Stoke the fire in your soul

We are all creatures of habit. From the moment we get out of bed in the morning until we return there in the evening, our daily routines are much the same. We drive the same way to work, during which we listen to the same radio station; we stop at the same coffee shop where we buy the same coffee. At night, we make the same meals and mindlessly watch the same television shows. Then we pray the same prayers. And the cycle begins again the next morning.

We do this every day, all the while longing for more.

We crave the peace that we know will only come from knowing Christ better, understanding his Church more, learning about those who devoted their lives to doing his will. And yet we leave no time to tend that fire that is burning within us.

But in order to change our lives, we first must change our habits. St. Paul of the Cross gives us a few suggestions: “Prayer, good reading, the frequentation of the sacraments ... these are, believe me, the means of sanctifying yourself.”

While a stronger prayer life and more frequent reception of the sacraments are obvious ways to grow in faith, many ignore the third recommendation: good reading. Because in order to grow spiritually, we must grow in intellect and understanding — of God and of ourselves. More importantly, we must make time to sit in silence and be inspired.

St. Jerome said, “When we pray, we speak to God; but when we read, God speaks to us.”

What God is offering us in that silence is an invitation to know him better. Are we too busy to accept?

On the following pages, Our Sunday Visitor suggests a list of books that are sure to inform and inspire you on your faith journey. Take the time this fall to stir that fire within, because if you’re tired of being stagnant in your faith, perhaps it’s time to turn the page.

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Author: Daniel C. Mattson
Price: $17.95
Summary: Daniel C. Mattson has written a moving story of his life that is thoroughly grounded in his Catholic faith and his determination not to be defined by his sexual identity. Perhaps the defining chapter — and the hardest to understand in a secular world where the label “gay” has become a battle cry for tolerance — might be “Why I Don’t Call Myself Gay.” “It seems to me that we should naturally be suspicious of the words a man chooses to describe his sexuality,” Mattson writes. “... The biggest reason I refuse to call myself gay is simple: I don’t think it’s objectively true.” Mattson emphasizes the beauty of loneliness, the nature of friendship and the strength he draws from the true
teachings of the Church.
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Author: Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle
Publisher: Orbis Books
Price: $20
Summary: Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle has emerged as a key voice on renewing the Church by focusing on those on the margins of society. “I Have Learned From the Least” is a book-length interview that lets Cardinal Tagle tell the story of his formation in the Philippines and his experiences as a young priest living in the United States. The book also allows the cardinal to discuss the future of the Church in Asia, the necessity of caring for the poor and the importance of being good stewards of God’s creation. As one likely to appear on the short lists of potential popes at the next conclave, his voice is an important one in the Church today and going forward.
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