I live in a news-infused household. This means that a cable news station is on the TV most of the day–my husband is more of a news junkie than I am!—and that I am a loyal and eager e-subscriber to The Washington Post, which I read faithfully every day. My preference while driving is usually listening to the news or sports (must have my Monday morning Ravens’ analysis!)
Suffice it to say that I learn most of what I know about the world on a daily basis through some mediated form. The author, anchor, or commentator is my primary interpreter of the actual events of the day and world. This notion of interpretation or mediated meaning is not a new one, but it has become more and more highlighted in the political sphere in recent years.
This week’s octet of CatholicsRead titles in the “Spiritual Reading” category got my brain all abuzz with the question of who and how one mediates meaning, and what approach the mediator takes to the text.
Where our TVs, radios, and newspapers often pit the mediator and meaning against each other, this week’s CatholicsRead titles demonstrate how one can begin faithfully with a core “text”—the Bible, the Spiritual Exercises, the very person of Jesus—and go deeper into it from a new perspective that enriches our understanding.
Do You Want to Be Healed? by Bob Schuchts from Ave Maria Press starts with the very words of Jesus in the Bible when he encountered the woman at the well, Bartimaeus the blind man, the woman caught in adultery, and the rich young man. Do You Want to Be Healed? is a 10-day personal retreat for those in need of healing.
Another Scripture-based resource is Magnificat’s Nine Days with Saint Michael. This beautiful nine-day meditation on the powerful attributes of St. Michael equips you to battle evil by introducing you to a unique aspect of St. Michael’s character and includes a hymn, an excerpt from Scripture, a meditation, intercessions that you can personalize, and a concluding prayer.
The next four come at faith through the perspectives of various women.
Women of Vision from Loyola Press features works from women of vision across the centuries—from Saint Gertrude the Great and Florence Nightingale to Betty Ford, Harriet Tubman, and Elizabeth Fry.
Liturgical Press’ Teresa of Calcutta: Dark Night, Active Love by Jon M. Sweeney explores the story of both her public and private lives. Presented in three parts, this biography looks at the preparation, the call, and the legacy of the extraordinary woman whom Pope Francis named Saint Teresa of Calcutta in 2016.
Next is our inaugural fiction title, In Pieces (Molly Chase series, Book One) by Rhonda Ortiz from Chrism Press. This historical fiction novel is set in early America and follows the lives of Molly Chase and Josiah Robb as they navigate their relationship, especially a painful secret Molly carries, and their participation in America’s war for Independence.
Paulist Press’s The Spiritual Exercises Reclaimed by Elizabeth Liebert and Annemarie Paulin-Campbell brings together feminist consciousness, a broad knowledge of psychology and theology, and the compassionate insight of experienced spiritual guides. While acknowledging obstacles that the Exercises hold for women in various contexts, the authors provide fresh interpretations of every aspect of this spiritual classic.
On the Threshold of Transformation by Richard Rohr, published by Loyola Press, is our one title this week with a specific focus on men’s spirituality. Failing and moving forward are central ideas in these 365 daily meditations. Transformation comes from recognizing that wholeness and holiness can be found through some form of suffering or letting go.
Another title from Paulist Press, this one by author Brian Schmisek is Sign, Superstitions and God’s Plan. This book “weaves together contemporary experience and writings with those of Greco-Roman classical antiquity,” providing an “interesting read in turbulent times,” according to Sr. Simone Campbell, SSS.
Therese Brown is the Executive Director of the Association of Catholic Publishers. She holds a master of arts degree in youth and liturgy from Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. She previously served as senior marketing specialist at United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Publishing Office. She is the author of Graced Moments: Prayer Services for the Lives of Teens (World Library Publications). She resides in the Baltimore area.