Reading Room

“I have always been amazed at how a man will get hold of a book and God will use the book to get hold of the man”

–  Patrick Morely - Pastoring Men

This section of the web site is the product of many early morning prayer and breakfast sessions with brothers who challenge and inspire each other to follow Christ. We've decided to organize our reading journey in a "user-friendly" way to encourage and assist other men to invest more deeply in their personal faith development through prayer and study. The books on this web site have been chosen carefully and comprise what we consider to be essential and diverse reading for knowing and growing in faith.

 

As Jesus asked the apostles, "Who do you say that I am?" He also asks each of us this question. Our answer should be clear in the way we live our lives.

Reading List by Topics

Christianity and Catholicism


Arguments for God’s existence, the purpose of life, what it means to be a Christian, doctrines of Catholicism, the Bible and useful study guides, classical spiritual literature.

“If you look for the truth, you may find comfort in the end: if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth-only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin with and, in the end, despair” – CS Lewis, Mere Christianity
What Makes us Catholic – Thomas Groome The author is head of religious education department at Boston College. written for anyone including the faithful, the fallen away, non-Catholic, and critics that wonder what it means to be a Catholic. The Purpose Driven Life – Rick Warren NY Times best seller by the renowned pastor of Saddleback Church. A 40-day reading format on why you were created and God’s magnificent plan for you, both here on earth and for eternity. Eucharistic Miracles – Joan Carroll Cruz A compilation of numerous substantiated Eucharistic miracles that occurred over the centuries. Why to Catholics do That ? - Kevin Johnson
A blend of religious history, art, and study of Tradition to explain the rituals and symbols of the Catholic faith.

Why Be Catholic- Rohr / Martos
An easy read on the unique history, traditions and beliefs of the Catholic Christian faith. This book examines the rich heritage of Roman Catholicism in contrast with what it means to be Catholic today in a world of competing beliefs.

The New World of Faith – Cardinal Avery Dulles
America’s first theologian to be named a Cardinal was a professor at Fordham University. A comprehensive and straightforward teaching of the Catholic Faith, written for believers. It explores the world’s challenges of the Church and its beliefs.

Short History of the Mass – Alfred McBride
A good introductory study of the history and the meaning of the elements of the Mass.

Introduction to the New Testament for Catholics - J.F.Kelly
A good introductory study of the history and the meaning of the elements of the Mass.

The Great Themes of Scripture-Old Testament, Rohr / Martos
A great overview and introduction to the books of the Old Testament. This is a good beginning book and a must read for those interested in learning about the Bible. Focusing on overall religious themes and using simple language, this book explains the patterns of relationship between God and his people, and will wet your appetite to read and study the Bible.

The Great Themes of Scripture-New Testament, Rohr / Martos
The New Testament follow-up in the two volume set of Great Themes. This book continues the journey by revealing the New Testament as the completion and and culmination of the Old Testament. An easy read that will inspire your study of scripture.

Short History of Christianity – Stephen Tomkins
An abridged presentation of the world history of Christianity

What Paul Meant – Garry Wills
A wonderful, non-doctrinal, account of the writings of Paul and his significant role in the early development of Christianity.

What Jesus Meant - Garry Wills
A wonderful book. A non-doctrinal thought provoking read on the heart and radical message of Jesus

What the Gospels Meant – Garry Wills
Wills presents his interpretation of each of the Gospel author’s books on Christ’s message.

John’s Story – Tim LaHaye
A fictional, though fact based, portrayal of the life of the beloved disciple and his writings.

Concise History of the Catholic Church-Thomas Bokenkotter
Concise for 2000 years of history, this is an easily read big book. The author covers the Catholic Faith from the birth of Christ to the election of Pope Benedict XVI. Bokenkotter describes the struggles, stumbles, and glories that have characterizes this indomitable institution.

The Epistles of St. Paul
The earliest writings of New Testament, Paul was a genius and a Pharisee transformed by the revelation of the Risen Christ. His writings help form the foundation for the Faith. Scholars may disagree on Pauline authorship for some of the Epistles. We strongly recommend the use of a Biblical study guide or online resource to help explain both text and application.

Books of the New Testament
The accounts of the fulfillment of the prophesies of the Messiah, the incarnation, the life, crucifixion and resurrection. The lives of apostles and the early Church, and promise of his second coming. Again it is recommended that the reader consult a study guide to assist understanding and application of the Scriptures.


