If the thought has ever popped into your mind of reading some of those old Catholic Classics you've heard about but never quite gotten around to, have I got some good news for you!
Popular Catholic publishing house, Ascension Press, has just introduced a new podcast called "Catholic Classics." Hosted by two Dominican friars, Fr. Gregory Pine and Fr. Jacob Bertrand Janczyk, the podcast does just what its title says - it takes a work considered to be a classic of Catholic spirituality and walks you through it, step-by-step, page-by-page, in daily 20-to-30-minute segments.
The podcast kicked off on October 24, 2022, with the first book, Introduction to the Devout Life, by St. Francis de Sales, and is currently only on day 8, which means there's still time to tune in and read along. Also, every podcast is recorded, so you can go back and relisten at your convenience. The entire podcast for this book will run for 43 days. Just imagine! Reading through a tremendous book like Intro to the Devout Life in only 43 days, guided by two Dominicans. This is like taking a college course, in terms of quality, but without the research papers, pop quizzes or any of those nasty finals, and let's not even mention the typical cost of a college class.
Although it is true that works considered Catholic Classics are not easy reads, they are certainly formative ones. These are the books to spend time with. They will form your soul, challenge your conscience, and strengthen your Catholic thinking-muscle. You can travel with a master guide, in this case St. Francis De Sales, and hear and learn from him the insights he followed that brought him, ultimately, to sainthood.
The podcast is free to listen to on your favorite podcast app, or you can listen directly from Ascension Press's website. At Ascension's website, you can also purchase a copy of the translation being used which is an "updated translation of St. Francis de Sales’ original text that features the full English translation (which is not included in all commonly available translations), language updates that make the text accessible without changing its meaning or message, and expert commentary from podcast hosts Fr. Gregory Pine, O.P., and Fr. Jacob Bertrand Janczyk, O.P." It's available for $29.95. (Please note the book is scheduled to ship in mid-November.)
This podcast would be an excellent candidate for anyone still thinking about taking the "Back to School, Back to Learning" challenge. With Advent and the start of the new year only four weeks away, now is the perfect time to jump into some deeper Catholic waters and contemplate the "devout life."