Everything that we learn comes through our intellect. When we digest bad information we pollute our intellects, so should be careful as to how we educate ourselves. A Catholic today must strive to remain grounded in the tradition of the Church by focusing on the spiritual and theological classics, many so loved by the Saints. One must first root themselves in solid Catholic publications, whether they are converts or cradle Catholics. I recommend first reading some of the spiritual classics such as ‘The Dialogue’ of Saint Catherine of Siena, ‘Introduction to the Devout Life’ by Saint Francis de Sales and the lives of the Saints. It is important to root oneself in theological works that are rooted in Thomism such as the ‘Catechism of Trent’. By doing this one becomes properly formed and begins to think like and behave like a Catholic. I believe that a well-grounded Catholic should always be reading and studying about their faith. We learn not for the sake of learning, but for the sake of knowing God better so we can love and serve Him better.
In today's climate there are many books being published claiming to be Catholic. One cannot be too careful in deciding what reading material they digest. Many modern books are being written by converts who have more zeal than knowledge and often infuse their Protestant mindset, creating their own version of Catholicism. In my opinion these types of pseudo-Catholics are jut as dangerous as outright heretics. There are numerous modernists who pollute Catholic doctrine with modern philosophical concepts which are not compatible with Catholic doctrine or right reason. For new converts, I would avoid most published spiritual and theological publications that were published after the closing of the Second Vatican Council. This may sound extreme to some, but I have been burned, and been down the road of reading many of the newer titles and I had to relearn everything by reading older books or reprints of older books. For example there are few new books written on the Mass that are worth reading. In fact, most of them are damaging to ones understanding of the Mass. However getting your hands on a copy of Father Dunney's book on the Mass from the 40s is invaluable. It think it is safe to say that Catholic literature is at an all time low-point in the history of the Church. It is also true that we have access to more of the classics than ever before. We should take advantage of this fact. Our Lord did not leave us helpless in this regard.
Listed here are some of the books I would recommend reading for a solid foundation to build upon. Although there are hundreds of titles I could list, below are some of what I consider to be essentials for a laypersons Catholic bookshelf.
1. The Story of Good Success and Novena- Kimball
2. The Admirable Life of Mother Mariana Vols 1 and 2- Horvat
3. Apologetics and Catholic Doctrine- Scheeben
4. The Dialogue- Catherine of Siena
5. The Letters of St Catherine of Siena- Noffke 4 vols
6. Introduction to the Devout Life- de Sales (There are many publications)
7. Catechism of Trent- Barronius
8. Thomas Aquinas (His personality and thought)- Grabmann
9. The Sayings of the Desert Fathers- The Systematic Collection
10. Forgive Us Our Trespasses- Loyola
11. Trust- Loyola
12. The Soldier of Christ- Loyola
13. The Spiritual Writings of Denis the Carthusian- Riain
14. Blessed Be God Prayer Book- PCB
15. The Blessed Sacrament Prayer Book- Lasance
16. The Golden Key of Heaven- Claret
17. The Mass- Dunney
18. True Devotion to Mary- de Montfort
19. Mother of the Saviour- Lagrange
20. Aquinas' Commentaries and Writings- Aquinas Institute
21. The Soul of the Apostolate- Chautard
22. The Rosary: It's History and Meaning- William
The Restoration of the Church
“In order to free the Church from the slavery of these heresies, those whom the merciful love of my Blessed Son will destine for the restoration, will need great strength of will, constancy, courage and much confidence in God. And to put this faith and confidence of the just to the test, there will be occasions in which, apparently all will be lost and paralyzed; and then will be the happy beginning of the complete restoration.”As Catholics find themselves more and more under the pressing secularism that is coming from within the Church, we realize that a restoration is needed. The Church is largely failing in its mission to evangelize and bring the message of the Gospel to the world. Ecumenism has failed and many Catholics in hierarchy are against active proselytization and conversion of those outside the Church. The Sacraments have been profaned and most have lost any sense of sin. The Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is more often than not a den of irreverence, with no respect being shown to the Blessed Sacrament or the Sacrifice that is taking place on the altar. Many despair over this crisis in the Church, but we must fall into this diabolical state. The title of Our Lady of Good Success pertains to an event, which is the restoration of the Church.
(Our Lady of Good Success to Mother Mariana)
To be a part of this restoration which Our Lady speaks of, we must have an unrelenting attachment to our faith. We must put all of our confidence in God and persevere in prayer and meditation. Through the practice of personal holiness, devotion to Our Lady and our attachment to the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass we can be a part of the much needed restoration of Holy Mother Church. We know well the struggle that many face today in winning the race and persevering to the end in their struggle to reach their heavenly homeland. We also know that in order for us to live our vocations successfully we must be men and women of prayer. We feel that those who persevere in this trifold mission, will be doing God’s will, which is the highest hope that anyone can hope to achieve. May we have the courage and confidence in God to persevere to the end and participate in the restoration of Holy Mother Church.
"(The Image) will be consecrated with holy oil, and in it, all sinners and tormented souls will find forgiveness of their sins, comfort and choice to all your needs and tribulations. For that, my Blessed Mother wants to take so sweet The invocation of Good Success. " (Jesus speaking to Mother Mariana)