Reviving an old page from my first blog

Warning: If you love spiritual books, this could be hazardous to your wallet...

Reading books about the spiritual life can be a substitute for actually devoting time each day to prayer. So if you have to choose between prayer and reading, make prayer your priority. Nevertheless, one of the best ways to nurture an ongoing prayer practice is to devote some time each day to reading nurturing and inspiring books — including books by and about the great Christian mystics.

In 2007 (hard to believe it’s been almost a decade), I set up my first WordPress blog (WordPress is one of the leading platforms for bloggers, used both by independents like me and by large websites like Patheos). Prior to that I had a LiveJournal account, but I left LJ because their platform did not allow for creating a fully-fledged website.

With my shiny new WordPress blog, one of the first pages I created was a bibliography for Christian mysticism. Back then I called my site The Website of Unknowing, so perhaps unimaginatively I called this bibliography page “Books of Unknowing.”

In it I included all my favorite books by and about my favorite authors (Thomas Merton, Evelyn Underhill, Julian of Norwich, and so forth), along with titles related to over 100 of the most renowned Christian mystics.

Over the years, I tinkered with this bibliography page, adding new titles and even creating sub-categories for “special topics” such as deification, spiritual direction, and mystical commentaries on the Song of Songs.

About two years ago, I decided my website needed a complete overhaul, which led to its current incarnation as Silence Today, Love Forever. As part of that redesign, the old bibliography page was retired, replaced by a new Recommended Reading page, which covers many topics including but in addition to mysticism.

Well, I’m happy to announce that my Christian Mystics Bibliography page is back! It’s still being tweaked (on the top of my to-do list is to add a “special topic” for Jesuit/Ignatian mysticism), but it’s completed/updated enough that I re-published it yesterday, and so I wanted to make sure everyone knows about it.

The inspiration to bring it back is my forthcoming book, Christian Mystics: 108 Seers, Saints and Sages. That book tells the story of over 100 of the most renowned Christian mystics, so the centerpiece of my revived Christian Mystics Bibliography is a list of 108 books, one for each of the persons featured in the new book. But I’ve also included the “Contemplative Reading List” from The Big Book of Christian Mysticism, along with the various “special topics” on Christian mysticism, drawn from my earlier bibliography.

All in all, well over 300 books by and about the Christian mystics are included in this bibliography. So if you are looking for something new to read on your favorite spiritual topic, look no further!

Please bookmark this page: A Christian Mystics Bibliography. I will be tweaking/adding to it in the days, weeks, months to come!

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Author of Befriending Silence, Christian Mystics, The Big Book of Christian Mysticism, Answering the Contemplative Call, and other books. Catechist. Retreat leader. Speaker. Professed Lay Cistercian.

A word from Carl: Thank you for posting your constructive comment. The goal of this blog is to encourage people to pray. Therefore, I invite you to pray before you submit a post. Please note, I will delete any comments that are offensive, abusive, off-topic, or spam.

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2 thoughts on “Reviving an old page from my first blog

  1. Impressive list. It begs the question as for how much is redundant information. In other words, do you really i-learn-i all that much more by reading all of these works?

    • Redundancy is not necessarily a problem in spiritual practice. If you want to build muscle, you do endless reps with your weights. In a similar way, contemplative practice involves reciting morning and evening prayer, or chanting the psalms, or relaxing into silent prayer, over and over again. Likewise, reading the great mystics, you will soon find that they cover the same basic topics: humility, self-knowledge, compassion, silence, prayer, and so forth. So you might not *learn* lots of new stuff by reading many writings of the mystics, but the repetition might help you as you seek to gradually be *formed* in the life of a contemplative.