3 Aug

“A room without books is like a body without a soul.”  ~ Marcus Tullius Cicero

When I was in college, I had a professor who taught a class entitled “The Novel”.  It was an English/Grammar/Composition class.  He was an avid reader.  He had also been a seminarian at one time.  Each year, he would invite his class to his home for a dinner discussion.  I remember the evening well.  Our class entered his house and, after walking through the foyer, walked into his library.  Now, when I say “library”, I mean library!  Each of his walls was lined, floor to ceiling, with shelves and ever shelf was filled with books.  I took one look, breathed in the smell of the books, and sighed.  A classmate, on the other hand, simply looked at the professor and asked, “Have your read all of these?”  The professor’s response was prompt and deliberate:  “Get out!”

Our distinguished professor could not fathom how someone would think that he had not read each of those books, several times even.  He was not going to allow that student to come to the discussion.  Since we had carpooled, the classmate sat outside waiting for us to finish with the day.

Books.  They are phenomenal.  Books.  They are gateways to other places and other times.  Books.  They are the things that entice people.  Books.  They serve to educate.  Books.  They serve to entertain.  Books.  Where would we be without them?

Books, nowadays, come in many forms from the good old bound editions to electronic versions.  It does not matter to me how they are delivered.  All that matters to me is that they are available.  We should all have books, lots of them, and they should all be dog-eared from use.  The books that we have should be of the following ilk: fiction, non-fiction, fantasy, historical, biographical, autobiographical, and spiritual, just to name a few.  But, most definitely, we should all have spiritual books.

Reading the Bible and spiritual books such as theology, lives of the saints, and the like, are wonderful ways to keep us grounded in the faith.  Reading about the trials and tribulations of saints help bolster our faith when we face our own crises.  Knowing what others have gone through gives us the courage that we need to face tribulation as well.  Reading the lives of some saints help open our eyes to the plight of the poor and the needy.  Reading the lives of other saints help us to understand how weakness can be turned into strength.  Reading the lives of still other saints make us realize that we are not alone.

We are not alone.  There are many of us out there.  Hundreds of us.  Thousands of us.  Millions of us.  Billions of us.  There are believers all around the world struggling as we struggle, hoping as we hope, praying as we pray.  It is good to know that.  We will only know it, however, if we take the time to read about it.  Otherwise, we might be led to think that we are in it all alone.  If we ever begin to believe that, living the faith becomes so much harder.

If you need any encouragement today, turn to a good book.

FAITH ACTION:  Examine your home or your electronic device and see if you have any good spiritual reading on hand.  If not, go out and find some good spiritual books to read.