One depth makes answer to another
amid the roar of the floods
thou sendest
wave after wave
crest after crest overwhelms me
— Ps 42

It's not a book club.

Reading spiritual classics is like conversing with great saints and trailblazers of faith. Years or centuries later, we can encounter them by jumping into their world and struggles, and scooping up their wisdom from the pages left for us. This is one of the greatest treasures within the inheritance of our Christian civilization. Reading books with open hearts and minds can be a very powerful source of encountering God, understanding His plans, raising above our daily daunting tasks, and fixing our gaze on the things above. The encounter we experience through the written word might produce what Psalm 42 describes as a collision of the depths:

Each of one us is like a universe on whose firmament God paints strokes of His thoughts. His thoughts, crossing with our existence, want to awaken us to rise toward restoring reason's rightful place, rediscovering imagination as a tool for reaching beyond the observable sensual world and rising to our destiny in God. Plunging into the thoughts of the holy disciples will take you to the place of hungering for God more than for anything else.

Texting, emails, textbooks, news on the internet, occasional school literature. Random and scattered Bible reading, on a good week. Seasonal popular books get attention every now and then. But what happened to the intentional reading of our Christian spiritual masters? A good book must captivate the mind, elevate the thoughts, stir the heart and lead to wonder. Spiritual reading is, after prayer, reading the Scriptures and meditation, the next part of a daily or weekly routine that will keep your mind sane and will give you very practical advice on HOW TO LIVE.

"This is the truth" said Edith Stein, after reading the autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila. Her heart and mind had finally agreed and found peace in the midst of her inner turmoil. Ignatius of Loyola, stricken by sickness, asked for novels. The only book available was "De Vita Christi". The more he read, the more he started to turn toward Christ. 

St. Therese of Lisieux was so taken by reading one book that she decided to enter Carmel: "Reading this book was one of the greatest graces of my life. The impression I received from it is too intimate and too sweet for me to express. All the great truths of religion, the mysteries of eternity, plunged into my soul a happiness not of this earth."

This is not a typical book club. This is not for people who expect literary analysis. This is spiritual reading, i.e it concentrates on ideas concerning God's communication with men, their stories, experiences and insights. It focuses on responding to God's call, uncovering human staleness and indifference and seeing beyond the visible. In short, it is reading for understanding on how to approach God, how to receive His enormous love and graces, how to understand one's spiritual journey, how to identify God's action in one's life  and how to respond or how to prepare for an encounter with God.

We serve tea or cold drinks and snacks.

More on what Spiritual Reading is:

St. Alphonsus Liguori's ON SPIRITUAL READING

Fr. Hardon's article SPIRITUAL READING - WHO NEEDS IT?

Schedule for 2015/2016:

Tuesdays 3:45 - 5:00 pm

Fall/Winter 2015: 20th century movers and shakers

1. Liturgy and Contemplation

2. Love and Friendship (online text)

Suggested donation: $15

1. The Seven Storey Mountain

2. Selected poems

Suggested donation: $20

1. The Place Within

2. Saint John Paul the Great: His Five Loves (or Weigel's biography)

Suggested donation: $25

 

Spring 2016: Spiritual Giants of Polish 20th century - Preparation for the World Youth Day Pilgrimage in Poland 

1. The Kolbe Reader

2. Cinema Divina: Life for Life and Edith Stein: the Seventh Chamber

3. Suggested donation: $15

1. Diary (book or online)  2.  "Trust"  by Grzegorz Górny  3. Fragments of Pope Francis' book  "The Name of God is Mercy"    Suggested donation: $25

1. Diary (book or online)

2. "Trust" by Grzegorz Górny

3. Fragments of Pope Francis' book "The Name of God is Mercy" 

Suggested donation: $25

1.  The Place Within  (cont.)  2.  The Jeweler's Shop   3.  Saint John Paul the Great: His Five Loves  (or Weigel's biography in book or audio format - strongly recommended for 16y.o. and up)  4.  Roman Triptych   Suggested donation: $25

1. The Place Within (cont.)

2. The Jeweler's Shop

3. Saint John Paul the Great: His Five Loves (or Weigel's biography in book or audio format - strongly recommended for 16y.o. and up)

