Books and music to help you find ‘piece’ of mind
Have you ever been so distracted or stressed out that you were looking to find, not complete serenity, but a mere semblance of it? While total peace of mind may have been out of the question, finding a “piece” of mind was a possibility. It is in that modest spirit characteristic of Lent that the following list of books and one album are offered for incremental improvement.
by St. Alphonsus Liguori
At first glance, it might seem like praying the Stations of the Cross would bring about more distress rather than relieve it. After all, wouldn’t meditating on an innocent person suffering because of our sins only increase our guilt? The paradoxical reply comes from St. Augustine, who said: “There is something in humility that strangely exalts the heart.”
When we’re humble enough to admit we have done wrong and would like to make amends, peace of mind follows. In the Stations, we see how intensely God desires our salvation, as does Mary, the Mother of God, who was present at the cross and is known as the Mother of Our Savior and Refuge of Sinners. It is fitting, then, that Way of the Holy Cross is available from a company called Mother of Our Savior and Refuge of Sinners Publishing.
by Fr. Alfred Wilson, CP
Misconceptions about confession are dispelled in this cathartic classic, enabling the reader to obtain clarity of purpose and lightness of heart in his sacramental pursuit. Confession is not meant to be an onerous endeavor, but a humble, simple, and powerful one. One piece of advice from the author: “be blunt; be brief; be gone.” If you think you know everything about confession, this work from Roman Catholic Books (not Ignatius Press, which publishes another Pardon and Peace by a different author) will probably offer many surprises.
by Fr. Narciso Irala, SJ
Roman Catholic Books also publishes this book, which contains much material very conducive to clear thinking and productive living. Fr. Irala teaches the reader how to reassess and overcome distractions, anger, depression, anxiety, phobias, and insomnia in ways that are surprisingly simple. Our fast-paced world stealthily encourages self-defeating thinking under the guises of necessity and sophistication, but this book openly encourages what its title indicates: Achieving Peace of Heart. You can also find the book on Amazon as the publisher is currently sold out.
by Trent Beattie
If you thought, when reading about “piece” of mind in the opening paragraph, that a brain is material and can be broken into parts, but a mind is immaterial and therefore is not subject to division, you were correct. However, you might do well to read Scruples and Sainthood, available through Loreto Publications. This book is about scrupulosity, or focusing on irrelevant details, especially regarding matters of salvation.
Lots of people live the reality without knowledge of the terminology. “Anxiety,” “doubt,” “guilt,” “uneasiness” and “fear” are terms more recognizable, but they all relate to the main topic of Scruples and Sainthood. Yes, this is a “shameless plug,” not only in the sense of promoting my own book, but in the sense that readers of it can be freed from needless guilt.
by Saint Therese (and complied by anonymous Carmelites)
TAN Books/St. Benedict Press has some small books that are grandly helpful. The first of the three mentioned here is Thoughts of Saint Therese, which is filled with short yet thoroughly encouraging insights from “the greatest saint of modern times.” Suffering, mortification, surrender, hope, and spiritual direction are among the topics addressed in this little ticket for an easier path to heaven.
by anonymous Benedictines
Sometimes discontent is brought about by lack of spiritual structure. Prayer can be seen as a nice hobby or a poetic exercise, or even, as Ven. Fulton Sheen put it, a parachute only to be used in an emergency. The correct view of prayer, however, is that it is absolutely vital to knowing and doing God’s will — and to being truly content. Virtues we thought impossible become possible through the regular practice of prayer. The immense importance of prayer is explained in the booklet Prayer: The Great Means of Grace from TAN Books/St. Benedict Press via quotes form St. Alphonsus Liguori, St. Teresa of Ávila, and others.
by St. Alphonsus Liguori
If you think you’re not only a little off the mark in life, but have completely missed the bus, this little booklet will be a grand revelation for you. In Uniformity with God’s Will, available from TAN Books/St. Benedict Press, St. Alphonsus explains that, far from being random or merely orchestrated by our fellow men, everything that occurs to us is willed by God. The Almighty is never taken off guard, and is in fact the first cause of all things — a realization that can bring deep serenity here and confident hope of heaven hereafter.
by Ven. Fulton Sheen
This is a book which is physically slim but spiritually thick, containing meditations from the greatest American orator of the 20th century. The paradox of happiness is that the less selfish we are, the more content we become. The more we put ego aside, the better we feel inside. This book, available from Dynamic Catholic, cuts contrary to the prevailing “wisdom” of the world, which is all about shortsighted gain and eternal bane. The teachings of the great archbishop will indeed give sheen to readers’ souls, made bright with joy.
by St. Alphonsus Liguori
This monumental work is more than 700 pages, but if you do take the time to read it, you might find that no other books are necessary. So thorough is St. Alphonsus that no spiritual stone is left unturned. Yes, even scruples (a word which comes from the Latin for “pebble”) are addressed, along with holy desires, humility, charity, prayer, resignation to God’s will, and even spiritual reading itself.
Despite its title, The True Spouse of Jesus Christ is not only for women religious, but male religious, priests, and all laypeople — whether married or single. Mother of Our Savior and Refuge of Sinners Publishing is kindly offering this book (and all their others) to new Lenten customers at 10 percent off with the code 10%WELCOME2020.
by the Saint Cecilia Choir of Saint John Cantius Church
Regardless of your state of mind, you probably had the wherewithal to notice that this selection is not even a book. I hear some scrupulous souls indicating that the CD, available through Biretta Books, comes with a booklet inside the plastic cover. Nonetheless, this exception is for those so stressed that they cannot focus on reading.
With music for Lent — and Holy Week specifically — there might be no album more conducive to peace of mind than Miserere, which includes the famous of Psalm 51 by the same name by Fr. Gregorio Allegri. It presents the sufferings endured by Our Lord in his passion in a beautiful way that elicits sympathy and transforms pain into joy.