I’ll be honest: I probably wouldn’t have picked up Catholic Spiritual Practices: A Treasury of Old and New, edited by Colleen M. Griffith and Thomas H. Groome, if not for the Patheos Book Club.

That said, I’m glad it came my way. This book gave me some ideas for enhancing my own prayer life and could be a great gift for any number of people on my list.

There are a lot of books that will explain Catholic spirituality to you, but I especially appreciated the brevity in this one. The essays are easy to dip into and organized in a way that makes sense.

Did I mention that the essays are short? As in “read them while your husband is driving you down the road”?

But they are no less wonderful for their short copy.

For example, the essay on praying with images, in about 500 words, made me think about the plethora of Virgin Mary images and icons around my home in a whole new way.

You mean I could use those images to inspire prayer, as in intentional stopping-to-say-a-few-words-with-God? Maybe it’s not earth-shattering for you, but as I just glanced up with a smile at the icon of Our Lady of Perpetual Help that’s looking down on me right now, I couldn’t help but smile.

I wasn’t sure if I’d be putting my name inside this book (Christmas is coming, after all), but I think it has a home on my shelf. These essays are appropriate for the teens I teach in our parish’s religious education program and for the adults I come into contact with on a daily basis.

Here’s a glance at the Table of Contents, which gives you an idea of both the collection of writers and the topics included.

All in all, I recommend it.