How to Start a Good Catholic Library – Part 2

Diocese of Thunder Bay Crest

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love to read. The Holy Spirit worked through books to bring me closer to God. In my mind, books have changed my life. I recently listened to an amazing new podcast, The Burrowshire Podcast with Brandon Vogt, from Word on Fire, and Fr. Blake Britton. I know many of our subscribers do not listen to podcasts. Therefore, over the next few weeks I will share with you some of the wisdom from these two men, as well as some must have books! What core books to have in your library:

The Big Three

  1. The Bible
  2. The Catechism of the Catholic Church
  3. The Collected Documents of the Second Vatican Council

Other Necessary Books:

4.  Bible Commentaries ‐ at least one, if not a series, that unpacks the Sacred Scriptures for you. This could also mean a Study Bible. A perfect example would be the Word on Fire Bible that will soon be released and available on our Adult Faith Office. The New Jerome Biblical Commentary by Fr. Brown is an easy to read single volume. The Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture Series (on the New Testament). The Ancient Christian Commentary Series is a collection of commentaries on the scriptures from the Church Fathers. There is approximately one volume per book of the Bible. These are very expensive per volume. If you want to invest in one or two or perhaps start with the Gospels, especially the Gospel of John.

5.  Liturgy of the Hours of the single volume of Christian Prayer.

6.  Books that trace the life of Jesus Christ. Some examples:
To Know Christ Jesus, by Frank Sheed; Life of Christ by Fulton Sheen; Jesus of Nazareth a 3 Volume series by Pope Benedict; The Lord by Romano Guardini

7.  Writings of the Church Fathers. Patristics-­‐ the study of writings of the Church Fathers. Examples: St. Vladimir Seminary Press edition of the popular Patristic Text Edition

8.  Lives of the Saints. Find some saints that you know and love, or perhaps pick a saint that you do not know.

9.  Books on prayer and spiritual life by saints and Doctors of the Church. Interior Castle by St. Teresa of Avila; St. John of the Cross; Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis De Sales; The Spiritual Exercises by St. Ignatius

To build a Catholic library does not mean having only philosophical and theological books. The word “catholic” means “according to the whole.” Therefore, having a catholic library means a collection of books that goes across the whole spectrum of wisdom. Pope Benedict said we are coworkers with the truth. We have the responsibility to continue this great dialogue of truth. That mandates that it is important to have books that are not exclusively religious. A good place to begin are the classics.

10.  Classic Literature: the writings of Plato, Aristotle, Homer, Dante

These writings enrich our culture and our encounter of the human experience. To be catholic means that we find truth, goodness and beauty anywhere. Our libraries should reflect that.

“Gold is gold, wherever it is to be found.” St. Augustine