The first thing I was going to do was dive right into my spiritual reading list. But it dawned on me that I have to backtrack for just a moment and discuss the importance of spiritual reading.
Did you ever have that good friend that you can always go to for advice? Or when you weren’t even in need of advice, they share their life’s story and journey with you? They tell you what they went through, how they did it, and who helped them along the way.
Spiritual reading is like that. You see, when we pray, we talk to God. But when we read, we hear Him talk back to us.
Spiritual reading is important for building up a good conscience. To listen to the words of God and to meditate on them. What is even great about spiritual reading is that we have an abundance of writers from Saints to Popes, to theologians to read that will help us on our path the holiness.
After all, that is why we read spiritual books — build ourselves up, and to help us on our path to holiness.
So now that we have the why sorted out let’s get straight to the how.
How To Read Spiritually
Pick the spiritual book. The most common book is the Bible, but there are many books out there that will help you on your spiritual journey. You don’t have to be a theologian or a philosopher to read these books, spiritual books are found at any (intellectual) level that works for you. One of the best ways I like start is to read what it is you believe in the first place.
Begin with prayer. To start to read spiritually, I believe that we must start with prayer. To open our hearts and minds to hear the Words of God, but to open our hearts to accept it. You can say a small prayer, put on soothing music to get your mind and your heart ready to listen. In our days, we are usually busy running to one appointment to the other, but when we spiritually read, we are taking time out in our day to listen to what God has to say to us.
Read a little at a time. When you come across a passage that strikes you stop for that moment. Re-read it again and take a moment for it to absorb in you. Dwell on it. When you find your mind wondering, go back to reading and continue to do this process for as long as you like. There are countless lessons that I have read, and learned from by doing this.
Don’t demand too much too soon. I am a person who needs learn from this! When I started spiritual reading, I figured that I could just zoom through the books, but I found that it takes me much longer to get through my books. However, after reading and realizing that it is no ordinary book and there is depth and richness on each page, I had to slow down, and absorb it.
Just remember, this is nothing like fiction. While reading fiction books, I find that you can zoom through it, and in a month you may or not remember the story. When we read for our souls, we don’t usually run through the books (there will be days where a book just can’t be put down) but we slowly absorb it.
In order for me to better absorb it, sometimes I would share a passage with my family and we’ll discuss it. Or if you’re not ready to discuss it, you write it down.
Things to Remember
- Spiritual reading is reading for our soul. It’s not bashing other people’s religion. If you’re reading something that seems to demonize someone’s religion, I urge you to seek out the truth. Pick up a book from that person’s faith, and try to understand it. One of the most common misconceptions we have today is people do not understand what it is others believe, but feel entitled to tell others about their own faith and what’s wrong with it. This way does not open us up for dialogue.
- Be open to the Holy Spirit. Pope Francis always reminds us to be open to the Holy Spirit and how He may surprise us. The same thing goes for spiritual reading. Try your best to read with an open mind and heart.
- Sometimes not all spiritual reading is fun, but it is fruitful. Ever had that class that had that text that just kept putting you to sleep? Yeah, I’ve had that as well. What I’ve learned is that what’s turning us off could be our minds not ready to absorb the text, or we precondition ourselves to say that “it’s boring.” The way I see it, is that there are many things that we must do in our lives that may not be fun, but has a good outcome. We must keep this is mind. Just like the soldier has to go through boot camp to be a good soldier, we too must read through things that makes us uncomfortable in order to be better Christians and followers of Christ.
Next post, I will be discussion one of the books that I’m currently reading: The Imitation of Christ and what lessons I have learned from it, and why it should be on your list to read.
What are some things that you do when you read spiritually? What was the last book that you’ve read?