St. Francis of Assisi – G.K. Chesterton
Perhaps the best written account on one of the Church’s most treasured saints and mystics, written by one of the world’s most accomplished writers.

Thomas Aquinas – G. K. Chesterton
The author brilliantly presents and educates us about Aquinas and his Summa in a manner that most will be able to understand and be awestruck.

Everlasting Man – G.K. Chesterton
An extraordinarily written presentation that leads the reader to see God and Christianity from the outside, so we can know and believe it from the inside. Another of his classics.

Orthodoxy – G.K. Chesterton
The author explores the essentials of Christian faith and of his personal journey that brought him to the Church.

The Confessions – St. Augustine (Chadwick translation)
Any serious adult student of life and its meaning must read this book several times. St. Augustine is the saintly timeless model of the Prodigal Son, a giant intellect, a transformed sinner. A MUST read.

Shorter Summa Theologea – St. Thomas Aquinas
Shorter than the full Summa, but still a formidable undertaking. Aquinas is considered the intellect of Catholicism and his work defends the philosophy and theology that is the foundation for the Faith.

Mere Christianity – C.S. Lewis
An epic book that answers the atheist and agnostic doubts. A tour de force on Christianity and why it matters so much. All pilgrims MUST read this several times before they die.

The Screwtape Letters – CS Lewis
An endlessly clever book wherein the devil and his minions correspond with each other regarding their efforts to lead man to its ruination. It is a great tool to reveal the fact that we are in a battle for our salvation.

Theology & Sanity – Frank J. Sheed
A wonderfully written, easy to read, book explaining the sophisticated truth of God’s existence, the incarnation, our Catholic Faith and the important role of the laity in the Church. Particularly impactful for the “lukewarm” Catholic.

Humanae Vitae – Pope Paul VI
Prescient encyclical warning of the consequences of society’s contemporary mores regarding sanctity of life.

Catechism of the Catholic Church
The reference source for the doctrines of teaching of the Church.

Coming Back to God-Patrick Morley
A book, written by a layperson, that provides reasons for faith an explanations that overcome barriers to God.




Faith in Our World


A mix of fiction and non-fiction books witnessing to our faith in the lives of people. How to put faith in your life, gain greater awareness of Christ in your midst, joy despite chaos, and the war for our souls.

"Lay people in particular need, with the spirited encouragement of the clergy, to get on with their lives of being faithful Catholics in the family, in the workplace, in business, in the arts, in the sciences, and wherever God is calling them to be faithful." – Catholic Matters, Fr. Richard John Neuhaus Education for Life – Thomas Groome An exploration of the Catholic Christian pedagogy of commitment to provide quality education for its own sake, as a work of salvation in and of itself. A spiritual vision of education that is humanizing, a curriculum that educates for life for all. Excellent Catholic Parishes – Paul Wilkes A review and guide to several dozens of diverse parishes across the country that represent excellence in parish vitality and spirituality.
Left to Tell – Immaculee Llibgiza
An amazing account of a Catholic woman’s 91 day ordeal of survival of the genocide in 1994 Rwanda. This is an inspiring testimony of forgiveness and faith as the only means to make sense of humankind’s depravity and suffering.
90 Minutes in Heaven – Don Piper
Written by a Protestant pastor who comes back to life after a deadly car accident. His account reminds us that miracles do happen, prayers work and Heaven exists.

