1. “The Art of Prayer: An Orthodox Anthology” — Compiled by Igumen¬†Chariton of Valano, edited with intro. by Timothy Ware.

(COMMENTS: A superb anthology of prayer from the Orthodox tradition. The particular focus is the Jesus Prayer. Pay close attention in this one to the warnings given by the Holy Fathers regarding prayer of the heart!)

2. “The Way of as Pilgrim” and “The Pilgrim Continues on His Way” —- Trans. by R.M. French with intro. by Huston Smith.

(COMMENTS: This is one of the single most incredible books I’ve ever read. It was anonymously written around the most likely circa the late 1850s since there are references to the Crimean War. No person can read this book in it’s entirety and not be changed by it.)

3. “Merton’s Palace of Nowhere” by James Finley.

(COMMENTS: This book was given to me by a close friend on the very day that I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. I have absolutely seen enough in my life to cause me to believe in that kind of Providence. The book is about the writings of Thomas Merton and Finley’s commentary and analysis of those writings.¬†A central focus is the idea of the “false selves” and the “True Self.” It is a must read for anyone searching for a truly Godly direction out of the malaise that is our modern culture of shallow consumerism and materialism where the individual often comes to feel lost in a myriad of¬†¬†false identities.)

4. “Christ the Eternal Tao”¬†by Hieromonk Damascene

(COMMENTS: One of my favorites but definitely not a book for everyone. However, if you are looking for the most brilliant yet succinct and readable bridge and reconciliation between the cosmological views of traditional Chinese philosophy (i.e. Taoism) and Christianity, this is the best book bar none!)

5. “The Orthodox Way”¬†by Bishop Kallistos Ware.

(COMMENTS: Bishop Kallistos Ware is Timothy Ware referenced above. This book is an outstanding introduction to the Eastern Orthodox Christian Faith. It always amazes me how very little to nothing that¬†we Protestants, Roman Catholics, and Evangelicals know about the oldest of Christian Churches — the Eastern Orthodox Church. It is worth reading for any Christian who wishes to know more about the roots of Christianity. Don’t worry, Bishop Ware does not try to convert anyone in this book!)

6. “The Philokalia” 4 volumes. Published by Faber and Faber.

(COMMENTS: Though these four volumes are on my suggested reading list, there is a caveat. One should not get over their head in these as I did! Though these volumes are worth knowing about and even perusing through, they are most intended for monks and spiritual adepts whom have truly qualified spiritual directors to help them through them. There really are great dangers to the novice like myself who attempts too greatly to delve into their teachings and practices. They are certainly NOT the spiritual “baby food” the Apostle Paul wrote of. Nonetheless, it is a good thing for the intellectually oriented or engaged Christian to know of their existence and even take a humble glance at them, should they ever get the chance,¬†but is by no means required.)

7. “On the Prayer of Jesus” by Ignatius Brianchaninov.

(COMMENTS: A brilliant and powerful exposition on the practice and nature of the Prayer of Jesus. Pay special attention in this book to the methods of practicing the prayer from St. John of the Ladder as this is considered the safest way for us beginners to approach and practice the prayer without creating great dangers for ourselves.)

8.¬† “The Pilgrim Progress” by John Bunyan.

(COMMENTS: This seventeenth-century Protestant classic needs little introduction. It is still a great read for any one seeking a more metaphorical and allegorical portrait of our journey.)

9. “Becoming Who You Are: Insights on the True Self from Thomas Merton and other Saints” ¬†by James Martin, S.J.

(COMMENTS: If you enjoyed “Merton’s Palace of Nowhere,” you will certainly enjoy this profoundly simple¬†but immensely powerful book. It is also about the “false selves” and the “True Self.”)

10. “Transformation in Christ” by Dietrich von Hildebrand.

(COMMENTS: My favorite chapter in this one is the one on mercy. Nowhere else have I ever seen it explained so clearly and methodically why the word “mercy” is the word used and emphasized above other similar words in prayers like the Jesus Prayer.)

11. “His Life is Mine”¬†by Archimandrite Sophrony.

(COMMENTS: A truly profound work that MUST be read to be fully appreciated. I am sure I will read it again in the future even though I have already read it at least twice.)

12. “The City of God” and “Confessions” by St. Augustine.

13. “The Imitation of Christ” by Thomas a Kempis.

(COMMENTS: This spiritual masterpiece cannot be read quickly. It must be ruminated upon in small doses.)

14. “The Ethics of Freedom”¬†by Jacques Ellul.

(COMMENTS: This book has well confirmed in me something that I have come to believe after many years of historical study, and that is that Jesus Christ negates ALL arbitrary man-made political, social, and economic hierarchies. This world can give NO freedom in actuality. True freedom comes only from a relationship and an awareness of God.)

15. “The Essential Writings of Edith Stein” compiled by John Sullivan, OCD.

(COMMENTS: St. Edith Stein (St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross) was one of the most powerful intellectuals of her time. Her life’s journey from Judaism, to atheism and academia, to Roman Catholicism, and finally,¬†to her martyrdom at Auschwitz on August 9th, 1942, is among the most awe-inspiring and moving stories of any pilgrim of whom I’ve ever read. I relate to her deeply and have had a personal¬†experience of magnificent Grace and Providence involving her. She deeply motivates me and is always with me.)

16. “Sincerely Seelos: The Collected Letters of Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos” edited by Carl Hoegerl, C.SS.R.

(COMMENTS: Father Seelos’ story can be learned about more at the his link on the right hand side of the main page of this Blog under WEB LINKS.)

17. “The Riddle of Roman Catholicism”¬†by Jaroslav Pelikan.

(COMMENTS: Though this book is older (ca.1959) and written before Vatican II, it is a very readable and well-written book that is designed for Protestants who do not really understand Roman Catholicism. The book is written by a Protestant theologian and, I believe, it is a wonderful book to help many Protestants clear up many of their misconceptions about the Roman Catholic Church.)

18. “Dying to Be Me”¬†by Anita Moorjani.

(COMMENTS: Anita’s story of her Near Death Experience (NDE) is among the most truly unbelievable. She “died” from cancer and came back cured. Her link is listed under her name on the main page of this Blog site at the right under Web Links. This is a must read for Eastern and Western readers wishing to understand NDE’s better.)

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