Some General Notes

Before I continue to give my reflections on The Fire Within: St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, and the Gospel-On Prayer. I must acknowledge a tip that was provided in a comment. Apparently Fr. Dubay has written another book on this same subject that is more accessible to the casual reader. The title is Prayer Primer : Igniting a Fire Within. Thanks for the tip Ted!

If you are interested in doing some spiritual reading, but do not want to spend a lot of money on books (libraries usually do not have many spiritual books), then you might want to check out http://www.ccel.org/. It is a free online resource provided by Calvin College. It only has the classics though (because they were written before Copyrights), and many of the books are from famous protestant authors. Many Catholic classics are available on the site too: the major works of St. John of the Cross and Teresa of Avila, some letters of the Little Flower, The Imitation of Christ, and The Introduction to the Devout Life, to name a few. If you are interested in doing spiritual reading, do not get the impression from my last post that it is a very dangerous thing. I just think that, in general, it is easy to misunderstand other people when they talk about the spiritual life, because the spiritual realities that are being described do not fit into the normal categories that we use to describe physical things (size, shape, taste, etc.).

If you are looking to really take your spiritual life seriously, and you want to avoid most of the pitfalls, then the best thing to do is to find yourself a Spiritual Director. A Spiritual Director is someone who becomes the guide of your soul; a person who can see what is happening in your spiritual life and tell you what to do. Generally speaking, a spiritual director is a priest, but it is not unheard of for extremely holy religious to become spiritual directors in special cases (St. Teresa was her brother's spiritual director). Now the question is "which of the many priests or possibly religious I know will make a good spiritual director for me?" The best advise I can give here is the very advice that Jesus gave us all: "You will be able to tell them by their fruits"(Matt 7). If it seems that this particular person is making saints out of people in the other areas of their ministry, then there is a good chance that they will make a saint out of you too.

To end I will leave you with my favorite quote from my favorite spiritual work, The Imitation of Christ.

"Indeed, by loving myself badly I lost myself; by seeking only You and by truly loving You I have found both myself and You, and by that love I have reduced myself more profoundly to nothing." (Book III, ch.8)

  1. gravatar

    # by Anonymous - July 15, 2007 at 7:07 PM

    For a good book on Spiritual Direction and finding a good and holy spiritual director, Father Thomas Dubay has written an outstanding book entitled, "Seeking Spiritual Direction: How to Grow the Divine Life Within"

    This book can be found at Amazon.com:
    http://www.amazon.com/Seeking-Spiritual-Direction-Divine-Within/dp/0892838108

    Praised be Jesus Christ,
    Michael