….that is, my books.
(And of course, my intention was to publish this on Tuesday. Now it’s Wednesday. So it will be a short week. Perhaps it will be “Book Weeks.” Probably.)
Since Adventures in Assisi is now available, I’m going to seize the moment and take the week to offer a bunch of posts on the books I’ve written over the past fifteen years or so. I’m going to begin today by suggesting some resources for those of you with adult education formation to plan…
(And remember, you don’t have to be An Official Staff Member of a Parish in order to get a small group going. You can, you know, call up some people, invite them to invite friends, pick a book…and go to someone’s house or a coffeeshop or bar and..talk about it!)
First, some formal studies:
Loyola Press has a series of Scripture studies, and I wrote two of them:
Both are designed to be used over 6 weeks. You can tell because the series is called 6 Weeks with the Bible.
If you’d like something just as substantive but a little less structured, you could try The Words We Pray, also published by Loyola.
It’s a series of essays connecting the content, historical background and spiritual resonance of traditional Catholic prayers.
I have a page about the book here.
Here’s an excerpt at the Loyola site. An excerpt of the excerpt:
The words of our traditional prayers are also gifts from the past, connecting us to something very important: the entirety of the Body of Christ, as it was then, as it is now, and as it will be to come.
How many billions of times have Christians recited the Lord’s Prayer? How many lips, both Jewish and Christian, have murmured the ancient words of the Psalms?
There is a sense in which each of us is alone in the universe. At the end, there is no one but us and God. We are beholden to no one but him, and he is the one we face with an accounting of how we have used this gift called life.
But we are not alone. We have billions of brothers and sisters, all of whom breathe the same air and whose souls look to the same heights for meaning and purpose.
We whisper the words of the Hail Mary at our child’s bedside, in concert, in God’s time, with every other mother who has looked to the Virgin for help and prayers when the burdens of parenthood seemed unbearably heavy.
Every child stumbling through the words of the Lord’s Prayer, offering up simple prayers for simple needs out of the simplest, deepest love—every one of those children has countless companions lisping through the same pleas, and we are among those companions.
Together we beg God for mercy, we rage at God in confusion, we praise God in full throat. And when we do so using the Psalms, we are one with the Jews and Christians who have begged, raged, and praised for three thousand years.
We’re not alone. And when we pray these ancient prayers, in the company of the living and the dead, we know this.
I know of several small groups through the years that have used The Words We Pray as a source book. It might be nice for RCIA as well.
Do you want something FREE?
If your group members have access to computers or tablets – which most of us do – you could use Come Meet Jesus or Mary and the Christian Life, both out of print now, but both available at no cost to you or anyone else.
More about Come Meet Jesus, including the download.
Of course I can’t claim the real content for this, but I did write the study guide for Fr. Robert Barron’s series on Conversion. Both it and the 6 Weeks with the Bible study on Matthew would be good for Lent, for those of you planning ahead. (It will be here sooner than you know!)
Finally, you might also find Michael’s How to Get the Most Out of the Eucharist and The How to Book of the Mass good – the former for study/discussion groups, and the latter for RCIA.
Oh, one more thing. Fiction-reading groups are very popular and a great way to bring up interesting issues of faith in a non-threatening and not-overly personal kind of way (although the good group facilitator will have developed the skill of tactfully handling the oversharers anyway, right?). There are loads of good books out there for that purpose, but you might take a look at the titles in the Loyola Classics series. I was the General Editor of this series for a long time – that means I cleared rights to books, acquired authors to write the forwards and then wrote the author bios and discussion questions for each book.