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"We do not always realize what a radical suggestion it is for us to read to be formed and transformed rather than to gather information. We are information seekers. We love to cover territory."

~ Macrina Weiderkehr

A Guide to Spiritual Reading

Reading for Information vs. Reading for Transformation

The difference between reading for information and reading for transformation has little to do with content but rather with:

  • intention
  • attitude
  • manner

Consider these 2 scenarios...

Imagine that you have just come home tired from a long, busy day. You skim the front page of the newspaper and leaf through the mail, putting aside a hand-addressed envelope; you recognize the writing to be that of someone dear to you. At the end of the evening, you go back to the hand-addressed envelope and take it to a quiet, comfortable chair where you settle in. You study the writing on the envelope. You anticipate what is inside, and with eagerness open it, savoring the words and images that are just for you. You hold the sender close in your heart, sensing that person's presence in your life.

In these two scenarios, can you detect the difference between the reader's intention, attitude, and manner? The first scenario is interested in speed and information; it is utilitarian. The second is about heart and receptivity

Spiritual reading is more like the second scenario. It is a meditative approach to reading that focuses on quality not quantity, and requires unhurried time and an open heart. Reading spiritually changes who we are & what we care about; it creates a ripple effect which changes our thinking, behaviors, and relationships.


  1. Center yourself in a couple minutes of silence.
  2. Acknowledge the presence of all that is Sacred and Holy around you, welcome it, and ask to be led in your reading.
  3. Read slowly, taking time to reflect on the words or ideas that stand out to you.
  4. Prayerfully ask what these words might mean for you.
  5. If you would like, journal with what you are grappling.
  6. Prayerfully offer any concerns or questions that remain.
  7. With gratitude in your heart, ask for guidance as you continue to seek in your daily life what these words mean for you, and close with a couple more minutes in silence, 

Note: As with other healthy practices, such as exercise and nutritious eating, we experience the greatest benefit when we do it on a regular basis. It is important to have a regular practice of spiritual reading, 20 - 30 minutes, 3 or more times per week