What does an abbot read, or at least this one? The Bible? Yes, every day. Novels? Not really. Books about theology and spirituality, Church and monastic history? On a regular basis. Murder mysteries and science fiction? Never. Lives of the Saints? Now and then. I suppose by now you get a general overview of my tastes.
I honestly spend very little time in front of a computer screen, so I regularly turn to the printed page in books, and for news and views, especially regarding Church and monastic topics, I tend to turn to periodicals.
Here I want to mention some specific magazines that regularly feed my mind and soul.
As a Benedictine, the “American Benedictine Review,” which appears quarterly, is a must-read for me. Quality articles on a diverse range of monastic topics, as well as book reviews of monastic-related themes, are a help in my monastic journey, now going on for fifty years!
Another valuable periodical for me is the “Catholic Herald,” published in England since 1888. The Hearld appears six times a year, and consists of one hundred pages of news, regular columns, special reports, articles relating to art and music, spirituality, book reviews, and usually something about pilgrimage and travel as well. The magazine is nicely illustrated and is tastefully produced.
I also always read from cover to cover the quarterly, published in the United States, called “One,” the official publication of “Catholic Near East Welfare Association,” a papal agency for humanitarian and pastoral support of Christians in the Middle East, Eastern Europe and India. Each issue is forty pages of engaging articles about the lives and challenges of people and religious of the Christian East. Like the Catholic Herald, it is a high quality production with excellent photos and layout.
Finally, another quarterly we get and that I always read is, “The Holy Land Review,” published by the Franciscan Commissarit of the Holy Land, based in Washington, D.C, whose friars serve especially in the Holy Land. Each issue is sixty-pages of inspiring articles relating to the land of Jesus, past and present.
That is my basic list. I might also mention the “Biblical Archaeology Review,” “Cistercian Studies Quarterly” and “Catholic Extension Magazine,” which nourish, inspire and encourage me and other monks here, and presumably people world-wide, who like myself, strive to light one candle, rather than curse the darkness.
Happy reading. All these publications have websites for subscribing to printed copies or online access. For me, though, there’s “no place like home” than a printed version.
Abbot Christian, OSB