Spiritual direction reading plan – Part I
When I entered into spiritual direction one of my first assignments was to read “Spiritual Progress” by Father Thomas Williams, LC. This was a great starting point for me to begin this important trek. My challenge was that, as a convert to Catholicism, my head was filled with a handful of ideas about the spiritual life that were not well integrated yet. I had a number of questions like, What were the distinctions between meditation and contemplation? Where should I start as I seek to deepen my prayer life (vocal prayer, mental prayer, etc.) Is contemplation just thinking about Christ, or is it far more than that? How can I deepen my relationship with Christ?
My spiritual director helped me through these and many other questions, but I am aware that many of you don’t have access to a director at this time, and may not in the near future. If I had to do it all over again and I did not have a spiritual director, I would read the following books in the order I have listed them below.
This list in this order would have helped me avoid a good measure of confusion. Each of these books will benefit beginners, experienced begin-againers, and the experienced seeking to build or rebuild greater depth. These works (with the exception of the Gospel meditations section of “The Better Part”) are instructional works, not devotional. They are recommended here because they illumine the spiritual path clearly, concisely, and with sufficient depth and breadth for most readers.
- Spiritual Progress by Father Thomas D. Williams, LC: This book will provide a broad and foundational overview regarding how to progress in the spiritual life.
- Prayer Primer by Father Thomas Dubay, SM: This book will establish a solid foundation of understanding of all key forms of prayer along with the challenges and benefits of each.
- The Better Part by Father John Bartunek, LC: This book will take you deeper into your knowledge of Christ through a clear guide to meditation method and daily readings on the Gospels. This is excellent preparation for contemplative prayer.
- Deep Conversion/Deep Prayer by Father Thomas Dubay, SM: This book will help to keep you motivated and encouraged in your spiritual development.