Spiritual answers to psychological problems...

I've been cleaning out the book room for the past month. In theory, that should mean that the room is actually getting clean. In reality, it means that I'm just reading a lot more than usual. The upside is that I am finding some really great books that have been hidden for years. The one I'm currently rereading is called Stumbling Blocks or Stepping Stones: Spiritual Answers to Psychological Questions by Fr. Benedict Groeschel.

Great book. I highly recommend it. It isn't long (about 150 pages) and is relatively easy to read and understand. Father Groeschel is engaging and clear and gives concrete suggestions whenever he raises a question or difficulty. The chapters are organized as follows:

1. Sin, Temptation and Integrity
2. Unbelief, Doubt and Faith
3. Dread, Fear and Trust
4. Envy, Animosity and Forgiveness
5. Selfishness, Self-Love and Charity
6. Self-hate, Hesitancy and Love of God
7. Pride, Vanity and Love of God
8. Sadness, Sorrow and Joy
Appendix: Prayers for the Journey of Life

Father Groeschel is as gentle and down-to-earth as he is straightforward and professional; a refreshing and important voice for those of us who want to love and follow Jesus but who are painfully aware of our "baggage" and limitations.

From the Introduction:
"In the following essays I will discuss human weakness, and how it may be changed into stepping stones on the road to God. The means of transforming these obstacles into stepping stones on the the journey of life are not limited to our own ideas or attitudes, although these are important. Grace, combined with insight and choice, is the means of change. Unlike popular books of psychology, we will suggest attitudinal changes like forgiveness of self and of others, which may ultimately go beyond the power of the mind and will. This is where prayer and grace must become elements of change."

From the chapter on Selfishness, Self-Love and Charity:
"If you want to love, you must be willing to be vulnerable. The Gospel makes it clear that if you extend your hand often enough in a gesture of love, someone will drive a nail through it. If you love others, you may be deceived, betrayed and abandoned. If you love Christ, you must walk the difficult road of Calvary. But you will begin to see yourself borne by powers that are beyond you. It may not be very noticeable at first. It may be nor more than patience with criticism, or extra generosity after you have done enough. You may feel firmly drawn to God even when you can't pray. You will begin to change. And this is the effect of charity, which will overflow into a love for others that goes beyond affection or pity."

Tiffany at Family at the Foot of the Cross also has some recommended reading for the day and commentary that has inspired me. What are you reading today?
Posted on June 28, 2011 and filed under "Catholic reading".