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Spiritual Reading

The Abbey of Gethsemani; Place of Peace and Paradox, 150 Years in the Life of America’s Oldest Trappist Monastery, Dianne Aprile. 150th Anniversary commemorative history of Gethsemani Abbey, the oldest Trappist Monastery in America.

Abbey Psalter The book of psalms, Grail version, used by our community for the Divine Office. Hand-lettered text with art photographs from medieval monasteries and a new introduction by Abbot John Eudes Bamberger, OCSO (scripture, prayer) For a description of the Psalter and a sample of the text go to: Abbey Psalter Page.

Armchair Mystic Mark E. Thibodeaux, SJ. This user-friendly book blends theory and practice, gently and concretely taking the reader through the firsteps of contemplative prayer. The author begins with the necessary details of time and place to pray, then presents the maturation of the prayer life in four stages. Invaluable as an introduction to contemplative prayer.

Baking With Brother Boniface: Recipes from the Kitchen of Mepkin Abbey Brother Boniface, OCSO. A bread, cake & pastery cookbook of recipies used by Br. Boniface these past 45 years.

Benedict’s Rule Terence Kardong, OSB. New translation of the Rule of St. Benedict with extensive commentary and notes.

Benedict’s Way: An Ancient Monk’s Insights for a Balanced Life Lonni Collins Pratt, Daniel Homan, OSB. A guide for individuals of all faiths combining the wisdom of St. Benedict’s Rule with personal stories and commentary illustrating its application for today.

Benedictine Daily Prayer – A Short Breviary Liturgical Press. This version of the Divine Office is designed especially for Benedictine/Cistercian oblates, associates and those others who wish to pray the hours of the monastic Divine Office in a shorter version. It offers a richer collection of classic office hymnody, psalmody, readings and Scripture than shorter versions yet it is small enough to fit in a briefcase when travelling.

Bernard of Clairvaux Basil Pennington, OCSO (ed). This engaging anthology provides a varied introduction to Bernard’s more important writings. A good introduction to him.

Bernard of Clairvaux: Essential Writings Dennis E. Tamburello, OFM. An introduction to the essential writings of the 12th century Cistercian monk, theologian, statesman and mystic, St. Bernard of Clairvaux.

Beyond the Walls Paul Wilkes. Subtitled: Monastic Wisdom for Everyday Life, Wilkes tells the candid story of his experiences visiting Mepkin Abbey in South Carolina during the course of a year’s time. His story is told with an honesty that allows the reader to follow him, identify with him and gain from his experience.

Catechism of the Catholic Church – 2nd edition – Paperback

Catechism of the Catholic Church – 2nd edition – Hardcover
The official and authentic teaching of the Catholic Church today, revised and updated, March 2000.

Centering Prayer M Basil Pennington, OCSO. An introduction to and description of an ancient form of prayer known today as Centering Prayer.

Cherish Christ Above All Else The Bible in the Rule of St. Benedict. Demetrius Dumm, OSB. In this work Fr. Demetrius, scripture scholar and Benedictine Monk, shows how the Rule of St. Benedict has been enriched by Benedict’s knowledge and love of scripture. With the growing interest in monastic spirituality this work will be of interest to cloistered and non-cloistered monastics alike.

Christ The Life of The Soul Blessed Columba Marmion, OSB. Written for Christians in every walk of life this work is a classic guide to Christ-centered spiritual life. In clear, inspiring language the author discusses every aspect of our journey to Christ in a clear and easy to read translation from the original French. A great book for lectio divina.

Christian Totality Basil Cole, OP & Paul Conner, OP. A comprehensive and scholarly treatise on Christian living. After highlighting the dignity of lay Christian life and its mission to transform the world, it contrasts the lay and consecrated vocations and then proceeds to explore the splendid love and mystery of the consecrated life from the scriptural, historical, conciliar and theological perspectives.

