Whether you’re an avid reader, or not, everyone likes owning great books. So why not consider giving some great Catholic books to friends and family this year? Here are a few top picks for a spectrum of loved ones on your list.
Slow down, read poems
Title: Poems Every Catholic Should Know
Author: Joseph Pearce
Publisher: Tan Books
In an interview with Denver Catholic in 2014, English-born author and Director of the Center for Faith and Culture at Aquinas College in Nashville, Tennessee, stated that what the world desperately needs more of is poetry. Why? Because it slows us down. You need time and silence to read poetry—and what better way to introduce a loved one to poetry than through this little anthology of the finest Christian verse.
The darkest of hours
Title: He Leadeth Me: An Extraordinary Testament of Faith
Author: Jesuit Fathers Walter J. Ciszek and Daniel L. Flaherty
Life is full of difficulty, and sometimes we just need to hear the story of how others get through it. This is the great service Jesuit Father Walter J. Ciszek offers in “He Leadeth Me.” Father Ciszez spent 23 agonizing years in Soviet prisons and the labor camps of Siberia, and this is the story of how he survived. It’s a story about facing loneliness, pain, hardship, fear and despair, and finding the courage and strength to continue each day in prayer. This is a book that inspires the reader to greater trust and faith in God, no matter the obstacles or trials.
The great intellects of Catholicism
Title: A Deeper Vision: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Twentieth Century
Author: Robert Royal
Publisher: Ignatius press
One of the greatest lies of the modern era is that people of faith are simpletons who believe myths and fairy tales about a non-existent God. Anyone who believes that hasn’t met Robert Royal, or read his comprehensive overview of the Catholic intellectual tradition in the twentieth century. As Catholics, we often forget that we have as part of our tradition extraordinary people with great minds that have generated schools of remarkable thought. Read in this volume about such Catholic, faithful, and yes, intellectual powerhouses such as Jacques Maritain, Edith Stein, Romano Guardini, and our two most recent Popes, Karol Wojtyla (Saint John Paul II), and Joseph Ratzinger (Benedict XVI), and many, many others.
A life of praise
Title: Elizabeth of the Trinity: A Life of Praise to God
Author: Sr. Giovanna Della Croce
Publisher: Sophia Institute Press
Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity was canonized by Pope Francis last October, and Sophia Institute Press has made available in English a very accessible introduction to this Carmelite nun who lived a short, but intensely spiritual life. Particularly in what has become a very noisy Christmas season, the message of St. Elizabeth will be a balm to the soul of the mystics on your list. She reminds us that union with God requires silence and stillness, and that we are created to be loved by God.
Loads of useful information
Title: Catholic Bible Dictionary
Author: Scott Hahn
Publisher: Ascension Press
The adjective for this book is “useful.” For anyone who has any interest in Scripture, this is a must-have resource for their home library. Scott Hahn, internationally renowned theologian and biblical scholar, has compiled the go-to Scripture reference guide for Catholics. Jen Steed of the Happy Little Homemaker blog summed it up best in her review on this book when she outlined the four people who didn’t need this book: Biblical scholars, and Catholics with a lot of time (to study), space (to store tons of book) and money (to buy the books and take classes). If the Bible student on your list isn’t in one of those categories, buy them this book. If they are one of the above, buy them the next one!
Title: Douay-Rheims and Clementina Vulgata
Translator: St. Jerome
Publisher: Baronius Press
This isn’t a book for everyone, and at $89.95, plus shipping and handling, it’s the most expensive book in this list. But you might have someone on your list who would treasure a Latin on one side, English on the other, leather bound book of Sacred Scripture with gilded page edges. The Clementine Vulgate was proclaimed the official Latin Bible of the Church after the Reformation, and the Douay Rheims Bible is the translation of the Vulgate. Test your Latin skills and read Scripture in Latin and English! Dr. Taylor Marshall’s review on the website: Do you want a Latin Vulgate with Douay Rheims in English on the opposite page. Bingo! Get (the) leatherbound version of the Clementine Latin Vulgate from Baronius Press.
The hidden gem of a martyr
Title: The Sadness of Christ
Author: St. Thomas More
Publisher: Scepter publishers
This book is a long meditation on the Passion and Death of Christ, which might seem a little out of place at Christmas time, but Lent is just around the corner! This is a not often talked about work of St. Thomas More, written in the Tower of London before he was executed for standing firm in his Catholic faith. The author most known for The Utopia, reflects at length on the agony of Our Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane, demonstrating Christ as a model of virtue in the face of suffering and persecution. Find important lessons here on prayer, courage, friendship and even statesmanship.
Being Catholic today
Title: Letters to a Young Catholic
Author: George Weigel
Publisher: Basic Books
What list of Catholic books would be complete without least one from Denver Catholic syndicated columnist George Weigel? In Letters to a Young Catholic, Weigel takes Catholics of any age on a tour of the great places of Catholic history—from the Sistine Chapel to Chartres Cathedral to St. Mary’s Church in Greenville, South Carolina to G.K. Chesterton’s favorite pub in Oxford. Learn from a man who has forgotten more Church history than you will ever know, the essential elements of Catholic culture throughout the Church’s rich 2,000-year history. This is essential reading for every Catholic. Also check out Evangelical Catholicism (Basic Books, 2013).