10 Books Every Catholic Should Read

With the weather getting warmer and sunnier every day, it’s a great time to pick out some summer reading! While you relax in the sunshine and enjoy the gifts of God’s creation, consider getting in touch with your spirituality with one of the books on our Catholic reading list!

  1. “Catholic Treasury of Prayers”

For the price of a latte and scone, you can pick up this brief, though extensive, volume of popular prayers subtitled “A Collection of Prayers for All Times and Seasons.” One of the most helpful sections provide the prayers from the Mass, while another offers the 14 prayers said during the Stations of the Cross.

  1. “No Greater Love” by Mother Teresa

In this autobiographical confession of faith, Mother Teresa offers a powerful message that inspires us to live humble lives ministering to those in need. It’s also refreshing to read that even a future saint often lived through pangs of helplessness, doubt, and weakness.

  1. “Beautiful Mercy” by Pope Francis, Matthew Kelly, and other Catholic authors

This collection of essays, with an introduction from Pope Francis, is a call to action to live out the Corporal and Spiritual Acts of Mercy during the Church’s Year of Mercy. Pope Francis has asked for special focus and action on mercy this year, “so that we may become a more effective sign of the Father’s actions in our lives … a time when the witness of believers might grow stronger and more effective.” Readers will be inspired to act and celebrate this Jubilee of Mercy in meaningful, concrete ways.

  1. “The Mass: The Glory, The Mystery, The Tradition” by Cardinal Donald Wuerl and Mike Aquilina

Having an understanding of the symbols, gestures, and prayers celebrated during Mass is vitally important to strengthening your faith. This book not only provides that understanding, it also explains why Catholics do what they do during the “source and summit” of Catholicism.

  1. “The Seven Storey Mountain” by Thomas Merton

Thomas Merton began life at the dawn of World War I in France as a non-Catholic. By the age of 23, Merton converted to Catholicism and by 26, he entered a Trappist monastery in Kentucky. The writing in this vivid account of spiritual seeking has the literary quality of a Hemingway novel and offers lasting wisdom about the role of suffering, the modern obsession with artificial desires, and the goal of spiritual perfection.

  1. “The Long Loneliness” by Dorothy Day

In her autobiography, Day reflects on her life as a writer, social activist, and Catholic. Faith and community informed Day’s work with the poor and marginalized and were solutions to “the long loneliness” of the soul she experienced. We can learn from Day’s example of living a life filled with love and community in the midst of our own busy and sometimes lonely existence.

  1. “Crossing the Threshold of Hope” by Pope Saint John Paul II

Hearing what a pope has to say provides an intimate glimpse into the heart, soul, and legacy of the Catholic Church. In this candid dialogue, John Paul II answers such questions as: “Have you ever once hesitated in your belief in your relationship with Jesus Christ? If God exists why is he hiding? Why so many religions? Is there really hope in the young?”

8. “The Screwtape Letters” by C.S. Lewis

This book provides an urgent wake-up call, reminding the reader that “the devil is a liar” who wants the damnation of your soul. This fictional narrative takes the form of a dialogue between Wormwood and his “affectionate uncle” Screwtape, two demons who converse through letters about the attempts to tempt a fictional “patient.”

  1. “The Story of a Soul” by Saint Thérèse of Lisieux

Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, a 19th century Carmelite nun who died of tuberculosis at the age of 24, is most commonly known as “The Little Flower.” She wrote, “What matters in life is not great deeds, but great love.” She also conveyed that all people have different talents, gifts, and strengths, yet all are beautiful in distinct ways, just like the flowers of the earth. Her life is a shining example of holiness, simplicity, and a love of God in action.

  1. “The Bible”

Lastly, by reading the Bible, we gain a stronger relationship with Jesus. Nothing could be more important. Since there are hundreds of different versions and translations of the Bible, Busted Halo provides a nice summary of how to select the version that is right for you. A great option for those on the go is to sign up for an e-mail of the Daily Readings from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Michael T. Best is the author of two novels for young readers ("The Road to Thune" and "Odyssey Rising") as well as "Great Americans: The Founders," a history book profiling ten forgotten heroes of the Revolutionary War era. He lives in California with his wife, two sons and a dog named Scully. He has also volunteered with youth and young adult ministries and his short story "The Angel Crisis" will appear in Liguorian Magazine in September.