It’s the middle of June, so for most of us school is or will soon be out soon, signaling the beginning of the summer season for you and your family. It’s also a season synonymous with reading a good book. There will be a plethora of articles outlining the best “summer reads” list.
What makes a good summer read anyway? That depends on the reader of course, but usually the ones to make the lists fall into the categories of a steamy love story, thriller, mystery, or something you’ve always wanted to read and just didn’t have the time, such as War and Peace or for the faithful, The Imitation of Christ. Here’s my list of the best Catholic summer reads for you and the kids!
Many of you will be heading to places where you will find yourself languishing in nature and the perfect space to get some R & R, rest and reading for the mind, body, and soul.
The first three books come from renowned Catholic influencers who will help quiet your mind and soothe the soul.
The Power of Silence: Against the Dictatorship of Noise by Cardinal Robert Sarah explores the real need for each of us to find the power of hearing the true will of God in our lives in moments of silence.
Christ in Our Midst: Wisdom from Caryll Houselander. This is a compilation of writings of a beloved lay Catholic mystic who is a 20th century writer of Catholic themed books and poetry. The chapters are short and focus on soul-stirring questions like “Who Am I”, “Choice”, “Responsibility”, “God in Us”, “God’s Purpose” and many others to reflect on during the languishing days of a summer vacation.
The Time Is Now: A Call to Uncommon Courage by Sister Joan Chittister. Also explores themes of contemplative prayer, the diversity of roles for members of our church and most importantly helps you to discern which role is best for you to serve using your time, talent, and treasure.
While hearing from Catholic faith influencers is important to having a more comprehensive and catechetical perspective on how to approach our spiritual life, let’s be honest: There are times that we are left with a sense that the writers are a bit “holier than thou.” That’s why these next three are from authors who may be more relatable from a lay person’s perspective.
You Are Enough: What Women of the Bible Teach You About Your Mission and Worth by Danielle Bean. The author is a wife who has been married for over 20 years, mom of eight kids and is currently the brand manager at Catholicmom.com, host of the podcast “The Catholic Momcas,t” and talk-show host on CatholicTV’s “The Gist” show. She draws from her own life experiences combined with the timeless tales of women from the Bible to help us embrace our uniqueness and that Jesus loves us just as we are – celebrating that should be enough!
Be Brave in the Scared: How I learned to Trust God during the Most Difficult Days of My Life by Mary E. Lenaburg. This author shares her personal journey of faith as she was faced with the reality of her plan for raising a healthy baby girl being shattered on the day she was baptized. She chronicles the impact of raising a special-needs child on a marriage, family and faith. Each chapter of the book provides for you to journal about what you are experiencing in reading the book. A powerful testament for trusting God’s plan when it conflicts with your own!
The 5 Habits of Prayerful People by Michael St. Pierre. It is an easy read with tips that are equally as easy to incorporate into our busy daily lives. Mike writes from the perspective of a guy who’s been married twenty years, has four kids, and is juggling roles as an adjunct professor at Seton Hall University along with other philanthropic roles. His writings mirror that of a modern manual for leadership when it comes to becoming more prayerful.
Last summer, in anticipation of speaking about the two saints of Hawaii, St. Damien of Molokai and St. Marianne at the Damien and Marianne Conference, I read their biographies. It also inspired me to book a trip to Molokai to walk in the steps of these great saints. Books about the lives of the saints of our Church are always great reads. Sharing the stories of the saints with your children is also a great way to introduce them to the practice of befriending them. Here are my suggestions.
Holy Man, Father Damien of Molokai by Gavin Daws
Pilgrimage and Exile, Mother Marianne of Molokai by Sr. Mary Laurence Hanley, OSF and O.A.
Saints Alive! The Faith Proclaimed by Sr. Marie Paul Curley, FSP and Sr. Mary Lea Hill, FSP
How to Be A Hero, Train with the Saints by Julia Harrell
Sitting Like a Saint by Dr. Gregory and Barbra Bottaro
I am God’s Storyteller by Lisa Hendey
Finally, I wanted to share books that, as of this writing, are topping the best sellers list for Catholicism on Amazon and are thought provoking about the well-being of our church: Infiltration: The Plot to Destroy the Church From Within by Taylor Marshall, Letter to a Suffering Church: A Bishop Speaks on The Sexual Abuse Crisis by Bishop Robert Barron and 101 Places to Pray Before You Die by Thomas J. Craughwell.
Bishop Barron is offering an introductory price of $1 per copy (with free shipping) through Word on Fire for bulk orders of Letter to a Suffering Church; the Kindle preorder price is 99 cents. All the proceeds from the sale of this book will go to the survivors of sexual abuse.
Another great option for you to read books for free is to sign-up for a 30-day free trial for the Audible app. It’s a great option for plugging in your earbuds and listening to a book on a plane ride, lying by the pool, or at the beach. I would love to hear what your favorite read from the list was.
Happy summer reading!
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Copyright 2019 Sherry Hayes-Peirce