood in the cultural and historical materials. The author traces the way communities have interpreted and practiced Benedict's teaching. The book substantiates the importance of tradition in the continuance and stability of Benedictine spirituality.

 

Sutera, Judith, OSB. Lent and Easter: Wisdom from Saint Benedict. Ligouri, MO: Ligouri Publications, 2010.

The author has written a book that is a Lenten and Easter one chronologically applicable to one's spiritual preparation for prayer. The format includes how Scripture and prayer can work together with St. Benedict's own words. The book encourages the reader to set aside time each day to reflect on a specific Scripture passage and provides a recommended activity for Christian living during the Lenten season.

 

Swan, Laura (Editor). The Benedictine Tradition: Spirituality in History. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2011.

When St. Benedict wrote his little Rule for his monks he could not have foreseen the impact it would make in the lives in religious men and women for 1,500 years. Benedict's Rule places the emphasis on the values of humility, prayer and hospitality that have been the trademark of Benedictines for centuries. With dedication to God and the practices of the Liturgy of the Hours and monastic life, Benedictines have made significant contributions to theology, chant, and the preservation of spiritual works of literature and of scholarship. The editor has achieved a good analysis of the historical contributions of Benedictines throughout the course of history. They continue to do so to this day.

 

Talbot, John Michael. The Universal Monk: The Way of the New Monastics. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2011.

This book presents initial views from inside a new type of monastery in the Church. The author applies his 25-plus years in community and it reflects a practical experience of monastic life in a different kind of monastic community. It is a community made up of celibates, married couples, single people and children. It is a new monasticism that encompasses anyone who desires to travel an ancient contemplative path. The book is a guide to a new monasticism that exudes wisdom and answers questions that have risen over many decades of pragmatic application. This book is about the monk in all of us. The new monasticism is a powerful way for everyone, regardless of state of life, to find peace and unity. It is written from the author's experience in public international ministry and as founder and spiritual leader of the Brothers and Sisters of Charity,a new integrated monastic community. This is a refreshing book because it is on the growing edge of change and speaks to all of us who want to explore a new path to heightened spirituality. The book is also a good reference for those who do not agree or accept John Michael Talbot's new monasticism, but want to learn about it.

 

Wagner, Francis de Sales, OSB (Editor). Thirsting for God: Prayers from a Monastery. St. Meinrad, IN: Path of Life Publications, Abbey Press, 2011.

This slender volume is comprised of monastic prayers that were written by the monks of Saint Meinrad Archabbey. It is beautifully illustrated with photos of the monastery buildings, statuary and landscape. Each monk who contributed a lyrical piece or poem has his name at the bottom with the date he made solemn vows. Each section of the book has the title and quotation from Scripture and includes the poem or prose from a monk. This is an excellent book to keep readily accessible to the reader who may desire to use it as a daily meditation or for lectio divina.

 

Wagner, Francis de Sales, OSB (Editor). Sacred Rhythms: The Monastic Way Every Day. St. Meinrad, IN: Path of Life Publications: Abbey Press, 2011.

This book is a compilation of reflections originally published in a booklet series: Notes From a Monastery; The Sacred Way Every Day. They are collected here under the themes of prayer, work, faithfulness and conversion. They highlight the knowledge of religious and lay authors who are experienced in the Benedictine way of life. Some of the authors include: Sr. Joan Chittister, OSB, Fr. Michael Casey, OSB, Fr. Dwight Longnecker, OSB, Fr. Joel Rippinger, OSB, and Sr. Laura Swan, OSB. Their writings give testimony that the Benedictine way of life has a place for those who seek the sacred rhythms that keep us interconnected with each other.

 

Waldron, Robert. Poetry as Prayer: Thomas Merton. Boston, MA. Pauline Books and Media, 2000.

The book is a concise and strong introduction to Merton's poetry. Praying poetry can transport us into a deeper sense of self and transform us in powerful ways. Merton is one of the greatest spiritual masters and religious poets for our time. The author teaches poetry at the high school level and has incorporated his profound faith and fresh analysis of Merton's poetry. He gives us a luminous guide to spiritual poetry, using Merton as the focal point. It is a splendid read.

 

Welborn, Amy. Come Meet Jesus: An Invitation from Pope Benedict XVI. Frederick, MD: Word Among Us, 2010.

Jesus as a person and our need to meet Him is the common denominator that threads its way through the book. The book is replete with all that He has written or taught. The Pope has often pronounced to young people: "Open, open wide the doors to Christ and you will find true life." In this book, Welborn pinpoints the ways in which the Pope is inviting his listeners, both within and outside the Church, to discover the saving, healing, lifesaving love of Jesus. The Pope shows how we can encounter Jesus in the world through prayer, in Scriptures, in the liturgy and in daily living.

 

Wilson-Hartgrove, Jonathan. The Wisdom of Stability. Brewster, MA: Paraclete Press, 2011.

This book speaks to anyone who is searching for a validated path to Christian transformation. The author speaks out like the prophets of old and beckons us to enter into an alternative lifestyle. He shows us ways to cultivate stability by deliberately rooting ourselves in the place where we live. He urges us to slow down and engage the simpler rhythms of life. The author presents the Bible and monastic understanding of why staying in one place is both a virtue and essentially good for us.