Due to the fact we are supposed to the moving, should anyone buy our house, I have been thinking about what essentials are actually necessary to carry around with one. Wardrobe essentials and kitchen essentials are easy, I'm not a fan of gadgets and I have a very conservative colour scheme with clothes so it is quite easy to trim the wardrobe down. More difficult is the book essentials and rather than bore you with my essential, "must have" physics/teaching collection, I thought I'd ponder my essential books for evangelisation. By evangelisation, I mean the proclamation of the Faith and the Gospels in whatever random situation you may find yourself in, not necessarily formal catechisis. The teaching/evangelisation that happens when talking with friends or colleagues or neighbours, the teaching that happens just by the way you handle a particular difficult situation and those involved know you are a Catholic. You may well have a different set of essentials, I'd be interested to know.
(1) the Bible: pretty obvious really and on the whole the RSV Catholic Edition is a readable and accessible translation.
(2) My prayer life would be much poorer without the Douay Rheims/ Challoner translation of the Psalms. I don't think any evangelisation can take place if you don't have an active prayer life. Prayer books and the Office are essentials but I assume their use and have not included them in the list.
(3)The Catechism of the Catholic Church: I love this tome! Originally I mistyped this and wrote I live this, it is inspirational and I do try.
(4) Humanae Vitae: Own it, read it, know it
(5) The Theology of the Body Made Simple- Anthony Percy (gracewing):Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body is vast, but this slim little volume nicely extracts the essentials. I think its contents should be known.
(6)God is Near Us- Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (Ignatius Press): Some inspirational teaching on the Eucharist is vital and I personally have got a lot out of this book that I have passed on.
(7) The Stripping of the Altars- Eamon Duffy (Yale): This essentials shelf is getting a bit heavy and this book is the same weight as the Catechism, but I do think this book is one worth getting to grips with if there are wavering Anglicans in you life. By dealing with the history of ordinary worship in England from 1400-1580 it shows just how Catholic we were and how similar these people were to ourselves. Profoundly; it shows how the entire life of an ordinary person was totally consumed in living out the faith. How prayer and intercession were so important, how the relationship between the living and the dead was essential, how earthy and sensible the faith was as well as being sacred and mysterious. There are so many stories to tell from it that may just get people thinking....
(8) A book on some figure from recent Catholic history who made a difference by doing something extraordinary, counter cultural and brave because of his/her faith. I'm a big fan of the founder of Aid to the Church in Need so I have Fr Werenfried- A Life by Joanna Bogle (Gracewing). A useful book to retell inspiring snippets from.