Glimpses of Heaven – Trudy Harris RN
Intimate insights into the peace, love and acceptance from God as experienced by those approaching death. Written by a Catholic nurse of 30 years and retired president of Hospice Foundation for Caring.
Have a little Faith – Mitch Albom
A true story by the author of Tuesdays with Morrie. A delightful book about the author’s return to his faith via the life stories of two very different men of faith and what that is all about.
Half Time – Bob Buford
An excellent book for people who sense the second halves of their lives can be purposeful and better than the first half. Christian guidance for those seeking a life of mere success to true significance.
Fields of Gold – Andrew Stanley A primer on stewardship, generous giving and trusting the Lord to provide for us.
Ten Books that Screwed Up the World – Benjamin Wiker
The author exposes the flawed or evil philosophies of ten infamous figures in history. The book offers insights on how we can avoid the pitfalls of some of the worst ideas in human history.
The Idiots Guide to World Religions – Fr. Louis Buckles
A relatively simple overview of the world’s religions, their customs, and beliefs.
Shaken by Scandals – Paul Thigpen
Compassionately written assessment in 2002 of the abuse scandals within the Catholic Church.
Golfing with God – Roland Merullo Light fiction, a story of self examination and growth, struggles with pride, with a theme of golf with God in Heaven.
The Shack – William Paul Young A very popular best seller about a man who is angry with God because of his terrible suffering. It uses very unconventional roles to explain the Trinity, love, God’s presence, and redemption and forgiveness.
Beyond the Walls – Paul Wilkes
A MUST read for people on the journey of Faith. An account of a pilgrim’s path that takes him via a year of monthly weekend visits to Mepkin Monastery and his challenge to apply the learned monastic spirituality to his normal life.
The Power and Glory – Graham Green
Wonderfully told story of a debased priest and outlawed Christianity in Mexico in the early 20th century. It is a classic writer, a story of sinful behavior and sacramental function. A whiskey priest on the run for his life but finds his salvation and glory in his gift of consecrating the Eucharist.
He Leadeth Me – Father Walter Cizcek
A MUST read book and true story of a priest’s heroic battle as a prisoner in communist prisons. His message is of faith, hope and trust in God even in our darkest hour. To bloom where we are planted.
In Due Season - Paul Wilkes A 21st century version of Confessions, written by a contemporary Prodigal Son. An inspirational well written memoir of a fallen brother on the journey who never stops his search for transformation.
Another Sort of Learning – James V. Schall, S. J. A professor of political philosophy at Georgetown University writes an extremely erudite book on real education, books that must be read, and the deep and great questions of life.

The Life of the Mind – James V. Schall , S.J. Delight in knowing “what is”. A guide on how to cultivate the mind, read only the best books, and through our intellect, learn that what is not of ourselves reveals the light of Truth. Simply fantastic, MUST reading for the mind.
The Devil’s Delusion – David Berlinski Written by a secular Jew, with a Ph.D. from Princeton the author defends religious thought from the arrogant claims of science alone as the single system of beliefs.

How the Reformation Happened – Hillaire Belloc
Classic literature by the Catholic historian. Belloc presents the surprising political and economic forces behind the Reformation. Very insightful and a rich read.

The Power of Kabbalah – Yehuda Berg Pre-Judaism mysticism meant to explain the answers to our existence.




Spirituality


Teachings of the saints and renowned spiritual philosophers and writers.

“It is a (spiritual) journey totally sustained by grace, which nonetheless demands an intense spiritual commitment and is no stranger to painful purifications (the “dark night”). But it leads, in various possible ways, to the ineffable joy experienced by the mystics as “nuptial union”. – Novo Millennio Ineunte, - John Paul II
The Call to Discernment in Troubled Times – Dean Brackley
A powerful portrayal of Christianity as a lived experience based substantially on the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola. The Fulfillment of All Desire – Ralph Martin
A wonderful guidebook for the spiritual journey that is a pleasure to read and meditate over. It offers inspirational examples of the lives many saints and explains concepts and practices dating to the early centuries of the Faith.
Prayer Primer – Thomas DuBay, S.M.
A rich easy to read tutorial on the life of prayer and its enormous spiritual benefits.

Is It Possible To Live This Way? – Msgr. Luigi Giussani
Short read on the meaning of faith, taken largely from Msgr’s work with young people entering the religious life. Introduction to the Devout Life – Francis de Sales
A life changing book and an exceptional tool of Lectio Divina. A MUST read for the spiritual journey. The devout life is the love of God put into action in our lives.
The Way of Tenderness – Kevin O’Shea, C.SS.R
A little read that speaks of the importance of “littleness” as the center of our spiritual journey. The content and impact of this little read is so huge and powerful, truly amazing.
The Seven Storey Mountain – Thomas Merton Valuable insights offered through sixteen essays on human spirituality packed full of the profound insights of this Trappist monk.
New Seeds of Contemplation - Thomas Merton
A collection of essays revealing the meaning of contemplation intended to awaken the spiritual journey for all seekers.
Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander - Thomas Merton Through a collection of personal reflections and observations, Merton examines the radical change and transition of the 1960's and mid-twentieth century life from his Catholic monastic and personal view.
Intimacy With God - Father Thomas Keating Insights and practical advice on the goal of prayer, union (or intimacy) with God. A must read for those on the path of deepening their relationship with God through Centering Prayer
Anam Cara – John O’Donohue A wonderful book, written by an Irish poet and Ph.D of philosophical theology, that reveals thru ancient Celtic tradition that God is more intimate to us than we are to ourselves.
The Imitation of Christ – Thomas a’ Kempis
An endlessly rich meditative read on the spiritual life, our personal awareness of Christ, humility and suffering, and the sacramentality of the Eucharist.




