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How to Read Your Way to Heaven Paperback – January 26, 2017
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The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
"If you want to develop a deep knowledge of our Faith, here is a reliable book that shows you how."
Fr. C. John McCloskey III
"We can read all day and read forever, and still feel as if we're not making progress. Vicki Burbach gets us out of the rut and onto a track toward real spiritual and cultural and intellectual progress. This is the kind of book that can make life so much richer by leading to many more books, and all in good order."
"Whether you're a lifelong Catholic or a skeptical inquirer, you'll find How to Read Your Way to Heaven by Vicki Burbach to be an indispensable gift for your intellectual and spiritual life. With this timeless treasure, Vicki has helped solve my "so many books and so little time" problem by providing a masterplan that's both exciting and accomplishable."
Lisa M. Hendey
Founder of CatholicMom.com and author of The Grace of Yes
From the Inside Flap
Many of us commit to some form of spiritual reading, but we find that our book choices are sporadic and often based on a whim rather than following a purposeful plan. Designed for individual or group settings, How to Read Your Way to Heaven will guide your quest to delve deeper into a relationship with Christ by meditating on the written word while organizing your reading around the four pillars of the Catholic Faith the Creed, the sacraments, morality, and prayer.
How to Read Your Way to Heaven is not merely another book to read. It is designed to be an invaluable tool for guiding and organizing your reading to help you on your journey to become a saint. And best of all, this fully integrated do-it-yourself spiritual reading program that can be easily followed by the busiest of Catholics with the tightest of schedules.
By following this plan, you'll meditate daily on Sacred Scripture and read the entirety of the Catechism over the course of the program. You'll be introduced to a treasure-trove of the greatest Catholic books ever written, and you'll learn prayerful reading methods such as lectio divina as well as time-tested advice on where and when to read.
Here you'll also find a list of the favorite books by leading Catholics of our day, including Bishop James Conley, Fr. Mike Schmitz, Fr. C.J. McCloskey, Jennifer Fulwiler, Peter Kreeft, Patrick Coffin, Karl Keating, Lisa Hendey, Fr. Timothy Gallagher, Mike Aquilina, and so many more.
Spiritual reading arms us for battle. We are called to be saints, and yet daily we are bombarded by a culture that drives our minds and hearts away from the supernatural life. Because what we choose to read makes a significant difference in our spiritual growth and understanding, we present this structured reading guide to help you read with a purpose.
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Whether we realize it or not, we all long for Jesus. Non-Christians have a restlessness that they may not realize is a desire to know God. Christians search for Jesus by seeking him in prayer, in Sacred Scripture, in other spiritual reading, and for some, in the sacraments.
In her book, “How to Read Your Way to Heaven - A Spiritual Reading Program for the Worst of Sinners, the Greatest of Saints, and Everyone in Between” Vicki Burbach provides an inspirational and practical way to do these things.
PART I of the book, “A Proper Approach to Spiritual Reading,” provides a wonderful background to why a person should read spiritual works. It seems obvious, but the author digs deep and provides inspirational insights why embarking on such a journey is fruitful. It is informative and compelling. I found it all to be interesting, but the part I found most helpful was the section on syntopical reading. As an avid reader, I have shelves of spiritual books. I could not tell you what is in half of them. I simply cannot remember. Burbach explains the method of syntopical reading, which is reading many things on one topic over a period of time. This helps to retain what you have read. I can’t wait to try this method!
PART II, “How the Program Works,” is the introduction to the program. It explains what the reading program is and why it is written the way it is.
The heart of the book is PART III, “Pillars of Joy: A Complete Spiritual Reading Program.” This section lays out the day-to-day schedule (five days a week) of reading that takes about 15 – 30 minutes a day. It includes reading from Sacred Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), and a few pages from a selected book that covers the same subject that is being read in the CCC. There are boxes by each entry so you can check off each section you have read. There are also empty lines so that if you choose to read a different book on the topic, you can write in the name of the book. The program is written to cover five years, but a one-year and three-year program are laid out as well. It is very flexible as Burbach explains and is do-able even for the busiest of people.
The appendices are a treasure trove of suggested reading by prominent Catholics.
I am giving this a five-star review because I found it to be an excellent book and cannot think of one thing I did not like. I look forward to working the program and gaining a well-rounded spiritual arsenal. I highly recommend it and have done so to my friends, who are now reading it themselves. Enjoy!
Burbach introduces the reader to the process, a method, but most of all the Who's Who in the Spiritual Life. She includes the writings of Sacred Scripture, the saints, doctors of the Church, historical and Church teaching, spiritual classics that have certainly passed the test of times, and some of the most gifted contemporary spiritual writers. I have found that many times people are simply looking for, as a bare minimum, a list of suggested reading. Burbach does this and much more, although her list is not complete (nor could it be). It will, however, lead the way for many a year.
One criticism that I have, as I have of so many good Catholic books, is that it is not available as an audiobook and the author does not offer a Kindle version with a Matchbook price or with Audible Narration. These days, everyone doesn't read books the same way--so I believe it is best to offer a book today in as many formats as possible. For instance, because of circumstances, travel being one, some of us can devour audiobooks (even now with Kindle) many times faster than the traditional hardcopy ones.
Incidentally, the title is meant to be attention-grabbing. The author has no illusions that reading alone will help anyone get to heaven. The readings she prescribes, however, have definitely kept me thinking about Jesus and my faith daily and this has been all to the good.