Wednesday, May 18, 2016

More Reading on Spirituality

I have recently finished four books in my daily readings.  I really liked three of them, the fourth not as much. Here they are:

1) Rediscover Jesus by Matthew Kelly.  Yes, I really, really like Matthew Kelly's writing and this
book was no exception.  I wish that I would have used it during Lent and will from now on.  It is divided into forty sections. Each section is only two or three pages, then ends with a page that has Points to Ponder, Verse to Live, Question to Consider, and Prayer. The book is designed to bring the reader closer to Jesus and to learn more about themselves and how they want to live their live.  I found it incredibly moving and useful.

2) The next book that I read was Celebration of Discipline by Richard J. Foster.  It is a book recommended by Matthew Kelly for spiritual reading.  The subtitle is The Path to Spiritual Growth. 
I had a bit of a hard time in the beginning of my reading trying to figure out what the author meant by "the disciplines".  It just didn't ring familiar with my Catholic knowledge, so I wasn't sure what exactly her was talking about.  I sometimes (ok, often) tend to think too hard about something and that gets me lost.  That's what I was doing here, I think.  I believe that disciplines are from the author's Quaker background.  That makes sense to me.  Regardless, once I was able to just move past my confusion about "disciplines", I loved the book.  This book was written in 1978...thirty-eight years ago. It is now considered a classic in Spirituality.

The book is divided into three sections.  The first section considers the inward disciplines which are mediation, prayer, fasting and study.  The second section considers simplicity, submission, solitude and service. These are the outward disciplines.  And the third section is about the corporate disciplines of confession, worship, guidance and celebration.

Although the book appears to be written about the Quaker way, the author does a great job incorporating how the subject matter would tie in or work in other faiths.  He incorporates many different spiritual leaders thoughts, such as Thomas Merton, a Benedictine mystic, and St. Francis of Assisi, to name a few. I ended up highlighting what seemed to be half the book.  It is a very good read for studying spirituality.

3) And then I went on to Everybody Needs to Forgive Somebody by Allen R. Hunt. This is a
powerful, wonderful, small book of eleven short chapters.  At the end of each chapter is a page that contains Questions for Discussion and Real Life Help. Each chapter tells a story about forgiveness and how working to forgive others frees us.

An example of Real Life Help from one of the chapters:
"Resolve today that you will be a forgiver.  Even if you have no idea how, decide to be a forgiver anyway.  It is much like learning to ride a bike. You only learn to forgive as you begin doing it.  Set your mind and your spirit on forgiveness.  Often, the one thing that most prevents moving forward is not being able to decide, 'I am choosing to be  a forgiver'.  Choose forgiveness today."

4) And most recently, I read Made for More by Curtis Martin.  My take on this book was that the author was trying to prove that Jesus was God.  And a lot of the book
was interesting as he looked at both sides of issues.  I really only enjoyed the very last chapter, which was the author's "personal search for truth". I found the book to be very Catholic oriented, so be fore-warned.

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