Spiritual Autobiography: Suggested Reading List

“The Catholic Church is for saints and sinners alone. For perfectly respectable people, the Anglican Church will do just fine.” - Oscar Wilde

Classic Catholic Spiritual Autobiographies from Famous Saints and Sinners:
Dorothy Day, The Long Loneliness Thomas Merton, The Seven Storey Mountain St. Augustine, The Confessions St. Therese of Lisieaux, Story of a Soul St. Ignatius of Loyola, Autobiography of St. Ignatius Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love John Henry Newman, Apologia Pro Vita Sua G.K. Chesterton, Autobiography St. Theresa of Avila, The Life of Theresa of Avila, Written by Herself

Contemporary Catholic Spiritual Autobiographies from Today’s Saints and Sinners:
Henri Nouwen, Road to Daybreak : A Spiritual Journey, or Genesee Diary (or both) Paul Wilkes, In Due Season: A Catholic Life Anne Rice, Called Out of Darkness Mary Karr, Lit: A Memoir Paul Horgan, Things As They Are

Other Christian (I like to think of them as “Near-Catholic” or “Almost Catholic”:) Contemporary Spiritual Autobiographies:
C.S. Lewis, Surprised by Joy Simone Weil, Waiting For God Stanley Hauerwas, Hannah’s Child: A Spiritual Memoir Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek Kathleen Norris, The Cloister Walk Annie Lamott, Traveling Mercies

Some Shorter, Essay-form Autobiographies and Web pages to check out:
St. Josephine Bakhita, a 19th-century Sudanese slave who became a Catholic nun and a saint http://ncronline.org/books/2012/09/woman-courage-fortitude-and-hope Peter Kreeft, a Boston College Philosophy Professor and Catholic convert “Hauled aboard the Ark” http://www.peterkreeft.com/topics/hauled-aboard.htm Dawn Eden, a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, Catholic convert, blogger and writer Here is a talk she gave which touches on her own spiritual awakening: http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/abbott/130708 Also check out this short piece on “St. Ignatius and Memory” http://www.ignatianspirituality.com/13168/ignatius-and-memory/ Alvin Plantinga, a famous Calvinist Philosophy Professor who teaches at Notre Dame “Spritual Autobiography” http://www.calvin.edu/125th/wolterst/p_bio.pdf Roger Ebert, the great film critic, who was raised Catholic, and remembers his education here: http://www.rogerebert.com/rogers-journal/mary-we-crown-thee-with-blossoms-today

patience. all my memories. nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit.22-25) How has your faith as a Catholic “borne fruit” in your life? When have you been able to “walk by the Spirit” and show through your actions that you are a person of love. and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh. gentleness. Reflection on Fruitfulness and the Spiritual Life In Matthew’s Gospel.” Next. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. peace. To you. If we live by the Spirit. consider the role that these moments have played in your own faith journey. and moments of trial. goodness. read the passage below from Paul’s Letter to the Galatians: “But I say. faithfulness. and of great pain. goodness. Jesus speaks of the importance of “bearing fruit” in the spiritual life: “Every good tree bears good fruit.How to use these readings (or others) to start writing – two suggestions: 1. and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. joy.” (Matthew 7:17-20) Pick one or two of the readings from the previous page.. think about your own life. and self-control – against such there is no law. patience. With these. kindness. faithfulness. Ignatius: Take. all my understanding my entire will All I have and possess. and receive all my liberty. imagine God taking those moments to “do with them what he will. Lord. I return it. I am rich enough and ask for no more. do with it what you will. What are the visible “fruits” of your own life of faith? To help you think about this. read Dawn Eden’s article “St. Lord. peace. and of great sorrow. Every tree that does not bear good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire. what do you think God has already done with these moments in your life? How has his love and grace come to you through these moments? How has he used these moments to bring you to a deeper realization about yourself. After looking back on all of those moments. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit. read and pray the famous “Suscipe” prayer of St. joy. kindness. [. for these are opposed to each other. walk by the Spirit. So by their fruits you will know them.” (Gal 5:16-17. or to guide you into a new understanding. Reading Your Memories Through the Lens of Faith First. gentleness. or do some research into the life of one of the people listed there. How can you tell from their lives how they lived up to this Gospel passage? What “fruits” or specific actions from their life stories revealed that they truly lived in union with Christ? Now. let us also walk by the Spirit. moments of comfort.] “The fruit of the Spirit is love. You have given all to me. Everything is yours. or to bring you to confront important questions? Then. and a rotten tree bears bad fruit.. You may want to write some of these down in a journal or on the computer. Give me only your love and your grace. or self-control? 2. Ignatius and Memory. recall your own most vivid memories – those that involved particularly intense emotions. moments of great love. As you think back on all the memories you have recalled of particularly intense emotion. How has your faith in God helped you to see your memories in a different light? . Think of moments of great joy. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit.” What might God do with them? Or.

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