Originally published on Aleteia, republished with their permission
Spiritually uplifting books, whether they be fictional, theological or biographical, can have a deep impact on our lives in more ways than one. A good spiritual book has the capacity to completely change our lives for the better, inspiring us to follow more closely after Jesus Christ.
However, our hearts are not always open to God’s quiet voice. He may want to speak to us through the pages of the book, but we are not ready to receive his message.
To help prepare fertile soil upon which the seeds of the Gospel can be sown, here are prayers for before and after reading a book. The following prayer can be said before you open the first page.
O fountain of all light! I beseech thee to enlighten my understanding: give me a diligent and docile spirit, and an efficacious desire to apply whatever I read to the glory of God, the sanctification of my soul, and the salvation of others.
Then after reading the selected pages for the day, you can pray the following prayer that recalls the contemplative spirit of the Virgin Mary and how she kept all the mysterious words spoken to her “in her heart.”
Grant, O my Jesus, that like thy blessed Mother, I may keep all thy words, pondering them in my heart.
This exercise can help you slow down the next time you open a spiritual work and let the words sink deep in your heart, having a profound effect on your life that will last many years.