But when I do, it’s always for a good reason. Miss Patricia (It’s utterly weird to call one’s elders by their first names. Is this because I’m old-fashioned or a born and raised Virginian?) over at I Want to See God has “tagged” me in one of those meme things in which one has to say their three favorite religion-y books and then tag other people to do the same. I am going to happily comply because she is a lovely lady, from what I have seen in my comment boxes and her blog. Besides, she’s a Carmelite fangirl, like yours truly. So this one goes out to you, Ma’am!
Pick Number One: The Life of St. Gemma Galgani by Ven. Fr. Germanus, C.P. Ok, so aside from the fact that I’m horribly biased because St. Gemma was my Confirmation Saint, she was pretty much the most awesome turn-of-the-century Italian mystic ever. People, she could FLY and she had the STIGMATA. She was also madly in love with Jesus and she lived her rather short life with wild abandonment to the grace of God. She is utterly incredible and everyone needs to know who she is. Fr. Germanus, who is himself on track for canonization, was her spiritual director, and he wrote this biography after her death in 1903. If you can read this book without crying, there is something wrong with you.
Pick Number Two: The Story of a Soul by St. Therese of the Child Jesus and the Holy Face. If you have never heard of it, you need to find new friends. If you have heard of it but haven’t read it, get on it! And if you’ve read it but didn’t cry, there is something wrong with you.
Pick Number Three: The Baltimore Catechism by The Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church. I know that this is technically several books, but it’s one work. It’s everything they didn’t teach you in RCIA, CCD or parochial school. It’s also everything you need to know by heart about your religion. Crying is optional for this one.
At this point, I am supposed to tag five other people to do the same thing, but I don’t know of five people who haven’t been invited to do this already. So I am going to be an utter spoilsport and instead give you five more awesome books. Lucky, lucky you.
Pick Number 4: Fifty-Seven Saints by Eileen Heffernan. This is a must-read for any Catholic child. My copy was falling apart from being read and re-read by the time I was thirteen. This book is literally full of black saints, white saints, saints that climbed on rocks, even saints with smallpox. I would not have the relationships with all the magnificent Big Brothers and Sisters that I do today without this grand book.
Pick Number 5: The Douay-Rheims Bible. Why? Because. People always make such a fuss about how much nicer the King James Bible sounds than the New American Bible. But the King James is missing some of the best parts! The Douay-Rheims has the distinction of both sounding like the words of the King of the Universe and containing all the books at the same time.
Pick Number 6: The Vulgate (or at least the New Testament from the Vulgate) Need a motto for yourself or your family, or some text for that new tattoo you’ve been wanting? This would be the place to find it. Also, carrying one around makes you feel super Catholic, I betcha.
Pick Number 7: Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton. GK is the man. This is probably the best place to find awesome Chesterton quotes (because every English-speaking Catholic ought to have at least one favorite memorized) as well as his life’s philosophy.
Pick Number 8: Handbook of Christian Apologetics by Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli. After reading this book, my friends and I began using the term “relativist” as a personal insult. It’s full of detailed arguments and explanations, and it is one of the few works on apologetics today that abides by the time-honored philosophic principle of charity. It’s a good reference when the faith needs defending, whether against other people, or your own fallen nature.