Thursday, July 2, 2020

Rereading: In Conversation with God by Francis Fernandez-Carvajal

I first reviewed this in 2004, way back when I began my blog. When someone brought up A. Sertillanges the other day, I realized I knew the name well and had read many quotes by him — in this series. So I wanted to remind everyone of how wonderful it is.

This seven-volume set gives you brief (five to six pages) meditations for every day of the Church’s entire liturgical calendar, including feast days and each of the three cycles of Ordinary Time on Sundays. Author Francis Fernandez-Carvajal makes generous use of the writings of the great saints as he brings you focused and moving meditations on themes taken from the Mass readings for that day, the liturgical season, and more. This work is rich and extensive enough to serve as your spiritual reading for a lifetime, as it helps you relate the particulars of the message of Christ to the ordinary circumstances of your day. Each volume is small enough for you to carry it to Adoration or some other suitable place for meditation. The whole set comes with a handsome slipcase that prevents wear-and-tear on the individual volumes.
I have been reading this series most mornings for 20 years and have yet to find a devotional that is better or more complete.

I especially remember the summer that my in-laws rented a house on the Galveston beach and I eagerly awaited the time each day when I could sit on the porch. The waves beat on the beach, the wind blew sand in my hair and salt like perfume, the gulls cried, and I would dive into this devotional for the daily reflection. It formed my life, slowly and surely, into  the kind of Catholic I am today.

Following the daily Mass readings, topics range from the sacraments and virtues to family interaction and friendship. The sensible and down-to-earth writing is enhanced by quotes from saints, Church Fathers, popes, cross-references with other scripture than in the day's readings, Church documents, etc. I especially enjoy the fact that this was translated from the original Spanish, meaning that things applying to my daily life and problems are exactly the same things faced by people in Spain, or, indeed, around the world.

Even after so many years of reading these books, there often is new food for thought and for "conversation." Also, I realize how much I have been formed as a Catholic by the overall message about living daily life by sharing our small joys and sorrows with Christ. One could do much worse.

There is a boxed set but I bought these one at a time as I went through the church year. The books cover Advent and Christmas, Lent and Easter, ordinary time, and have two special volumes for special feasts and saint days.


  1. I agree! I have had them on my shelf unused for too long. I'm getting them out once again. Thanks for the reminder.

  2. On my second year using "In Conversation With God" as my go to morning meditation. The most compelling by far, I've come across in 30 years of daily meditation.