Tessa Bielecki’s Recommended Reading for Growing in Intimacy with Christ

In her CD teaching series Wild at Heart: Radical Teachings of the Christian Mystics, former-Carmelite-turned-desert hermit Tessa Bielecki offers a wealth of suggestions of books one can read to deepen a sense of who Christ is. This veritable library for Christian formation includes poetry, art books, lives of saints and mystics, and children’s stories. In other words, it’s not just a dry selection of commentaries on the Gospels, thank heaven. Indeed, it is such a wonderful list that I took the time to write down all her recommendations, and so I’m archiving it here (this is somewhat of a selfish exercise, for many of these books I myself am unfamiliar with, and so this list is in large measure a wish list for yours truly). Let me begin by recommending Wild at Heart itself: it’s a six-CD set that in many ways beautifully complements my forthcoming Big Book of Christian Mysticism: it celebrates Christian mysticism not as some interesting footnote to church history, but as a living, breathing, dynamic spirituality into which each of us are being called, here and now, in our own unique way of course. If you enjoy reading my blog, I think it’s safe to say you’ll enjoy Tessa’s CDs.

Once you get your hands on Wild at Heart you’ll find disc four to be filled with all sorts of interesting recommendations for further reading. Here is that list, for your browsing pleasure. The first eight titles include poetry, not all of which is necessarily Christian or even religious, but which can initiate us into the mystery and wonder that lies at the heart of an encounter with Christ. Then comes two books that feature images of Christ from around the world, that can help to liberate us from the idolatry of only envisioning Christ in our own image. Bielecki then turns her attention to Christian mystics and to Christian saints, noting that one way to deepen our intimacy with Christ is by learning more about the greatest lovers of Christ throughout history. Finally, she caps off her list by commending C. S. Lewis’s Narnia books, noting that his image of Christ as the wild lion, Aslan, can be particularly useful for those of us who lead overly domesticated lives.

With the poets, Bielecki only mentions the author by name, and so I’ve taken the liberty of selecting a work or two for each author that seems to best represent that particular poet’s work. Of course, if you are drawn to a particular poet, you may well wish to take your exploration further.

So here’s the list:

So there you go. Happy reading, and happy deepening of your intimacy with Christ.

Preliminary Practices for Christian Contemplatives
Pentecost and Ecstasy
Entering the Year of Mercy: Are You Willing to Take the "Rahner Challenge"?
Busting the "Goody Two Shoes" Stereotype of Saints
About Carl McColman

Author of Befriending Silence, The Big Book of Christian Mysticism, Answering the Contemplative Call, and other books. Retreat leader. Speaker. Professed Lay Cistercian.

  • http://www.philfosterlpc.com phil foster

    Would add Mary Oliver’s 2006 collection, “Thirst,” written after the death of her partner of 40+ years. Thanks for this post, Carl.

  • http://modernanchorite.blogspot.com/ Jay

    Wow! This list looks simply fantastic. Thanks for sharing it.

  • http://www.yearningforgod.blogspot.com Jan

    Thanks to you, I ordered the cd set. I remember really liking the author’s books on Teresa of Avila.