Cistercian Europe Architecture of Contemplation Dr. Terryl Kinder. The author offers a lavishly illustrated journey through Europe’s magnificent Cistercian abbeys. A leading expert in medieval architecture, Terryl Kinder brings these famous monasteries to life, showing not only where monks lived, worked, and prayed, but also how the exquisite architecture of these buildings reflects the spiritual transformation to which their residents aspired.

Cistercian World, The Pauline Mattarasso. An excellent introduction to 12th century Cistercian writers.

The Cistercians In Medieval Art James France. For the first time, this fully illustrated work tells the remarkable story of the Cistercians through art: illuminated manuscripts, paintings, stained glass and sculpture, gathered from Europe, Britain and Scandinavia. An easily readable study of Cistercian history by means of their own art forms.

Cloud of Unknowing, The William Johnston (ed). A literary work of great beauty in both style and message this spiritual classic offers a practical guide to contemplative prayer and the tradition of knowing God by not-knowing.

Clowning in Rome Henri Nouwen. Reflections on solitude and community, celibacy, prayer and contemplation.

The Committed Life William Meninger, OCSO. A creative rewriting of St. Francis De Sales’ classic: The Introduction to the Devout Life. The author makes St. Francis’ 17th century spirituality oriented toward committed Christian living in the world accessible to modern Christians.

A Concise Guide to Canon Law Rev. Kevin McKenna. This handy reference provides a compact overview of the most important canonical issues facing clerical and lay pastoral ministers today.

A Concise Guide to Catholic Social Teaching Rev. Kevin McKenna. A summary of Catholic social teaching beginning with Rerum Novarum (1891) to the present. An invaluable reference tool for pastoral ministers and teachers in class settings or personal use.

Consecrated Life (Vita Consecrata) Pope John Paul II. Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on the Consecrated Life in the Church.

Contemplative Heart, The James Finley. The author opens everyday living to the contemplative tradtions, practices and teachings of the contemplative life to those living ‘in the world’.

The Courage To Be Catholic: Crisis, Reform, and the Future of the Church George Weigel. The author, a Catholic lay theologian, analyzes the causes of the current crisis of sexual abuse and episcopal malfeasance in the context of recent Catholic history.

Cry For Mercy, A Henri Nouwen. The author’s heartfelt prayers written each day of his second lengthy retreat at the Abbey of the Genesee.

Daily We Touch Him M. Basil Pennington, OCSO. A new edition wherein Fr. Basil shares the insights that he has gained about centering prayer.

Divine Inspiration: The Life of Jesus in World Poetry Attwan, Dardess & Rosenthal An anthology of world poetry inspired by the Gospels. A rich source for Gospel meditation in poetry spanning several cultures and eras.

The Divine Family: The Trinity and Our Life in God Fr. William McDonough offers a profound work of biblical theology in which he presents a popular explanation of the meaning of the Trinity, the fundamental doctrine of the Catholic faith.

Do We Worship the Same God? Comparing the Bible and the Qur’an Deacon George Dardess. The author, a Christian expert on Islam, provides a wealth of information about the teachings of both Christianity and Islam to help readers discern if Christians and Muslims worship the same God.

Doctors of the Church Bernard McGinn. A brief introduction to the what, the who, and the possible why of thirty-three men and women doctors of the church who have shaped Christianity.

Drawn Into the Mystery of Jesus – Jean Vanier shares with us some fruitful meditations on the Gospel of St. John and how it both inspires and challenges him in his way of discipleship.

Drinking From The Hidden Fountain Thomas Spidlik.A collection of daily readings from the Fathers of the Church for meditation and lectio divina.

Engaging Benedict: What the Rule Can Teach Us Today Laura Swan, OSB. Readers will discover that Benedict’s wisdom can shed much light on their own lives. By wrestling with the Rule, and taking it seriously, Laura Swan offers readers guidance on many difficult and painful questioins.

Essence of Prayer Ruth Burrows, OCD. In this, her most recent book on prayer, Carmelite Nun, Ruth Burrows, presents the richness of vision of a contemplative nun whose message counteracts the tendency of so much modern writing about the spiritual life which implies that we reach God by running faster. She succeeds in correcting some misconceptions about prayer and to answer various questions about its practice.

