Continued from yesterday...
Chapter 8. Reading
The power of a good book.
...St. Augustine was one of the greatest geniuses that ever lived. Unfortunately, he was plunged for many years in error and vice. One of the chief means which made him a great Saint was the reading of a good book, the life of St. Antony of the Desert.
St. Ignatius was a rough soldier, trained in the camp and not given much to piety, yet by reading one book he became the great saint that he is. He himself has written a book, The Spiritual Exercises, which has converted and sanctified thousands of its readers.
St. John Columbini was a very lax and indifferent Christian. Dinner was delayed one day, and he became very irritated. His wife offered him a book to amuse him until such time as dinner was served. Glancing at the title and seeing that it was a pious book, he flung it on the floor in a fury. Regretting this insult to his wife, he picked it up sat down and began to read it.
So great was the impression it made on him that he changed his whole life and became a Saint.
La Harpe taught the most impious doctrines, which he published in books very cleverly written, causing great harm to his readers.
He was thrown into prison, where the solitude proved almost intolerable. He found a pious book, which though far from his liking, he read for amusement.
Gradually, he became engrossed in it and read chapter after chapter. He was completely converted.
On leaving the prison, he dedicated the rest of his life to writing charming books, in a noble effort to undo all the mischief he had formerly done.
One of the gravest problems. that defied the ablest American statesmen for many years was abolition of slavery. Congress after Congress, Administration after Administration came and went in the effort to help the unfortunate slaves.
Finally, a lady writer published a book, the story of a poor slave, which aroused the indignation of all who read it. This book made it feasible for the government to abolish slavery forever in the United States and to set free the millions of slaves who were held in cruel bondage.
A good book that appeals to us is the best and most powerful of preachers. It enlightens us, it stimulates us, it consoles us....
From An Easy Way to Become a Saint
by E. D. M. (1949)
The Catholic Printing Press
With Ecclesiastical Approbation
13th June 1949