10 Books for Real Life Catholics


I have SO MANY favorite books! My all-time favorite is the Bible, and I love to soak up some of God's Word every day for at least 15 minutes. St. Paul wrote, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2 This all starts with Sacred Scripture, and I think this is the most important reading we can do.  

There are several other books that have impacted me over the last several years, and here's a short list I highly recommend from giants of our faith like St. John Paul II. There are also some secular and historical books that have meant a lot to me, especially as me and my team at Real Life Catholic focus on igniting a bold and contagious faith worldwide to share the beauty, power, and truth of the GOSPEL with a world that has largely forgotten it. Join us, and let's set the world on fire! Learn more about how you help at RealLifeCatholic.com.

The Power of Silence: Robert Cardinal Sarah: If you were born after 1930 or are currently alive and not living in a cave, your “insides” are probably too noisy. Sarah’s book was a much needed gut check for me, and helped me reclaim sanity amidst a schedule that’s often way too busy.

iGen: Jean M. Twenge: For more on the damage of the NOISE that isn’t only making us less holy, but less human, read iGen. It’s a must-read if you have kids, but also, to grasp the negative impact of constant iPhone generated distractions in your own life, and in the world.

New Seeds of Contemplation: Thomas Merton: Wanna kill your ego? Of course not. None of us do. But the only way to discover yourself is to die to yourself. New Seeds shows the connection of contemplative prayer to a heart that’s truly open to others, and above all, THE Other.

Building a Story Brand: Donald Miller: If you run any sort of business or ministry you need to read this book. It’s a rallying cry to focus yourself around a simple message to the people you serve. The kind of focus this helped me achieve didn’t only make our work more effective at Real Life Catholic, it made me more focused and peaceful.

Screwtape Letters: C.S. Lewis: The battle is real, and so are the dark angels fighting for your soul. CS Lewis kicks them out into the light in a read that’s both utterly profound and a lot of fun...which isn’t easy when writing on demonology! CS Lewis is truly legendary, and within the first few pages of this book, you’ll see why.

Rise, Let Us Be On Our Way: Pope St. John Paul II: Ever wish you could sit with John Paul II for a few hours and just chat with him as with your grandpa? Then read this book. It felt like I was with an old friend, who is still very much alive in Christ.

John Adams: David McCullough: For all the problems in America, I love my country. And there are divinely inspired “sparks” in our history as a nation that we desperately need to focus on to light our way into the future. This biography “humanizes” American history through the lens of one of the main authors of the Declaration of Independence who died on the Fourth of July, 50 years to the day of it’s signing, and within hours of the other primary author, Thomas Jefferson.

Lord of the Rings Trilogy, and the creation narrative from the Silmarillion: JRR Tolkien and Christopher Tolkien: The Lord of the Rings gives a unique insight into the saga of salvation history, and the saga of of everyday life, death, love, family, and friendship. It’s an epic saga lived out by everyday hobbits—just like you and me—where tender love underlies the most heroic acts. And if you want to go full-geek, read the Silmarillion too. It’s okay if you don’t finish it, but the creation narrative therein offers insights into Genesis and into the mystery of the existence of evil and of suffering that absolutely blew my mind.