“It is important for our own spiritual growth that we persevere in trying to know more of God. True and satisfying knowledge of anything is always the fruit of mental exertion and the exercise of our consciousness.”
Sundar Singh’s statement in Wisdom of the Sadhu is as concise a reason as any as to why I went searching when my wife Martha was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 1997. But I was searching for a way out of that fathomless maze, not necessarily for God.
Reared in an Indian Sikh family, Sundar Singh was an early 20th century mystic who, to his surprise, became a follower of the Christ at a young age. His book is one of many I scoured on spirituality, mostly Christian, and on health, medicine, and caregiving. A few were what you would call orthodox or traditional. Many were from off the beaten path—at least the path I’d been traveling on. I was desperate and in need of answers, and mainstream medicine and religion offered none.
Some have asked me what books did I read? So I’ve decided to share this sampling of books below, which I tapped through the early years of our 17-year journey.
Thanks for your attention.
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Spiritual Practice and Discipline
Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God.
Buechner, Frederick, Telling Secrets: A Memoir.
Bunyan, John, The Pilgrim’s Progress. Edited by Susan L. Rattiner.
Chesterton, G.K., Orthodoxy: The Romance of Faith.
Eddy, Mary Baker
~Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.
Foster, Richard J.
~Celebration of Discipline: The Path to Spiritual Growth.
~Streams of Living Water: Essential Practices from the Six Great Traditions of Christian Faith.
~The Ten Commandments: The Master Key to Life.
~The Sermon on the Mount.
~How Can I Find Healing?
~Your Healing Is Within You.
Goldsmith, Joel S.
~The Art of Meditation.
~The Thunder of Silence.
James, William, The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature.
Keating, Thomas, Open Mind, Open Heart: The Contemplative Dimension of the Gospel.
Kelsey, Morton T., The Other Side of Silence: A Guide to Christian Meditation.
Kelty, Matthew, OCSO
~Gethsemani Homilies. Edited by William O. Paulsell.
~My Song Is of Mercy: Writings of Matthew Kelty, Monk of Gethsemani. Edited by Michael Downey.
~Sermons in a Monastery: Chapter Talks.
~The Call of Wild Geese: Monastic Homilies.
Lamott, Anne, Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith.
Lewis, C.S., A Grief Observed.
MacNutt, Francis, Healing.
Main, John, OSB
~Moment of Christ: The Path of Meditation.
~Word into Silence.
May, Gerald G., MD, Will and Spirit: A Contemplative Psychology.
~No Man Is an Island.
~Opening the Bible.
~Spiritual Direction & Meditation.
~The Asian Journal of Thomas Merton. Edited by Naomi Burton, Brother Patrick Hart, and James Laughlin from original notebooks.
~The Seven Storey Mountain: An Autobiography of Faith.
~The Wisdom of the Desert.
Metaxas, Eric, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy.
Metzger, Bruce M. and Herbert G. May, Editors. The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha. Revised Standard Version. My emphasis on: Book of Job; The Psalms; The Gospel of Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount and Kingdom parables; The Gospel stories on Jesus’ execution and resurrection; The Revelation to John.
Pennington, M. Basil, OCSO
~Centering Prayer: Renewing an Ancient Christian Prayer Form.
~Lectio Divina: Renewing the Ancient Practice of Praying the Scriptures.
St. John of the Cross, Translated and edited by E. Allison Peers.
~Ascent of Mount Carmel.
~Dark Night of the Soul.
St. Teresa of Avila, Interior Castle. Translated and edited by E. Allison Peers.
Sandford, John and Paula, The Transformation of the Inner Man.
~The Healing Gifts of the Spirit.
~The Healing Light.
Sellner, Edward C., Wisdom of the Celtic Saints.
Sheen, Fulton J., Life of Christ.
Singh, Sundar, Wisdom of the Sadhu: Teachings of Sundar Singh. Compiled and edited by Kim Comer.
The Classics of Western Spirituality. (New York: Paulist Press).
~Athanasius of Alexandria, Athanasius: The Life of Antony and the Letter to Marcellinus. Translated by Robert C. Gregg.
~Author Unknown, The Cloud of Unknowing. Edited by Father James Walsh.
~Cassian, John, John Cassian Conferences. Translated by Colm Luibheid.
Waddell, Helen, translation and introduction, The Desert Fathers. Preface by Basil Pennington, OCSO.
Yancey, Philip, What’s So Amazing About Grace?
Health, Medical, and Caregiving
Balch, James F., MD, and Phyllis A. Balch, CNC, Prescripton for Nutritional Healing: A Practical A-Z Reference to Drug-free Remedies Using Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs & Food Supplements. 2nd edition. Part One; Part Two: Alzheimer’s Disease.
Benson, Herbert, MD, with William Proctor, Beyond the Relaxation Response.
Cannon, Walter B., MD, The Way of an Investigator: A Scientist’s Experiences in Medical Research.
~Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient: Reflections on Healing and Regeneration.
~Head First: The Biology of Hope.
Dossey, Larry, MD, Healing Words: The Power of Prayer and the Practice of Medicine.
Eisenberg, David, MD, with Thomas Lee Wright. Encounters With Qi: Exploring Chinese Medicine.
Gray-Davidson, Frena, Alzheimer’s Disease: Frequently Asked Questions.
Khalsa, Dharma Singh, MD, with Cameron Stauth, Brain Longevity: The Breakthrough Medical Program that Improves Your Mind and Memory.
Larson, David E., MD, editor-in-chief, Mayo Clinic Family Health Book: The Ultimate Illustrated Home Medical Reference. 2nd edition. Part II; Part IV: Your Brain and Nervous System.
Mace, Nancy L., MA, and Peter V. Rabins, MD, MPH, The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for Persons with Alzheimer’s Disease, Related Dementing Illnesses, and Memory Loss Later in Life.
Murray, Michael, ND, and Joseph Pizzorno, ND, Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. Revised 2nd edition. Parts 1 & II; Part III: Alzheimer’s Disease.
Ornstein, Robert, PhD, and David Sobel, MD, The Healing Brain: Breakthrough Discoveries About How the Brain Keeps Us Healthy.
Selye, Hans, MD, The Stress of Life.
Simonton, O. Carl, MD, Stephanie Matthews-Simonton, and James L. Creighton, Getting Well Again: A Step-by-Step, Self-Help Guide to Overcoming Cancer for Patients and Their Families.