I have never been an avid reader. Growing up, I’d do all in my power to avoid reading. But, reading is imperative in the spiritual life, and it has become one of my favorite things. I think it’s because I have finally found something I am passionate about! Now, I find myself almost stressed because of all the books I want to read and how little time I actually have to read them… But that’s just a personal problem.
Books that discuss spiritual things are a bit of an acquired taste. Probably because, to beginners, words like ‘devout’ and ‘holiness’ are very off-putting. We imagine nuns in long black garments shut off in their convent and do not realize that holiness is a very beautiful calling for all of us. When I am reading about the lives of the saints, there are always parts that make me wince a little, that make me question if I want to be holy. Don’t be frightened by that.
When I am faced with ideas of holiness that make me cringe, I remember how much I need God’s grace to transform me so that I even desire holiness. I, also, remember that the aversion to holiness is a natural human instinct because we live in the world and we are sinners. We struggle to see the correlation between happiness and holiness or love and suffering. And I am not there yet, but I believe those are things that only God can reveal to us when He sees fit.
I have found that reading on, even when I feel that a particular work is ‘too much’, is very beneficial. Your heart and mind will pick up on things even though you are not aware. Seeds will be planted. The desire will slowly increase. And God’s love will be illuminated in new ways for you.
I share this with you in hopes it offers some solidarity and encouragement as you continue on your own spiritual journey. That when you face difficulty and feel hindered by your lack of understanding you will entrust the work to God and keep on keeping on.