There were a few "classics," Morning and Evening by Charles H. Spurgeon, My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers, and the wonderfully concise If by Amy Carmichael. Each of them are excellent. However, I got the impression back then that only non-Catholics were able to mine to deeper spiritual truths and put them in a book.
How wrong I was. In fact, it may not be a matter of "right and wrong" but one of understanding. We cannot understand something if we do not realize its existence. I've slowly been coming to the conclusion that as exemplary as my all-girls Catholic high school education was; it was mostly "progressive" in its approach to the Catholic faith. How different would my life have been if, say, I had teachers who talked about St. Catherine of Siena in religion class? Or talked about Marian devotions such as the ones by St. Louis Marie de Montfort? I heard none of that. Now I'm discovering saints and devotions that I never knew existed; but seen with fresh eyes - delight my soul.
(A little 'bravo' here to all you homeschooling Catholic mothers who are teaching your children such things. You are building a strong foundation in them that will serve them well.)
Another observation about devotionals: Non-Catholics will write many books on their thoughts about God. Catholic devotions are basically prayers to God. I remember a few Catholic prayers when I was younger, mostly the Memorare and the rosary. Now that I am learning about various devotions, such as novenas, I realize that the prayers are simply beautiful and yes, very Biblical. I remembered when I was attending non-denominational churches, I would look at Catholic devotions as "superstitious." I thought the prayers were just outdated texts that really didn't have any value for the culture today. Again, I was wrong.
The prayers I am discovering have incredible meaning and are at times breathtaking in their ability to express a person's "heartcry" toward God. I was just telling someone yesterday how I prayed my first novena ever last year, when I was looking for a job. I was at the end of my rope and realized that perhaps my age was starting to affect my job search. (Those who are middle-aged can attest to the "overqualified" phenomenon.) I decided to make my first novena to St. Joseph, who is the patron saint of workers.
I obtained the prayer and for nine consecutive days, I prayed the prayer along with the rosary. I was at a conference in July, during part of those nine days, and still kept the novena. In August, I was offered a full-time job that would perfectly use my skills and education. Some might doubt that the novena had anything to do with it, but I'd disagree. There are graces for being with the Catholic Church and I believe praying novenas is one of them.
I am now engaged in St. Louis Marie de Montfort's "Preparation for Total Consecration to Jesus Through Mary." I am only in the fourth day of it, but already, it has grounded my spirit in Christ. What touched me was the very first day of the devotional. It focused on the Beatitudes. As I read them, I marveled at how timely they were for the Christian who is witnessing greater hostility to our faith than ever before. Meditating on the Beatitudes brought peace as I remembered that Jesus didn't have it any better. This 33-day devotion is divided into four parts: The Spirit of the World, Knowledge of Self, Knowledge of our Lady, and Knowledge of Christ. I am looking forward to completing this devotion, which Pope John Paul II called "integral" to his interior prayer life.
There are many other devotions, and I look forward to discovering them. Devotions are just that: devotion to God through prayer and supplication. They strengthen and nourish our spirit and help keep us on the right path. I've been humbled by God for my previous judgement of Catholic devotions. But I am so glad He allowed me to see the truth of their purpose.
Note: I just found out today is the Feast Day of St. Joseph the Worker! Well, my gosh. How providential is that?! Bless you this day. :-)