4. Roman Triptych

Suggested donation: $25

1.  "Working Your Way into Heaven"  by Stefan Cardinal Wyszyński  2. Fragments from  A Freedom Within: The Prison Notes   3. Sermons of  Bl. Fr. Jerzy Popiełuszko   4. Cinema Divina:  Messenger of the Truth   5.  Compendium of Social Doctrine of the Church  (focus on: common good, solidarity, subsidiarity, family, work, economy, political community)  Suggested donation: $15 

1. "Working Your Way into Heaven" by Stefan Cardinal Wyszyński

2. Fragments from A Freedom Within: The Prison Notes

3. Sermons of Bl. Fr. Jerzy Popiełuszko

4. Cinema Divina: Messenger of the Truth

5. Compendium of Social Doctrine of the Church (focus on: common good, solidarity, subsidiarity, family, work, economy, political community)

Suggested donation: $15 

Staring in April, we will incorporate videos based on Fr. M. Gaitley's book. 

Staring in April, we will incorporate videos based on Fr. M. Gaitley's book. 


Winter/spring 2015: STUDIES ON WISDOM AND PRAYER: SPIRITUAL READING AND BIBLE STUDIES

This study on Wisdom and Prayer runs throughout the year 2014/15 in parallel to Sophia: Wisdom Study (Church History - History of Ideas), but it can be taken by itself. You can chose which weeks of Spiritual Reading/Bible Studies you will participate in or you can sign up for all. 

We meet on Tuesdays, 3:30 pm - 4:45 pm at 1968 McCauslen Mnr. (known also as Orchard Avenue, but NOT Orchard Street) in Steubenville

SIGN UP LIST

Book: Practical Theology by P. Kreeft. This book will be also used throughout this whole semester.

Suggested donation: $10

Text online: Calano's biography of St. Francis. St. Clare's writings. "The Ways of Prayer of St. Dominic"

Suggested donation: $5

Book:  St. Thomas More Resource Book   Suggested donation: $15

Book: St. Thomas More Resource Book

Suggested donation: $15

Book (available as text online):  Autobiography   Suggested donation: $15

Book (available as text online): Autobiography

Suggested donation: $15

Two sermons of John Cardinal Henry Newman

Two sermons of John Cardinal Henry Newman

C.S. Lewis's two books read and a study of the Book of Job.  Suggested donation: $15

C.S. Lewis's two books read and a study of the Book of Job.

Suggested donation: $15


Fall 2014:Studies on Wisdom and Prayer: Spiritual Reading and Bible Studies

This study on Wisdom and Prayer will run throughout the year 2014/15 in parallel to Sophia: Wisdom Study (Church History - History of Ideas). Those who take both courses will benefit the most form it. View Weekly themes, readings and History's course parallel schedule HERE. You can chose which weeks of Spiritual Reading/Bible Studies you will participate in or you can sign up for all. 

We meet on Tuesdays, 3:30 pm - 4:45 pm at 1968 McCauslen Mnr. (known also as Orchard Avenue, but NOT Orchard Street) in Steubenville

SIGN UP LIST

Bible Study: Book of Ecclesiastes. One week.  Cost: donations
 

Bible Study: Book of Wisdom. One week. Cost: donations

Early Christian Writings. Five weeks. Text online. Cost: $25

St. Benedict's Rule. Two weeks. Text online. Cost $10

St. Bernard of Clairvaux. On Conversion. On Love. The Twelve Degrees of Humility and of Pride. Excerpts from the Sermons on the Song of Songs. Bernard of Clairvaux: Selected Works Three weeks. Cost: $15.


May/ June/July 2014

Inferno and Purgatorio by Dante.

Spiritual Lessons from Dante and confessions of modern St. Augustine. You can participate in both or one of the courses. Merton in his autobiography uses Dante's Purgatory allegorical references. Excellent continuation after our course on Confessions by St. Augustine. 

Click HERE for more info about Inferno. 

Click HERE for more info about Purgatorio.


Spring 2014: Confessions of St. Augustine

Study on the human heart.

Click on the image to get more info

Click on the image to get more info


Winter 2013: Pier Giorgio Frassati. Letters to His Friends and Family.

Study on Beatitudes, Friendship and Justice. 

Fall 2013: Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

Study on temptations, passions, virtue and spiritual warfare. 

Click on the image for more info.

Click on the image for more info.

1920's Frassati party

1920's Frassati party

Click on the image for more info. 

Click on the image for more info. 

"Screwtape proposes a toast" party with "Shadowlands" movie. 


Therese of Lisieux, after reading "The End of the Present World", said: