READING REQUIRES DISCIPLINE. Spiritual reading, especially, is a discipline.
It differs from other reading because it’s study we take on, perhaps at the request of a spiritual director, to guide our growth in virtue, knowledge of doctrine, and union with God. It’s not reading for entertainment, really, or even for education. It should lead to prayer and is itself a form of prayer.
We need help finding works that suit us in our particular circumstances…. We want to make sure that our spiritual reading does not proceed according to our whims, interests, or idiosyncrasies of taste…. Thus, the best works for you and me will be those that are assigned to us by an experienced spiritual director.
Our reading should be regular. In fact, it should be daily. It should never be burdensome…. [We] should begin as our meals begin: with a prayer…. It’s not good to consume spiritual books in a gluttonous way…. We should take the words in slowly, for assimilation. We should read a little, pray, and give ourselves a chance to digest what we’ve taken in.
Our needs will vary according to our individual circumstances and to the seasons of our lives…. [Let us] all hear the call that St. Augustine heard so long ago: Tolle, lege! Tolle, lege! (Take up and read! Take up and read!) It’s a discipline that will help us advance in the spiritual life.
Scott Hahn, Signs of Life (New York: Doubleday, 2009) Pages 119, 120, 121. Used with permission.