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7 Quick spiritual reading works for busy people

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Dean Drobot

Theresa Civantos Barber - published on 02/16/24

You could just read a page or two a day (or a paragraph!) and find that it’s enough to help you pray, learn, and grow in love for God this Lent.

Looking for a good spiritual read this Lent? 

You probably want something really enriching and well-written, something that will make you think and that will encourage your Lenten resolutions. 

But you’re pressed for time and don’t exactly have it in you to sit down with the spiritual equivalent of War and Peace.

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! 

There are a number of powerful spiritual writings that are also quick reads. You could just read a page or two a day (or even a paragraph or two!) and find that it’s enough to help you pray, learn, and grow in love for God this Lent.

Here are our favorite short but powerful spiritual reads.

1
Searching for and Maintaining Peace: A Small Treatise on Peace of Heart by Fr. Jacques Philippe

We are long-time big fans of Fr. Jacques Philippe, a spiritual writer whose works are mostly short but very striking. While we recommend all his books, this one on maintaining peace is a great place to start:

We live in a day and age characterized by an extraordinary amount of agitation and lack of peace. This tendency manifests itself in our spiritual as well as our secular life. In our search for God and holiness, in our service to our neighbor, a kind of restlessness and anxiety take the place of the confidence and peace which ought to be ours. What must we do to overcome the moments of fear and distress which assail us all too often in our lives? How can we learn to place all our confidence in God and abandon ourselves into his loving care? This is what is taught in this simple yet profound little treatise on peace of heart. 

2
The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence

Simplicity and great love characterize this spiritual classic:

This classic text by Br. Lawrence of the Resurrection, a 17th-century French hermit, spiritual director, and a member of the Order of Discalced Carmelites, is an enduring book of spiritual wisdom for all Christians who seek to find God in their daily life.

3
The Way by St. Josemaria Escriva

This tiny edition of a spiritual classic is perfect to stash in a purse, briefcase or backpack for on-the-go reading:

Beloved by millions, The Way is St. Josemaría’s spiritually rich collection of points for meditation and prayer. Genial but pointed, The Way is born out of deep Christian experience and aims at encouraging people to love God and live for Him. 

4
How to Be Holy: First Steps in Becoming a Saint by Dr. Peter Kreeft

You can’t go wrong reading anything by Dr. Peter Kreeft, whose clear and direct style makes it easy to understand even the most profound spiritual insights. This short book is a great place to start with his work:

The ever-popular and prolific Peter Kreeft says that the most important question he has written about is how one becomes holy; or to put it another way, how one becomes a saint. This question is central to all the great religions, Kreeft demonstrates, for striving toward holiness, moving toward perfect love, is the whole purpose of life. Kreeft admits that he is only a beginner on the climb to holiness, and it is to novices like him that he has written this engaging and encouraging book. 

5
How to Profit from Your Faults by Joseph Tissot

I picked up this book with intense curiosity: How could my faults be something that could help me along the path to holiness? It turns out that our faults can be a chance to grow in humility, holiness, and reliance on God, among many other things. You can learn all about it in this brief but helpful book

When you do feel like a failure, here’s a book that can help. It can help you transform your failures into an advantage. Drawing on the wisdom of St. Francis de Sales and other great saints, Tissot shows us how to be more compassionate with ourselves and others as well as tips to help you overcome interior struggle.  

6
Papal writings on prayer and holiness

While several recent popes wrote books, most of them are not quick reads (although they are all very much worth reading when your schedule does allow). Instead, you can find short yet cogent wisdom in their encyclicals, letters, speeches, and other shorter works. 

Not sure where to start? Here is a quick list of some of our favorites. Most of these are short enough that you could read them online or print them at home.

In this category of Church documents, I don’t want to neglect to mention the Catechism section on marriage and family life, a resounding proclamation of the vocation to marriage and parenthood. If you’re married or a parent, it’s worth reading to invigorate and encourage your mission. 

7
The Screwtape Letters

While any of C.S. Lewis’ apologetic works would be well worth your time, especially Mere Christianity, we have to give special prominence to The Screwtape Letters as it manages to be both a speedy read and a breathtakingly astute book. 

This is certainly not your typical spiritual book, as it’s written in the form of correspondence between two devils trying to ensnare a human soul! But it’s precisely this unusual approach that makes it so brilliant, revealing uncanny insight into the nature of holiness, sin, temptation and grace. 

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