Role of Suffering


The perfection of creation was corrupted by the fall. Suffering plays a large part in the Christian faith on the road to transformation. God can overcome our suffering to redirect us back to him.

"Suffering fills the need to continually remind us of the most obvious and evident truth there is, yet the one we are most constantly forgetting in practice: that we are not God." – Peter Kreeft - Making Sense Out Of Suffering

“Since he himself has gone through suffering and testing, he is able to help us when we are being tested” – Hebrews 2:18.
Dark Night of the Soul – Gerald May
Written by a psychiatrist and spiritual counselor, it shows how suffering is necessary for our spiritual growth that results in greater joy. Through the dark night we benefit from being taken where we could not and would not go on our own. The Problem of Pain – C.S. Lewis
Lewis so beautifully writes when pain is to be borne, a little courage helps more than much knowledge, a little human sympathy more than courage, and the least tincture of the love of God more than all. A Grief Observed – C.S. Lewis Lewis writes of his mourning the death of his beloved wife. He shares his learning that all human relationships end in pain; it is the price that our imperfection has allowed Satan to exact from us for the privilege of love.
Making Sense Out of Suffering- Peter Kreeft
Peter Kreeft, professor of philosophy at Boston College shares his wisdom on the mystery and meaning of pain and suffering. This is a must read for those struggling to understand the seemingly pointless and suffering so many people endure at some point in the journey of life.
Book of Job Old Testament story of how Job was tested. With a life filled with prestige, possessions, and large loving family and friends, he was allowed to be suddenly assaulted and attacked by the Devil, devastated, broken down to his core being. But his life had been built upon a deep faith in God, and therefore he endured and was restored.




Men's Relationships


What does it mean to be a Christian man? Why are we so disordered? How do we improve the relationships in our lives, as husbands, fathers, and friends?

“No Christian ever led a vibrant, obedient life on his own. There are no successful Lone Ranger Christians” - Patrick Morley

As Iron sharpens Iron, so one man sharpens another. Proverbs 27:17
Raising a Modern Day Knight – Robert Lewis
A Christian definition of what it means to be a man and a process on how to father and celebrate our young men’s transitions from boyhood into manhood. Focus on ceremony and involvement of other men. Wild at Heart – John Eldridge
Discovery of God’s design of men’s souls, made for adventure, a woman to save, to prove they have what it takes, to forgive the wounds, to find his faith.
Fire in the Belly – Sam Keen
Re-examining traditional definitions of men and addressing modern issues of men’s spirituality and virtues to better define masculinity. Velvet & Steel – John Ream
Practical instruction for being a responsible, masculine, Christ-led disciple, husband and father. Honest accountabilities and foundations for loving, protecting, and setting examples for our family.
Captivating – Stasi Eldredge Written for a woman, as Wild at Heart is for a man. This book provides desperately needed insights for men to understand women and the unique challenges in their lives.
Strong Fathers Strong Daughters- Meg Meeker MD Pediatrician Dr. Meg Meeker shares her insights on what girls experience growing up in today's culture, and the profound impact we fathers can have in helping our daughters become strong confident women. A must read for bonding and positively shaping your daughters life.
What a Daughter Needs from her Dad – Michael Farris Helpful advice on how to build your daughter’s character and how to be the father your daughter will always need.
Spiritual Friendship – Aelred of Rievaulx Written by a Cistercian monk based upon meditations on the works of Cicero. A classic and artistically written book on the virtue of true friendship, its approximation of our relationship with Christ and the special gift of friendship with men of God.





OUR VISION

Our vision is to help men move more consciously toward ongoing transformation and conversion. To see their faith lives as more than a set of beliefs, doctrine or dogma they profess to agree with and be loyal to, but also as participation in community, lived experience and conscious personal relationship with God.

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