Essential Monastic Wisdom Hugh Feis, OSB. A selection of monastic writers gleaned from various monastic authors down through the centuries. The writings are arranged thematically and are ideal for short lectio breaks.

Fathers of the Church Mike Aquilina. A well-written, carefully researched labor of love blending historical background and numerous excellent selections from Ireneaus, Cyprian, Origen, Polycarp, Justin, Ambrose & Augustine. A great introduction to these Fathers.

Finding Sanctuary Abbot Christopher Jamison, OSB. In this inspirational and practical book, the author, abbot of Worth Abbey – the abbey featured in the TV series, The Monastery – offers ways in which the lessons of monastic living and the teachings of St. Benedict can be put into practice in our hectic, modern, and unmonastic lives.

The Forgotten Desert Mothers Laura Swan, OSB. The author calls to mind the lost memories of women leaders in early monastic tradition while showing the reader a path of spirituality sorely needed in today’s busy and noisy world.

From a Monastery Kitchen Br. Victor-Antoine D’Avila Latourrette, OSB. A collection of quality vegetarian recipes (includes fish) interspersed with timely aphorisms on the spiritual life. Food for body and soul.

Fully Human, Fully Divine: An Interactive ChristologyFully Human, Fully Divine: An Interactive Christology Michael Casey, OCSO. An interactive Christology which studies Christology, spirituality and psychology.

Genesee Diary Henri Nouwen. Diary of six months the author spent at the Abbey of the Genesee. Provides insights into author’s spirituality and life of Trappists today.

God’s Men of Color Albert Foley, SJ. The story of the first African American Catholic Priests in the United States including that of Fr. Simon Smith, OCSO, first novice master of Genesee.

Grace is Everywhere James S. Behrens, OCSO. Simple yet profound, Fr. Behrens (priest of the archdiocese of Newark, NJ before joining the Trappist four years ago) demonstrates the value of monastic spirituality for those living outside the cloister.

Guide To Living In The Truth Michael Casey, OCSO. Inspirational reflections on chapter 7, On Humility, of St. Benedict’s Rule. A practical guide for daily living according to St. Benedict’s teaching on humility.

Henri Nouwen : Writings Selected With an Introduction by Robert A. Jonas (Modern Spiritual Masters Series) (Orbis, 1998)

How Far to Follow: The Martyrs of Atlas Bernardo Olivera, OCSO. Our Abbot General tells the story of the brutal martyrdom of seven Trappists and shows its meaning for the Christian-Muslim world. The Testament of Fr. Christian is included along with several other texts.

Human Condition Contemplation and Transformation Thomas Keating, OCSO. Reflections on contemplative life delivered at Harvard University in 1998. The author shares penetrating insights into the human condition showing how and why contemplation is a “divine therapy” for dealing with the human condition.

Intimacy With God Thomas Keating, OCSO. Filled with insight and practical advice this book offers sound wisdom on the way that centering prayer can deepen our intimacy with God.

Invitation To Love Thomas Keating, OCSO. A sequel to Open Mind, Open Heart the author outlines and explains the actual stages of centering prayer.

Jesus of Nazareth Pope Benedict XVI. “This book is… my personal search ‘for the face of the Lord.’”—Benedict XVI. In this bold, momentous work, the pope seeks to salvage the person of Jesus from recent “popular” depictions and to restore Jesus’ true identity as discovered in the Gospels. Through his brilliance as a theologian and his personal conviction as a believer, the pope shares a rich, compelling, flesh-and-blood portrait of Jesus and incites us to encounter, face-to-face, the central figure of the Christian faith.

John Cassian: The Conferences Boniface Ramsey, O.P. The first English translation of the twenty-four dialogues between Cassian and the desert fathers of Egypt with introductory essays, notes and index. A valuable monastic resource for scholar, students and spiritual seekers.

