Whether it is the Bible or the lives of the saints, reading positive spiritual books is vital to holiness.
Fr. Francis Xavier Lasance comments on this topic in his My Prayer Book, and explains how books can form a soul for good or ill.
The inspiration of a single book has made teachers, preachers, philosophers, authors, and statesmen. The first good book read by one has often appeared before him through life as a beacon which has saved him from many a danger. On the other hand, the demoralizing effects of one book have made profligates and criminals. Many youths and adults now in prison trace the beginning of their downfall to the reading of a bad book.
The formation of our character through books begins at an early age and continues into adulthood. Each book we read (or listen to) has the potential to radically change our lives. Lasance continues by quoting various “maxims” that relay this simple truth.
A person’s character is shown by the books he reads.
A house is no home unless it contains food and fire for the mind as well as for the body.
People are not usually better than the books they read.
There is no friend so faithful as a good book. There is no worse robber than a bad book.
Reading a book requires a certain humility, recognizing that we are not the source of all knowledge. We need the guidance of authors, and that is why it is so important to choose good books that lead us along the path of virtue.
If you want to do one good thing for your soul, read a good book.
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