The Christian spiritual life doesn’t exist in a vacuum. Christianity requires a community to exist in, and teachers from whom to learn the faith, and features a cloud of witnesses cheering us on (Heb 12:1). The Holy Spirit animates the Church and, among other things, gives her the gifts of knowledge, wisdom, understanding, fortitude, good counsel, fear of the Lord, and piety. We have an obligation to build on those gifts sealed in us at our confirmation: and one of the most effective ways is spiritual reading. By reading good spiritual books, we can build on each of those seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. In addition, we can come to know the saints better, sit at their feet, and learn from their writings.


Even the greatest amount of spiritual reading would amount to a waste of time if it did not affect our souls. How do we make it stick in our spiritual life?

First, we should keep Padre Pio’s advice: ask for the assistance of the Holy Spirit, and what God wants to communicate to us in that particular book.

Another way to do this is by journaling. Writing down thoughts or insights helps us process new information, as well as helping us remember it.

The Office of Readings from the Divine Office/Liturgy of the Hours has spiritual reading and prayer rolled into one. It begins with the praying of three psalms/canticles from Scripture, and it concludes with one Scripture reading and one reading from the Church’s tradition. It could be from a saint’s writings, an ecclesial document, a selection from one of the Church Fathers, or a sermon from one of the great preachers in our tradition. Praying the Office of Readings provides a healthy dose of Scripture and offers short introductions to 2,000 years of spiritual heritage.

Spiritual reading is a habit practised by some of the holiest saints in Catholic history, and the same grace is open to us today. Let the Holy Spirit deepen His gifts within you!