A Key to the Doctrine of the Eucharist Abbot Vonier, OSB. Written to give lay Catholics a better understanding of the Eucharist, this book is recognized as a modern spiritual classic. In remarkably clear and strightforward language, it takes the reader step-by-step into the deepest mysteries of the Eucharist. A Religiously exhilarating journey into the heart of the Christian faith.

Kingdom of God is Like, The Thomas Keating, OCSO. An original and insightful commentary on the parables of Jesus.

Ladder of the Beatitudes, The Jim Forest. Drawing on stories from the lives of the saints, scripture and everyday life the author opens up the mysteries of the beatitudes. Included are readings from the Desert Fathers to Dorothy Day.

Lay Contemplative, The Virginia Manss & Mary Frolich (editors). Written for those who feel called to pursue a contemplative prayer life while living an active life in the world. It provides a variety of resources that will assist the Christian layperson deepen a contemplative vocation.

Listen My Son: St. Benedict for Fathers Dwight Longenecker. Short daily readings from the Rule of St. Benedict with commentary written by a father of four children. This highly creative work is designed to help strenghten men in their roles as fathers and husbands using the Rule of St. Benedict as inspiration and guide.

Listen to the Desert Gregory Mayers. The author selects sayings and stories from the ancient christian desert spirituality and applies them to contemporary human needs.

Lovers of the Place Francis Kline, OCSO. Using allegory, narrative and poetic intuition the author provides insights into monastic conversion inviting all the baptized to participate in the monastic charism now loose in the Church at large.

The Loving Search For God William Meninger, OCSO. Using the Cloud of Unknowing the author explains contemplative prayer and makes it easily approachable to any serious seeker.

Making a Heart For God Dianne Aprile. A personal encounter with daily life inside the Abbey of Gethsemani. An excellent introduction to monastic spirituality by the author who spent a week inside Gethsemani.

Man of Blessing – Life of St. Benedict Carmen Acevedo Butcher. With her background in medieval studies the author does a fine job fleshing out the bare bones account of St. Gregory’s life of the founder of Western monasticism, St. Benedict.

Meeting Islam: A Guide for Christians Deacon George Dardess. The author invites us to explore some of Islam’s key beliefs and practices, using his own failings and successes as a guide. He shares how he sought to build bridges with the local Muslim community, and how his faith has been expanded and enhanced by the relationships and understandings that have resulted.

Merton’s Palace of Nowhere Janes Finley. A journey leading from a false and illusory self to a realization of the true self with Thomas Merton as guide.

The Ministry of Law in the Church Today Rev. Kevin McKenna. A practical guide and rationale for the role of law in the Church for pastoral ministers who are accustomed to seeing canon law as a problem rather than a solution. This book will also appeal to laity who harbor a curiosity about the usefulness of Church law in everyday Christian life.

Monastic Journey Thomas Merton, OCSO. A collection of articles written during the last decade of Merton’s life describing something of the mystery and perennial values of monastic life.

Monastic Practices Charles Cummings, OCSO. Explanation of monastic practices for monks and lay people alike.

Monastic Year, A Br. Victor-Antoine D’Avila Latourrette, OSB. Prayerful reflections based on the monastic liturgical year.

A Monk in the World: Cultivating a Spiritual Life Wayne Teasdale. A Monk in the World shares with us his experience living as a monk outside the monastery, integrating teachings from the world’s religions with his own Catholic training, combining his vigorous spiritual practice with the necessities of making a living, and pursuing a course of social justice in a major American city. In telling his story, Teasdale shows how others can find their own “internal monastery” and bring spiritual practice into their busy lives.

The Monks of Tibhirine John Kiser. The author tells the full story of seven Trappist monks who literally lost their heads for Christ—or more accurately for their fellow humans whom they selflessly loved in Christ—a true story of heroic beauty. The Monks of Tibhirine is an especially valuable book to read in this present moment in history for the profoundly insightful and compassionate way in which the author puts this martyrdom in context.

Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light Brian Kololiejchuk, M.C., editor. This historic work reveals the inner spiritual life of one of the most beloved and important religious figures in history. Many readers, while being able to identify with her experience to some extent, will be surprised at the depth of her trial of faith.

The Mystery of Christ Thomas Keating, OCSO. This book demonstrates the contemplative dimension of Christian liturgy. Keating shares a theological and mystical perspective on the liturgical cycle.

A Mystical Portrait of Jesus Demetrius R. Dumm, OSB. A contemplative reading of a contemplative Gospel. In a lucid and clear style the author goes beyond the literal, historical, and critical approach to reveal the transcendent elements in this unique Gospel.

The Need and Blessing of Prayer Karl Rahner, S.J. With theological passion, spiritual intensity, and the infectious power of igniting thought, Rahner opens up a creative new understanding of prayer.

New Seeds of Contemplation Thomas Merton, OCSO. One of Merton’s most widely read and best-loved works this book will plant many seeds that could bear the fruit of contemplative prayer.

On Human Being: A Spiritual Anthropology Olivier Clement. An exploration into the deeper meaning of what it is to be humanizied, that is, divinized.

Our Splendid Eucharist Raymond Moloney, SJ. A series of reflections, in simple language, on the main lines of our Eucharistic heritage. The approach throughout is meditative rather than speculative, and is designed to bring to bear the best of Christian tradtion on the matter, and to enable the ordinary lay man and woman to deepen what in their hearts they already know and believe.

The Passion and the Cross Ronald Rolheiser, Missionary Oblate of Mary Immaculate. A series of reflections on the mystery of the suffering and the meaning of the cross in the life of Christ and in our own lives. This profound and compassionate spiritual meditation will be of inestimable value to anyone who has ever suffered or struggled in life – which is to say, everyone. A book not just to be read but to savor and pray with, one to be returned to often.

Pathways to our Hearts: A Simple Approach to Lectio Divina With the Sermon on the Mount Cardinal Thomas Collins. Drawn from Archbishop Thomas Collin’s popular monthly lectio divina series at St. Michael’s Cathedral in Toronto, Pathway to Our Hearts invites readers to listen to the word of God and examine what it tells them about loving God with their mind, heart, and hands. With the Sermon on the Mount as his focus, Collins welcomes readers into a nourishing encounter with the word of God, adapting the ancient practice of lectio divina for today’s Catholics.

Pope Benedict: A Personal Portrait H. J. Fischer. This all-new and definitive biography presents a profound portrait of the new Pope: the simple, humble believer, the genius theologian, the firm Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the confidant of John Paul II, and the first new Pope of the twenty-first century. It also lays out the challenging questions and problems awaiting Benedict XVI. This authoritative book is certain to become the most talked-about biography of the year.

The Prayer That Jesus Taught Us Michael Crosby, OFM, Cap. A scholarly reflection on the Lord’s Prayer suggesting social implications of the text for our times for serious and committed Christians.

Praying Through Poetry – Hope for Violent Times Peggy Rosenthal. The author leads the reader through a lectio divina experience using contemporary poems and personal reflections.

Remembering Henri – Reflections on Henri Nouwen’s life by those who knew and worked with him, edited by Gerald Twomey & Claude Pomerleau. Including an interview by Fr. John Eudes Bamberger, OCSO, Abbot of Genesee during Henri’s retreats there.

Rule of St. Benedict, The Joan Chittister, OSB. A new translation of the Rule of St. Benedict with a lively and inspiring commentary arranged for daily reading.

Sacred Reading Michael Casey, OCSO. A bold and engaging examination of the Western tradition of lectio divina, the contemplative approach to sacred writing, notably the Bible and the spiritual classics.

Saint Benedict For The Laity A layman presents Benedictine values that can be incorporated in the lives of those living in ‘the outside world’.

Sayings of the Desert Fathers Benedicta Ward, SLG. The alphabetical collection of the early desert fathers and mothers of the 4th & 5th centuries.

