This is a collection of books I've read since being at Novitiate. I won't guarantee that each book will be as wonderful to read as they've been for me, but they've each, in some way, help formed my understanding of God.
Francis of Assisi by Arnaldo Fortini - A unique look at the life of Francis of Assisi through the records of Assisi. While it may not be an original source, Fortini's book provides a wonderful history of 13th century Italy.
God's Fool: The Life of Francis of Assisi (Perennial library) by Julien Green. A great biography of the life of St. Francis, based off of Bonaventure's work.
Francis of Assisi - The Saint: Early Documents, vol. 1 (Francis of Assisi: Early Documents) by Regis Armstrong, OFM Cap. This collection of original sources is now used instead of the red Omnibus that many Franciscans will remember.
The Humility of God: A Franciscan Perspective by Ilia Delio. A great work on Bonaventure's theology. This book can be a tough read, but it's a great resource to understand Franciscan Spirituality.
The Holy Longing: The Search for a Christian Spirituality by Ronald Rolheiser. A wonderful book for anyone hoping to understand spirituality, God, and the desire for God. A great read; I've read this several times.
When Bad Things Happen to Good People by Harold Kushner. A great book that discusses the pastoral needs of people who've experienced dramatic loss in their life, and how to best be present to their needs. A wonderful book that everyone should read at some point.
Our Greatest Gift: A Meditation on Dying and Caringby Henry Nouwen. Great reflections about death, preparing for the afterlife, and how we as Christians look at it.
Praying Our Experiences: An Invitation to Open Our Lives to God by Joseph Schmidt. A wonderful book by a Christian Brother who talks about the importance of finding God in our everyday lives. This is more Jesuit than Franciscan, but I find the Examen to be a great prayer technique.
The Violence of Love by Archbishop Oscar Romero. This is a wonderful book for reflection, prayer, or just inspiration. The book is a collection of talks, homilies, and speeches by the late Romero.
On Job: God-Talk and the Suffering of the Innocent by Gustavo Gutierrez. A book that looks at the story of Job in light of the struggle of Latin American indigenous peoples.
A Chicano Theology by Andres Gonzales Guerrero. A look at understanding God for those of us who are neither Mexican, nor American, and how our mixed culture provides us with a new understanding of identity and relationship to God.
Praying the Psalms by Thomas Merton. A great little book to begin reading the psalms regularly for personal prayer.
Wildmen, Warriors & Kings: Masculine Spirituality & the Bible by Patrick Arnold. A nice book describing male archtypes of the Bible and how they apply to the masculine understanding of roles in the world today. Also provides an understanding of faith from a masculine lens.
Women and the Word: The Gender of God in the New Testament and the Spirituality of Women (Madeleva Lecture in Spirituality) by Sandra Schneiders. A small book that looks at the language and understanding of women in the Bible and in the Church. A different take from polemnic feminist theology.
Mary's Song by Mary Catherine Nolan. A great book that discusses each part of the Magnificat in great detail.
Thy Will Be Done: Praying the Our Father As Subversive Activity by Michael Crosby. Mike has been a great brother to me during formation, and his book provided me with insights when doing work on the mysteries of the Rosary.
The Death of the Messiah, From Gethsemane to the Grave, Volume 1: A Commentary on the Passion Narratives in the Four Gospels (The Anchor Yale Bible Reference Library) by Raymond Brown. This is actually more of a reference book than a straight-through read, however if you're interested in the Historical Jesus Project, Raymond Brown is a must read.
The Historical Jesus., by John Dominic Clossan. Another great read on the Historical Jesus. Clossan places his understanding in the milieu of the time, and doesn't limit his understanding of Jesus to synoptic Gospels.
In Parables: Challenge of the Historical Jesus by John Dominic Clossan. Clossan presents concepts of time, eschatology, and life that are often not considered when interpreting the parables of Jesus.
Divine Names (Philosopher's Palate) by Pseudo-Dionysius. A great book to understand the names of God, their importance to us, and provides an introduction to Negative Theology.
Names of God (Moody Classics) by Nathan Stone. A small book that talks about the historical Hebrew names of God found in the Old Testament, and how they are interpreted by the people of God. An interesting little book, except for the use of Jehovah as the verbal equivalent of the Tetragrammaton.
Sor Juana Ines De La Cruz: Selected Writings (Classics of Western Spirituality) This was a book I was given as a Spiritual Reading assignment. Sor Juana had a depth of writing that was unusual for her age as well as her background as a mestizo for her time. The Divine Narcissus is probably one of her most-read works (after being translated to English).
Jesus: Uncovering the Life, Teachings, and Relevance of a Religious Revolutionary by Marcus Borg. One of several books I had to read for a Christology class. While I am a fan of scripture study and exploring the Historical Jesus, I found myself struggling to work through this book in light of reading Meier or Raymond Brown.
The Illustrated Jesus Through the Centuries by Jaroslav Pelikan. An excellent book as well as coffee-table book that looks at the image of Jesus through time. I found Pelikan to be a great theologian and this book expanded my understanding at how we perceive Jesus.
Credo: Historical and Theological Guide to Creeds and Confessions of Faith in the Christian Tradition by Jaroslav Pelikan. After reading "The Illustrated Jesus," I found this book gathering dust on another friar's bookshelf and eagerly snatched it up. It's an historical look at the development and importance of creeds and declarations of faith that, while not always explicitly from the Bible, reveal truths about our faith and how we identify as Christians. Pelikan not only looks at the development of the Nicene Creed, but other Christian creeds that have developed and how, in their own unique way, all speak to the same truths.
I'm always adding books to this list. Be sure to check back for new books to read.
Last updated: 1/12/2011