When you want to grow spiritually, immersing yourself in the word of God will help you increase your knowledge and understanding of the Catholic faith. The collection of Catholic books is vast, and deciding where to start won’t always be simple. Fortunately, whether you want to focus on learning about the basics of Catholicism, read spiritual classics or immerse yourself in literature, you can find the perfect read through many best-selling Catholic books.
If you’re wondering what Catholic books you should read, here’s a list of some of the best Catholic books to help strengthen your faith:
1. “The Bible: Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition”
The best way to understand the word of God and to learn more about His plans for us is by diving into scripture. When you read the Bible, you’ll learn the truth about Christ and how to become a better disciple through Him. By reading the Catholic edition of the Bible, you receive comprehensive knowledge of the different periods of Christianity.
The Bible is the most important Catholic book for every person who practices Catholicism to read, whether you read it online or have a physical copy.
2. “My Way of Life/Summa Theologica”
“My Way of Life/Summa Theologica” summarizes all theological knowledge of God and man from the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas. Divided into three parts — God, Man and the God-Man — St. Thomas’s teachings answer questions discussing the role of God, man and the life of Christ. While the original version contains 38 tracts, 631 questions, 3,000 articles and 10,000 objections with answers, you can also read the pocket version with condensed explanations.
3. “The Bible Compass: A Catholic’s Guide to Navigating the Scriptures”
When you need guidance and help while studying scripture and spending time with God, “The Bible Compass” can point you in the right direction. Written by Edward Sri, “The Bible Compass” is one of the best Catholic books that acts as an excellent resource for both new believers and life-long Catholics diving deeper into their faith. Studying the Bible will help you strengthen your relationship with Christ.
By following “The Bible Compass,” you’ll understand the ways of the Bible through the Catholic Church’s traditions and perspective.
4. “The Confessions of St. Augustine”
“The Confessions of St. Augustine” focuses on the course and meaning of his life through religious reflection. There are 13 books, with the first nine acting as an autobiography. Throughout the nine books, St. Augustine provides details about his life and journey of being a bishop and how he ultimately decided on living a life of purity.
“Confessions'” other books stress the importance of continued scripture study and how the pursuit of wisdom is inadequate to achieving perfection. When you read “Confessions,” you’ll learn how St. Augustin came to be a devout follower of Christ and made peace with his imperfections. Among the books that every Catholic should read, “Confessions” is a standout that can help you reflect on your faith journey.
5. “The Imitation of Christ”
When you want a spiritual devotional, “The Imitation of Christ” by Thomas à Kempis is an excellent book for individuals who need guidance and affirmation about living a spiritual life. The book uses plain language and provides simple ways to understand the meaning of living a Christ-centered life. “The Imitation of Christ” is highly influential and widely accepted among Catholics. Whether you’re a new believer or one diving deep into living a life for Christ, you can find guidance with “The Imitation of Christ.”
6. “The Spirit of Catholicism”
When you want to learn more about the Catholic faith and Catholic Church fundamentals, “The Spirit of Catholicism” by Karl Adam is another important Catholic book. It’s become a pioneering work of Catholic theology, having a significant influence on introducing the Catholic faith to people. The book provides a dispassionate, calm and transparent consideration of the central concepts of the Catholic faith for all people — Catholic or not — to understand what the Catholic Church truly represents.
7. “The Story of a Soul”
Learning about different saints is vital to understanding the way of faith in the Catholic Church. The autobiography, “The Story of a Soul” by St. Thérèse of Lisieux, is a spiritual classic. St. Thérèse of Lisieux wrote about her love of God and showed how grace moved through her while being devoted to God. Though St. Thérèse of Lisieux died at a young age, her words, teachings and grace live on through her book.
8. “Catechism of the Catholic Church”
If you want to learn more about the Catholic Church, its teachings and traditions, “Catechism of the Catholic Church” is essential reading for the Catholic faith. This book dives into what Catholics believe worldwide. It draws on content from the Bible, Mass, sacraments, prayers and the lives of saints. Whether you’re a new believer, a teen or want to brush up on the ways of the Church, reading “Catechism of the Catholic Church” provides an overview for anyone interested in Catholicism.
9. “Finding True Happiness: Satisfying Our Restless Hearts (Happiness, Suffering, and Transcendence)”
Happiness is a concept we all strive to have in our daily lives, even when it seems out of reach. Author Fr. Robert Spitzer wrote “Finding True Happiness” to help people identify and reach happiness without relying on materialistic and societal standards. Combining philosophical, spiritual and psychological wisdom, Fr. Spitzer provides practical advice for choosing happiness in the life given to us.
10. “Beautiful Mercy”
Displaying mercy plays a central role in living a Christ-centered life. Pope Francis, Matthew Kelly and other renowned Catholic figures and writers wrote “Beautiful Mercy” to showcase and inspire readers about the love that’s possible for all during any life stage. The book focuses on the seven spiritual and corporal works of mercy that can provide meaning and understanding for the power of God’s mercy. This is one of the most interesting Catholic books available.
Spread the Word of God by Supporting Catholic World Mission
Engaging in books about the Catholic faith can help strengthen your faith and understanding of the Catholic Church. When you’re unsure where to start, the best-selling Catholic novels and books are excellent beginning points for learning about the Gospel. Once you feel comfortable in your faith, you can help spread the word of God.
Contributing to Catholic-based organizations is one way to spread the word of God. Catholic World Mission is a missionary organization that alleviates material and spiritual poverty by empowering the poor and sharing the Gospel of Christ. As a separate entity from the Catholic Church, we rely on your support to help fund important missionary and humanitarian work all over the globe.
These donations make Catholic World Mission’s projects possible to continue fighting poverty and world hunger while sharing the love of God. Every donation makes a difference in professing the love of Jesus Christ worldwide. Help spread the word of God when you make a generous donation today to Catholic World Mission.
Learn More About Catholic Inspiration & Encouragement
Deacon Rick Medina is the Executive Director of Catholic World Mission and oversees the management of all of Catholic World Mission's projects in over 35 countries. He was ordained a deacon of the archdiocese of Atlanta in 2013. He currently serves at All Saints Catholic Church in Dunwoody, Georgia, and is active in several ministries, including RCIA, baptism preparation, Life Teen, Altar Server group, Grief Share, and Adult Faith Formation.