A School of Love M. Basil Pennington, OCSO. Abbot Basil shows how the ancient Cistercian tradition speaks to the challenge of leading a balanced spiritual life in the 21st century. He achieves this by presenting a summary of the teaching of the four Cistercian evangelists William of St. Thierry, Aelred of Rievaulx, Guerric of Igny and Bernard of Clairvaux.

School of Prayer, The John Brook. An introduction to the liturgy of the hours for all christians complete with a four week cycle of morning and evening prayer.

Seasons of Grace Mother Gail Fitzpatrick, OCSO. Aptly subtitled Wisdom From The Cloister this work contains fifty reflections based on Mother Gail’s chapter talks given to her community of Trappistine nuns at Our Lady of the Mississippi in Dubuque, Iowa.

Seeking His Mind by Basil Pennington, OCSO. A collection of forty Scripture passages from the life of Christ accompanied by an insightful meditation on each one. In this book Fr. Basil shares with us the fruits of his own lectio divina. It is available at both Christianbook and (less expensively) Amazon

Strangers To The City Michael Casey, OCSO offers his reflections on the beliefs and values of the Rule of St. Benedict for monastics within and without monasteries who are interested in deepening their faith through the dynamics of monastic experience.

Story of a Life Guy Gaucher. Modern biography of St. Therese of Lisieux.

Story of A Soul St. Therese of Lisieux. Original autobiography of St. Therese.

Thomas Merton’s American Prophecy Robert Inchausti. The author provides a succinct summary and original interpretation of Merton’s contribution to American thought. More than just a critical biography, this book lifts Merton out of the isolation of his monastic sub-culture and brings him back into dialogue with contemporary secular thinkers.

Thomas Merton’s Paradise Journey William Shannon. An extensive revision of the author’s earlier work Thomas Merton’s Dark Path. This volume includes substantial excerpts from Merton’s unpublished The Inner Experience to provide a masterful exposition of contemplation according to Merton.

Thoughts Matter: The Practice of the Spiritual Life Mary Margaret Funk, O.S.B. Sister Mary Margaret explains the theory and practice of dealing with mindless thoughts developed by the great fourth-century monk John Cassian. She interprets them in a contemporary way suitable not only for nuns and monks but for everyone who is serious about the spiritual life.

Tools Matter for Practicing the Spiritual Life Sr. Mary Margaret Funk, OSB. In this work the author does what Thoughts Matter did but with practice rather than thoughts. She effectively develops some twenty-five traditional tools of the spiritual life and suggests ways for using them in our lives.

Truly Our Sister Elizabeth A. Johnson, C.S.J. a feminist interpretation of Mary, the Mother of God, that is theologically sound, spiritually empowering, ethically challenging, socially liberating and ecumenically fruitful. An engaging study in theology as well as mariology.

Twelve Months of Monastery Soups Br. Victor-Antoine D’Avila Latourrette, OSB. A companion volume to From a Monastery. Kitchen (listed above) this work offers a collection of international vegetarian soup recipes.

The Way of the Disciple Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis. The author, a lay theologian, develops six principle gospel themes drawing out their challenging implications for Christian discipleship. A good book for serious spiritual reading.

Way of Simplicity Esther De Waal. Drawing on 12th century and contemporary Cistercians the author reveals the riches of the Cistercian (Trappist) tradition and its relevance for today. Anyone wishing to explore Cistercian spirituality will find this book an illuminating and practical guide.

Wisdom Distilled From the Daily Joan Chittister, OSB. A timely guide for living according to Benedictine spirituality in the modern world.

Wisdom of the Cloister John Skinner (ed). 365 daily readings in monastic spirituality from its beginnings to the present time. This anthology of monastic wisdom is a resource for daily lectio and an overview of the world of monastic spirituality.

The Yes of Jesus Christ Pope Benedict XVI. A reprint of To Look On Christ by the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger published in 1991. In this work the author attemps to answer the great questions of human existence by inviting us to rediscover the Christ-centered basis for faith, hope and love.