The importance and benefit of daily holy reading
November 16, 2021 • 5 min
The saints practiced and strongly recommended daily reading of holy books. Here are how some examples of how these very Saints profited from holy reading, and how it even turned them into Saints.
St. Francis de Sales recommended holy reading at least a little every day, by good and approved holy books. (This website strives to promote and share only good and approved holy books.) He himself was clearly an avid reader of holy books, quoting effortlessly the life of St. Teresa of Avila which he quoted effortlessly, the writings of St. Augustine, the letters of St. Jerome, and others, which proved his deep familiarity with these writings. He was also known to read the Spiritual Combat daily for many years.
St. Teresa of Avila profited much from holy books in the beginning of her devout life. They drew her up to heavenly thoughts and away from worldly thoughts, encouraging her on to the beginning of her return to virtue, and away from her life of sin. They helped her learn how to pray as a complete beginner.
St. Ignatius of Loyola was first drawn to a holy life by reading the Life of Christ and Lives of the Saints while bedridden from an injury. His thoughts went from dark, worldly, hopeless ambitions, which left him in anguish, to hopeful, peaceful, and happy thoughts, that left him with a much stronger and more lasting joy. He kept repeating to himself, if St. Francis of Assisi and St. Dominic could do these great things, why can’t I also? This encouraged him on a path toward God.
St. Augustine, while waiting at someone’s house, picked up a book on the table by the door, which so happened to be the Life of St. Antony of the Desert, written by St. Athanasius. He picked it up out of curiosity, and was so fascinated by it, that he exclaimed, such amazing things haave happened as this—and so close in history to our time! If they did these things, why could not I? The true story he read had encouraged him to a life of being a hermit (although God called him onto another path).
Edith Stein, a Jewish woman during the Nazi regime, who had turned atheist as a young adult, was staying at a friend’s house, and picked up the Autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila—and couldn’t put it down all night, finally saying, “this is the truth.” She was converted, baptized, and became a great Saint, philosopher, theologian, a nun with the new name St. Teresa Benedict of the Cross, and finally a martyr under the Nazis.
Holy reading has this effect, because its content is either about the Saints, or by the Saints, who had the Spirit of God. And the Holy Spirit is precisely who turns us into Saints. So, reading these books will help us to imbue that same Spirit with which it was written.
St. Paul says, “For what person knows a man’s thoughts except the spirit of the man which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.” [1 Corinthians 2:11]
So if we want to know what God thinks, we should turn to the Saints and their writings, for these holy men and women were filled with the Spirit of God. They know how to interpret the Sacred Scriptures of the Church, which the Spirit of God coauthored. They know how to interpret the Sacred Tradition of the Church, which collectively they helped to pass down to all future generations in its purity through their writings.
This website is dedicated to spreading a love of reading the lives and writings of the Saints, encouraging it to become a daily practice, and making it incredibly easy to do in this digital age. The home page always has random book snippets and the latest daily book snippets, posted out of the best of the best books available on this website, with topics chosen to be particularly relevant and helpful on trying to find the path to holiness in the present age.