Free Catholic Spiritual Classics to Download
The free e-books below are in .pdf format for use with either PC or Mac.
Note: The inside text (written part) of most of the following e-books are in the public domain in the United States. The e-book covers are not in the public domain. If you are outside the United States, check the laws of your country before downloading, copying, displaying, performing, distributing or creating derivative works based on these works. The copyright laws of where you are located govern what you can do with this work. Copyright laws in most countries are in a constant state of change.
Instructions for Downloading:
Hint: Don’t just click and on the links below as that will not download the file but will open them on you browser instead. Follow these instructions:
For PC Users: To download an e-book, use the right click button on your mouse to “right-click” on the book title.
For Mac Users: To download an e-book, use your mouse button and “click and hold” down your mouse button until a menu pops up on your screen. Follow the menu instructions to download the e-book (which will say something like “save as target” or “download link to disk”).
Many of the e-books require Acrobat Reader or Adobe Reader to read them. Most computers already have this program. If don’t have this program or you want to update the one you have, you can download Adobe Reader.
Right-Click on the book titles to download as per above instructions:
History: The original Douay-Rheims (DR) Bible was a scrupulous English translation of the Latin Vulgate Bible “diligently compared with the Hebrew, Greek and other divers languages”. It was a compiled version of the works of the two English colleges, Douay and Rheims in 1582 and 1609. This version was revised and “diligently compared to the Latin Vulgate” by Bishop Richard Challoner in 1749–1752 which is the version being offered here. (The Latin Vulgate was a translation of the Bible into Latin from the Hebrew and Aramaic by St. Jerome between 382 and 405.)
Abandonment to Divine Providence
by Jean-Pierre de Caussade
This book tells how to experience God’s providence in your life. “This is an amazing 18th century classic divided into 2 parts… Written for all no matter how advanced spiritually. The author believes that God hides behind the simplest of daily activities and can be found through total surrender to whatever His will is for the individual. Therefore, self-abandonment is the key to spiritual development. An outstanding spiritual tool, revealing new insights with each reading.” (review from Amazon.com)
by St. Alphonsus Liquori
Written in the 1700’s this book explains how God knows everything including what is best for us. It explains how God desires what is best for each of us because of his great love for us. It tells how we can ultimately experience the best life, now and hereafter by conforming our lives to God’s ways. Even if we don’t understand why things happen they way they do, we can put our trust in God that he will bring good out of things, no matter how bad they seem. The book’s main message is to “embrace the will of God in all things, prosperous or adverse.”
by St. John of the Cross
A classic of the spiritual life from the 16th century compares the spiritual journey to climbing a mountain and talks about contemplative prayer. “Treats of how the soul may prepare itself in order to attain in a short time to Divine union. Gives very profitable counsels and instruction, both to beginners and to proficients, that they may know how to disencumber themselves of all that is temporal and not to encumber themselves with the spiritual, and to remain in complete detachment and liberty of spirit, as is necessary for Divine union.” It is recommended that if you study this book you also read a good modern commentary such as the “Fire Within” by Thomas Dubay as it is a very in depth book.
by St. Augustine
Augustine was a pagan philospher who converted to Christianity. The Confessions are not Augustine’s autobiography. Written in the 4th century, they are, instead, a deliberate effort to recall those crucial episodes and events in which he can now see and celebrate the mysterious actions of God’s. Thus he follows the windings of his memory as it represents the upheavals of his youth and the stages of his disorderly quest for wisdom. Augustine had a complex motive for undertaking such a self-analysis. His pilgrimage led him to a most unexpected outcome.
by St. John of the Cross
“It is well to understand that the soul that wrote the “Dark Night” is now in the state of perfection, which is the union of love with God, having passed through severe trials, by means of spiritual exercise in the narrow way of eternal life… to reach a high and happy union with God. Since this road is so strait, and since there are so few that enter by it, the soul considers it a great happiness and good chance to have passed along it to the said perfection of love calling this strait road with full propriety ‘dark night’… rejoicing at having passed along this narrow road whence so many blessings have come to it.” It is recommended that if you study this book you also read a good modern commentary like “Fire Within” by Thomas Dubay.
Introduction to the Devout Life
by St. Francis de Sales
A quote from the book: “Almost all those who have written concerning the devout life have had chiefly in view persons who have altogether quitted the world. But my object is to teach those who are living in towns, in their own households, and whose calling obliges them to a social life, so far as externals are concerned. Such persons are apt to reject all attempt to lead a devout life under the plea of impossibility; even so a true stedfast soul may live in the world untainted by the world. This is not easy, and for that very reason I urge Christians take more care and energy on the attempt, and while conscious of my own weakness, I endeavour by this book to afford some help to those who are undertaking this noble work with a generous heart.”
