You know I like to sneak some self education into my busy days as a homeschooling mother of four. It keeps me growing and better able to educate my own children. In the Busy Mama’s Guide to Self Education series, I’m working through my favorite learning resources for different interest areas. On the docket today is one of my favorite subjectss to learn about – Catholicism.
I like to say I read my way into the Catholic faith, although, there were lots of tears and prayers along the way too. My desire to learn about God’s One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church has only intensified since being confirmed 5 years ago. Even the scholarly Catholic mama should find something new in this post to learn from or implement in her home so she can dig deeper into the beauty that is Catholicism.
Resources for learning about Catholicism:
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Books on Catholicism
So, I know it seems like we busy mothers may not have time to pick up a book and do some reading, but books are truly one of the best ways to learn. Like I said, I read myself into the Catholic church (of course, there was a little just a bit of grace involved too!).
I challenge you to find a few minutes everyday to pick up a book. A few stolen moments every day helps us tackle those books that glare at us from our shelves! Here a little, there a little should be the busy mama’s mantra.
Another great way both Husband and I have been able to sneak extra reading in is by making it part of our time together (Perfect Catholic Date Night In).
Of course, no book list is complete without the Bible. My favorite translation is the RSV. I love to use the Ignatius New Testament Study Bible as an aid to my Bible study.
Sometimes for converts (myself included), the Bible can be an intimidating proposition after our conversion. Realizing we need to read scripture in light of Church Authority and how to do that can be daunting. I assure you that scripture is for everyone, even and especially Catholics. It’s our book, let’s own it! (If you need a little encouragement on how to read scripture in light of Church authority, you can read about that in my post I’m Catholic…now how do I read the Bible.)
This one very closely follows the Bible. It is such a handy reference when you have a question about the faith. Some families even read a paragraph or two daily for reflection.
Learning more about the history and teachings of the early church helped lead me home. While these texts may be a little dry to read straight through, if you are wondering about a particular church teaching, the topical index and subsequent readings are a great place to start.
Our family also owns the Faith of the Early Fathers Series. It is a great reference book when we are working on teaching others (as well as ourselves!) about the faith! They are a little more of an investment up front, but will be a great lifelong reference.
If you want something more condensed, Jimmy Akin’s book The Father’s Know Best would be a great addition to your library.
The One Thing is Three This is a book on Catholic theology for the everyday Catholic. Fr. Gaitley always writes so down-to-earth and conversationally. It is amazing how he can take such complex theology and distill it down to bite-size manageable chunks!
We have such a treasure trove as Catholics in the wisdom of the saints. We will never be able to read it all! Some saints are easier to read than others. Some of the saints I’ve enjoyed most are St. Francis de Sales, St. Therese, St. Theresa of Avila, and St. Catherine of Sienna.
Introduction to the Devout Life (St. Francis de Sales)
This is a book I have read and reread several times. It contains so many nuggets of wisdom and inspiration that it makes a great devotional and aid for reflection. I tend to read a chapter at a time and move on only when I think I’m ready. I almost always pick it up when I have a nursing baby. The chapters are generally short and perfect for a 15 minute nursing session.
St. Francis de Sales was one of the first people who wrote about what holy living looks like for the laity. Prepare to be challenged in your daily living!
The Imitation of Christ (Thomas a Kempis)
Another great meditation book. Read a chapter a day. You will never regret the space you reserve on your bookshelf for this book! You will reread it many, many times!
The Fulfillment of All Desire (Ralph Martin)
This book combines wisdom from some of the Doctors of the Church and walks you through the stages of the spiritual life. Like, St. Francis de Sales, this book is meant to show how we are ALL called (and equipped and capable!) to a life that leads to sainthood. It is a great place to start if you are wanting to learn more about what the saints taught about spirituality.
Thy Will be Done (letters written by St. Francis de Sales)
A common theme runs through these letters written by St. Francis de Sales. You will be encouraged to work along with God’s Grace and then abandon yourself into the loving hands of our Father God.
Consoling the Heart of Jesus (Gaitley)
This book challenges us to abandon ourselves to God’s mercy, even at those times when we feel unworthy of God’s love. It is an extremely easy read as Fr. Gaitley tends to write in a very conversational tone. Fr. Gaitley takes the wisdom of St. Faustina, Pope St. JPII, and Ignatius and wraps it all into a great big ball of beautiful.
Holiness for Housewives (Van Zeller)
Take heart! Even busy housewives can grow in holiness and this book will encourage you on that path. This is a book I like to pick up when I feel a little overwhelmed with all my duties! (I’m not the only one who has those days, right?)
Jacques Philippe is a relatively new “friend” in our household, but he has quickly become a fast friend indeed. His books are so encouraging! He writes in a simple yet profound way. You will be flooded with peace and love of God! My two favorites are: Searching for and Maintaining Peace as well as In the School of the Holy Spirit.
Podcast/Radio/Audio on Catholicism
This is a well done (not cheesy!) audio Bible that our whole family enjoys. We have listened to it while playing, relaxing, or on a long car ride. Husband enjoys listening to it as he drives to work. It is only the New Testament, but it is really worth the investment! Sometimes I just turn it on in the background and every time I come through the living room I am lifted by little whispers of scripture I hear.
Listening to this program will teach you so much about Catholicism and debunk all your misconceptions. I would occasionally listen to this program as I was in the process of joining the Church. I would get so frustrated and shut it off! These people had such good reasoning for believing in the validity of the Catholic Church!
It is hard for me to catch the program much as it falls during dinner time, but I never regret tuning in. Sometimes my husband and I will listen to a program of interest (via the archives) when the kids go to sleep.
We also enjoy their blog. It has such wonderfully written articles about common problems. You’ll also find a Catholic stance on up-to-date issues.
It’s very obvious why I included them as a great resource in my post about reading the scripture in light of Church teachings.
Besides Catholic Answers, there is a host of quality programming on the radio. Parenting, prayers, news, ANYTHING!
Video on Catholicism
Can’t get to a Catholic conference? No problem. The Franciscan University of Steubenville’s Catholic Conferences are brought right to your living room thanks to their Youtube Channel. Watch the top Catholic speakers of our time!
This is often part of our date night!
I don’t think this resource needs expounding upon. Holy TV!
Websites on Catholicism
This is the awesome website of Catholic Answers. If you have a question about the Catholic faith, check out their forums! There are also blog posts highlighting the Catholic view on current events.
This is the official site of the Vatican. Here you will find encyclicals, exhortations, news, letters, and more.
Feeling challenged in your faith? You’ll probably like these other posts:
What are your favorite resources to learn about the faith?