Books that brought me into God's presence

hplantin's picture

I don't know about you, but I associate some books with sensing the presence of God. Reading them led me into God's presence. The words seemed to touch my soul. Now I don't know if there is really something special about such books, or whether there are times when God is sensibly close and many books would lead one into God's presence. I've heard that in such a state even the phone book can be spiritually nourishing! At other times, God seems absent, and even the best books leave me dry.

In any case, some books have filled that role for me: the Imitation of Christ, Augustine's Confessions, The Revelations of Julian of Norwich, and others. Such books were the cause of the start of the CCEL, and the original criteria for inclusion in the CCEL included the ability of a book to bring one into God's presence.

What books have filled that role for you? I'd be interested in hearing your comments, and I'll share some of them in a future newsletter. You can add your comments here. Perhaps others will read a good book based on your recommendation.

Mike Farley's picture

I'll happily second Julian

I'll happily second Julian of Norwich, especially in Sheila Upjohn's translation. I'd have to add Brother Ramon SSF, especially his books on the Jesus Prayer, and his major works Franciscan Spirituality and The Heart of Prayer. Lewis of course, Maria, the Perelandra Trilogy, Screwtape, The Pilgrim's Regress. Charles Williams' All Hallows' Eve and The Place of the Lion. TS Eliot's Four Quartets. (Does that count as a book? It was first published as four little pamphlets!) Many more. Sr. Helen Julian CSF's wonderful books on St Francis and St Cuthbert. Maria Boulding's Marked for Life.

Probably the single book that really did change my life forever was Per Olof Sjogren's The Jesus Prayer, which Fr Francis Horner gave me to read back in 1978! And then of course I have to mention Fr Sophrony's His Life is Mine, one of the very best books on the Prayer, along with Ksllistos Ware's The Power of the Name.

And last but not least Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek and Teaching a Stone to Talk.