There are TONS of Catholic books out there, for different topics and reading levels.
But only a few of them are the classics – the ones you just can’t go through life without reading.
Our bookworms here at Everything Catholic put together a “top 10” mix of classics in spiritual reading, apologetics and literature. They’ve stood the test of time (hundreds of years in some cases!) and they’re still as fresh as ever.
How many have you read?
The best-selling Christian book of all time…besides the Bible, of course. It’s divided up into four parts with short chapters, so it’s great to read before bed or over a cup of coffee in the morning. There are whole sections written like a conversation between the soul and God that will inspire you — and challenge you — in your spiritual life. St. Therese of Lisieux said it was one of her favorite books.
How can lay people grow in holiness? That’s what this book is all about. And even though St. Francis de Sales wrote it over four hundred years ago, his advice still holds up. Reading this book is like listening to a good spiritual director. He’s firm but gentle, encouraging and practical. Follow his advice and you’ll be glad you did!
St. Therese is one of the most popular and influential saints of the 20th century. Which is pretty remarkable, since she died at age 24, spent the last years of her life hidden from the world in a convent, and her own religious sisters didn’t think there was anything really special about her. But her sanctity was incredible — and relatable. Her concept of the Little Way has been a game-changer in people’s spiritual lives.
Likely the first Christian book to reach “classic” status. St. Augustine pours out his heart as he looks back over his life, especially his long journey of conversion. Along the way, he reflects on sin, grace, love and beauty. It’s an especially good story if you know someone who’s fallen away from their faith. Because if God’s grace could bring Augustine back, then there’s hope for everyone.
Most Catholics go through the motions at Sunday Mass without knowing WHY they do what they’re doing. When you read this book, you’ll discover the deeper (and mind-boggling) meaning behind the Mass. Scott Hahn’s got a knack for writing in a style that’s accessible to everyone, whether you’re a scholar or just want to know your faith a little better. One thing’s for sure — after reading this, you won’t look at the Mass the same way again.
It’s part novel, part spiritual reading. It’s amusing yet profound. It’s loaded with insights, and loaded with irony. C.S. Lewis turns the traditional spiritual story on its head by making the devils the main characters. But don’t worry, you’re not supposed to root for them. Instead, as you read their fictional letters, you'll realize the spiritual life is a lot more like a battle than you think.
It’s important for Catholics to read good stories. And you can’t go wrong with the Chronicles of Narnia. They’re packed with Christian meaning, but not preachy. They’re fun and adventurous, but profound. They’re solid books for kids, and even more meaningful for adults. If you’re an adult and haven't read them yet, then you’re in for a treat.
The quintessential epic fantasy. Tolkien was a strong Catholic, and it comes through in the writing. You’ll find yourself deeply immersed in a story of good vs. evil, courage and sacrifice, peril and triumph. Trust us, it’s better than anything Amazon tries to create based on it.
You could read it cover to cover. Or you could pick it up when you want to know more about a specific topic. Either way, you’ll be blown away. There’s so much to learn about the Catholic Faith, and the way it’s all packed in here is just incredible. Keep it on your shelf to use as a reference, or as a jumping point for topics you want to explore deeper.
It's one thing to read about God and about the Faith. It's another thing to actually get to know God through the Bible. Catholics are called to be deeply rooted in Scripture. After all, it’s the Word of God! So yes, it sounds cliche, but it’s true: reading the Bible every day will change your life.
What Catholic classics do you recommend? Share and comment!