The Dialog of St. Catherine of Siena
by St. Catherine of Siena
The Dialog was dictated by St. Catherine during a state of ecstasy while in dialogue with God the Father to her secretaries and completed in 1370. Here is a quotation from The Dialogue, “Man is placed above all creatures, and not beneath them, and he cannot be satisfied or content except in something greater than himself. Greater than himself there is nothing but Myself, the Eternal God. Therefore I alone can satisfy him.”
Holy Wisdom: Directions for the prayer of contemplation
by Ven. Augustine Baker
The author was educated as a Protestant at Christ’s Hospital and at Oxford, where he took up the study of the law. Later, becoming a Catholic after some strange spiritual experience, he gave up his work and went to Italy to become a Benedictine monk. For many years he travelled giving to the houses of his Order the benefit of his legal knowledge, and also of his spiritual treatises.
The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola
by St. Ignatius of Loyola
The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola are program of meditations, prayers, considerations, and contemplative practices. Ignatius of Loyola was the founder of the Jesuit order.
by Thomas a Kempis
For five hundred years, this gentle book, filled with the spirit of the love of God, has brought understanding and comfort to millions of readers and provided them with a source of heart-felt personal prayer. These meditations on the life and teachings of Jesus, written in times even more troubled and dangerous than our own, have become for many second only to the Bible as a guide and inspiration.
by St. Bernard of Clairvaux
“You want me to tell you why God is to be loved and how much. I answer, the reason for loving God is God Himself; and the measure of love due to Him is immeasurable love…” Includes instruction on loving God and the four degrees of love we can attain to.
The Practice of the Presence of God
by Brother Lawrence
Those who long to experience God in the midst of busy lives will be encouraged and inspired by this simple vision of the joy of living in the presence of God every moment. No matter what your occupation or daily job entails, you can practice some of what Brother Lawrence advises and find your life uplifted.
by Julian of Norwich
Julian of Norwich was a Christian mystic in A.D. 1373. Her book, Revelations of Divine Love, is an account of the sixteen visions she had while recovering from near-death, and her commentary upon them over which she pondered for fifteen years. “So it was that I learned that love was our Lord’s meaning. And I saw for certain, both here and elsewhere, that before ever he made us, God loved us; and that his love has never slackened, nor ever shall. In this love all his works have been done, and in this love he has made everything serve us; and in this love our life is everlasting.”
by St. Benedict
The Rule of Benedict is a guide for thousands of Christians who are committed to a monastic way of life. Many disciples of Jesus followed the Rule in the past and many still do today. “Written in the sixth century the Rule was followed in thousands of monasteries in Europe, so much so that the Church of the early Middle Ages, beginning especially in the ninth century, was characterized as monastic.”
The Life of St. Teresa of Avila
by St. Teresa of Avila
The book is the autobiography of St. Teresa of Avila, a mystic and saint of the 16th century. Written for her spiritual directors and confessors and gives a good insight into the mind, heart and life of St. Teresa of Avila including miracles and mystical experiences. She is was the first woman to be proclaimed a Doctor of the Church in the Catholic Church because of her tremendous writings. Her works have been read by many including Edith Stein, a Jewish philosophy professor from the mid 20th century, who upon reading this book said, “This is truth” and later became a nun and was recently canonized.
by St. Teresa of Avila
Although St. Teresa of Avila lived and wrote over four centuries ago, her superbly inspiring classic on the practice of prayer is as fresh and meaningful today as it was when she first wrote it. The Way of Perfection is a practical guide to prayer setting forth the Saint’s counsels and directives for the attainment of spiritual perfection.
Poems of St.Therese, Carmelite of Lisieux
by St. Therese of Lisieux
The poems by St. Therese, also known as the “Little Flower of Jesus” is divided into five sections: The first consists of hymns and canticles relating more exclusively to her Lord, the Divine Spouse of her soul; the second part contains hymns in relation to the Blessed Virgin; and the remaining sections contain other hymns and poems and pious recreations, in honor of St. Mary Magdelen, St. Agnes, and St. Cecelia.
by St. Francis de Sales
“A truly admirable book, which has as many admirers of the sweetness of its author as it has readers. I have carefully arranged that it shall be read throughout our Society, as the universal remedy for all feeble ones, the good of slothful ones, the stimulus of love, and the ladder of those who are tending to perfection. Oh! that all would study it as it deserves! There should be no one to escape its heat.”
—St. Vincent de Paul