What We’re Reading Now: The Avila Team’s Top Picks

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Looking for a good book?  We’ve got some suggestions!  Members of the Avila team weigh in with their current reads.

 

Jordan Burke (Content Coordinator):

“I’m currently fascinated with Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl – an interesting study of how man not only overcomes the worst suffering known to mankind but also redeems it. Pleasure reading would be The Collected Works of Flannery O’Conner and The Sermons of St. Alphonsus Liguori for every Sunday of the year.”

Stephanie Burke (Executive Director):

“I’m reading The Way of Humility by André Louf, OCSO. I’ve been very moved by his teaching that true humility is where we can only see our brokenness and weakness and see God alone as Savior.  We must embrace humiliations because ‘it is there where a heart of stone will be broken and a heart of flesh will be revealed which had been hidden for a time behind so many unconscious defenses.'”

Claire Dwyer (Editor): 
“I’m devouring By Fire into Light: Four Catholic Martyrs of the Nazi Camps by Joseph M. Malham.  It’s hard to put down this collection of the stories of Titus Brandsma, O.Carm., Père Jacques de Jésus, O.C.D., Karl Leisner, and Edith Stein.  Four incredible members of the Church Triumphant reminding us that God will always have the last word!  Also, The Selected Poetry of Jessica Powers gets an honorable mention since it has a permanent place on my nightstand.  If you love the Carmelites and want some poetry that is pure prayer, do yourself a favor and get a copy.  Just a stanza gives me food for meditation for days.”                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Dr. Joseph Hollcraft (Director of the High Calling Program):

“The truth that God became man and then proceeded to ask man questions about God has always been most compelling to me. In Answering the Questions of Jesus, Fr. Andrew Apostoli CFR has helped me moved beyond the captivating nature of our Lord’s questions and into their transformative power. Jesus asks us questions not for His benefit but for ours, and as Fr. Andrew demonstrates, how we respond is a matter of our salvation. My companion to this read has been Saint John Vianney’s Seventeen Evidences of a Lack of Humility. This isn’t a book, but bullet points that ought to be by every bedside.”

Candance MacMillan (Admissions Counselor): 

“I’m currently reading The House Was Filled with the Fragrance of the Perfume by Cardinal Fernando Filoni and finding that it gives me a deeper and broader appreciation and understanding of the New Testament story of the woman who anointed Christ’s feet with expensive oils and drying his feet with her hair. Although this book is designed to give insight into the spirituality of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, it enlivens many thoughts and perspectives – bringing me to reflect on questions such as, ‘How do I care for the Body of Christ?….within myself, in my local parish, in my home and neighborhood and all my daily encounters?’ This book reminds me of the beautiful healing value of demonstrating extraordinary care, love, and reverence every day in some way, perhaps even unnoticed, to enliven Christ in and around me, and I am grateful.”

Josh Meeker (Academic Operations Manager):

“My current bedside reading is Saint Alphonsus Liguori’s Prayer: the Great Means of Salvation and Perfection. Every time I take it up I am inspired, encouraged, and challenged. Saint Alphonsus has the rare ability to make deep theological truths highly practical. The result is that I’m not only learning the why of prayer but the how also. I can’t imagine anyone of goodwill reading this book without having significant improvement in their practice of prayer.”

Kristin Priola (Mission Engagement Specialist): 

“As I prepare for our little girl to come this January, I have been soaking up all things about Mary and motherhood. I am currently taking in Made For This: The Catholic Mom’s Guide to Birth by Mary Haseltine. So far, she has really captured the beauty of the Theology of the Body paired with practical tips for navigating the physical side of labor and delivery. I hope to implement a lot of the tools she provides as I invite God into my birthing experience and spiritually encounter His love through it all.”

Ann Virnig (Director of Mission Advancement):

“I’m reading Love Awakened by Love by Mark O’Keefe, O.S.B.. I found this supplement to the Ascent of Mount Carmel through the Avila Army, from the class SSF231 ‘From Healed Psyche to Divine Union: The Psychology of St. John of the Cross’  by Dr. Jeff Thompson. It talks about what purgation and detachment are and are not; that is, a liberation and freeing of oneself for love, not a cruel ascetic loveless life. We host a Detachment Series on Apostoli Viae where we talk about real-life examples of detaching and I love how this book drives home the point of everyone’s testimonies: the more time we spend in mental prayer with Love Himself, get vulnerable and open our hearts to receiving His love, the more we will ascend Mount Carmel… the more we will grow in virtue and union with God. We love because He first loved us. (1 John 4:19.)”

Heather Voccola (Operations Manager):

“My latest read is Blessed Are You: Reflections on the Beatitudes by Mother Mary Frances, PCC. Her clarity of thought really makes these passages from the Bible come alive in a new and concrete way.  I have come away grateful and inspired after spending time with this book.”

*Image (modified) courtesy of Unsplash.

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