All posts tagged: fiction

10 Books for Adult Faith Formation: Part 4

Continuing our five-part follow-up to the essay “Forming Adults in Faith Through Fiction,” here are the next ten recommended books for use in adult faith formation. 31) C. S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia This children’s series unfolds largely in the land of Narnia, where four human children from England find themselves charged with a noble task, where all the created world lives in relationship and communication with each other, and where the great lion Aslan is king. It is a rich allegory of the Christian story that can be powerful for adults and children alike.     32) C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters A senior devil, Screwtape, writes letters to his nephew, Wormwood, instructing him in the work of drawing souls away from God, and offering a reinterpretation of many modern considerations (or lack thereof) of temptation and sin.       33) C. S. Lewis, Till We Have Faces: A Myth Retold An interpretation of the myth of Cupid and Psyche as seen through the eyes of Psyche’s sister Orual. The novel …

10 Books for Adult Faith Formation: Part 3

Continuing our five-part follow-up to the essay “Forming Adults in Faith Through Fiction,” here are the next ten recommended books for use in adult faith formation. 21) Patricia Hample, Virgin Time: In Search of the Contemplative Life This spiritual memoir describes one woman’s search for the spiritual depth for which she longs. Her description of her experience provides a practical and illuminating account of the reality of prayer.       22) Ron Hansen, Mariette in Ecstasy A novel about a religious sister’s religious experience which carefully raises questions about the relationship between physical and spiritual health, and the possible congruence with and confusion between instability and holiness.         23) Marjorie Holmes, Two From Galilee and Three From Galilee Holmes provides an imaginative meditation on the day-to-day experience of the Holy Family as they lived life between angelic apparitions and divine confirmations of their roles in salvation history. Two From Galilee begins with the Annunciation and concludes with Jesus’ birth; its sequel, Three From Galilee, takes up the boyhood of Jesus.     24) Victor Hugo, …

10 Books for Adult Faith Formation: Part 2

Continuing our five-part follow-up to the essay “Forming Adults in Faith Through Fiction,” here are the next ten recommended books for use in adult faith formation. 11) Dorothy Day, The Long Loneliness This spiritual autobiography shows Day’s reflections on God’s work in her life in her non-religious upbringing, her surprising conversion, and the founding and running of the Catholic Worker movement.         12) Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov The story of the four Karamazov brothers who each struggle with the mark of “Karamazov baseness,” whose force reaches a head in the murder of their father. Through the relationships between passionate Dmitri, brilliant and skeptical Ivan, compassionate Alyosha, and unctuous Smerdyakov, the novel takes up profound considerations of God and faith, suffering and evil, and human freedom and responsibility.     13) Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment In this psychologically tremendous novel, protagonist Raskolnikov kills someone whose life should be of no value or consequence. Raskolnikov’s inability to escape the mental, emotional, and spiritual anguish of living with his guilty conscience speaks to the …

10 Books for Adult Faith Formation: Part 1

The stories we read have a particular power to shape our understanding of ourselves, of other people, of our world, and of God. The following books have been identified as significant texts and are recommended for use in adult faith formation, as described in my recent essay “Forming Adults in Faith through Fiction.” 1) Dante Aligheri, The Divine Comedy The fourteenth century epic poem that chronicles the author’s journey through hell, purgatory, and paradise, and provides some of the most profound reflections on faith, language, and love in all of literature. It will be important to choose an edition of the text that provides substantial notes in order to help readers understand the poem’s context.       2) George Bernanos, Diary of a Country Priest A novel about a young French priest and his struggles to come to peace with the persistent unfruitfulness of his parish ministry. An excellent text for considering the differences between the feeling of faith and the reality of faith.       3) Wendell Berry, Jayber Crow At the …

Forming Adults in Faith Through Fiction

The National Directory for Catechesis and Our Hearts Were Burning Within Us: A Pastoral Plan for Adult Faith Formation in the United States both name the following three goals of adult faith formation: to “invite and enable ongoing conversion to Jesus in holiness of life,” to “promote and support active membership in the Christian community,” and to “call and prepare adults to act as disciples in mission to the world.”[1] Offering a model of lifelong growth in faith, adult faith formation is the principal form of catechesis in the Church and the model upon which all other catechetical efforts are to be based.[2] Thus, adult faith formation can be summarized as a ministry of connection, fostering an adult’s relationship to Christ, to the Church, and to a missionary vocation in the world. This vision of three-fold connectedness stands in stark contrast to the reality of many adult Catholics today. Pew’s 2008 “U.S. Religious Landscape Survey” revealed that one-third of self-identified adult Catholics believe in an impersonal God; this statistic reflects a startling disconnect between these …