Meet a Reader: Ryan Mattingly

mattinglyHow you know me: I have been a seminarian for the Diocese of Peoria for one year. This summer I’m stationed at St. Vincent de Paul parish in Peoria. Before being a seminarian, I studied at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and lived/worked at the Newman center there. I hail from an Air Force family, so I’m not originally from the diocese.

Why I love reading: As a child, I loved that reading had the ability to draw you into a whole different world. I spent many nights staying up way later than I was supposed to because the book I was currently working on was just too good. As I’ve grown older, I’ve also come to appreciate the intellectual aspect. Whether I’m reading solely for knowledge or as a way to relax without turning my mind off completely, it’s always a rewarding experience.

What I’m reading now: Since it’s been a few years, I’m rereading The Lord of the Rings trilogy, the classic fantasy series set in Middle Earth. The author, J.R.R. Tolkien was a devout Catholic, and his faith is woven into the story. I’ve really enjoyed picking up all the bits of symbolism I missed the last time through. Of course, I’m also reading a more stereotypically seminarian book: Three Ages of the Interior Life by Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange. It’s essentially a roadmap for how people progress in their love for God, albeit a complicated one.

My favorite book: I don’t really have one book that I would say is my absolute favorite. However, if I had to pick, I would choose The Soul of the Apostolate by Jean-Baptiste Chautard. I read it a couple years ago, and its insights into the necessity of prayer completely blew me away. In fact, I’m planning on rereading it after I finish Three Ages of the Interior Life.