The Rule of Benedict: Insights for the Ages by Joan Chittister O.S.B.
Provides a means of reading the entire Rule 3 times a year and provides very insightful meditations on the portions in reading for the day.
Earhen Vessels: The Practice of Personal Prayer According to the Patristic Tradition by Fr. Gabriel Bunge O.S.B.
Practical introduction to practice of prayer. There is nothing like this little book to get the beginner and the experienced to a deeper level of understanding and practice. Very good!
The Life of Anthony: The Coptic Life and the Greek Life translated by Tim Vivian and Apostolos N. Athanassakis
The two main texts on the life of Anthony on facing pages. The Life of Anthony was intended as a book on how to to live the spiritual life and certainly can still inspire that life today. It also includes a letter to St. Anthony’s disciples by Bishop Serapion of Thmuis and the Encomium of St. Anthony by John of Shmun. It is accompanied with a solid introduction to the work in order to provide non-specialists good access to the Life of Anthony.
John Cassian: Conferences translated and edited by Colm Luibheid
A selection of essential chapters from St. John Cassian. The book is set up in such a way that it serves as a guide toward spiritual practice, prayer and knowledge of God. St. John Cassian is, like St. Benedict, a great treasure of Western spirituality.
Why God became Man by St. Anselm of Canterbury
An excellent understanding of the human need of salvation that only God can give. The book has become controversial in recent times because of Protestant Liberal misunderstanding or Eastern Orthodox (Lossky and others) misreading of it. Realizing the hopeless position sin has put mankind in relation to God is not a popular thing today, but that does not mean it is any less necessary to understand. St. Anselm’s little book can help us see some aspects of this and appreciate the love God has expressed and made known in the Cross of Christ (see for an interpretative guide David Bentley Hart’s A Gift Exceeding every Debt in Pro Ecclesia Vol. VII, Summer 1998, Nr. 3., p. 333-349).
The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
See the wiki for why I recommend it – it is a sober diagnosis of the ‘darkness’ in all our hearts.
Pick one or two (not more) of these volumes if you wish. I think they would be worth your while!
Fr. Gregory +