Everybody loves a great book

Karna Swanson
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Whether you’re an avid reader, or not, everyone likes owning great books. So why not consider giving some great Catholic books to friends and family this year? Here are a few top picks for a spectrum of loved ones on your list.

Slow down, read poems

poems-every-catholic-should-knowTitle: Poems Every Catholic Should Know
Author: Joseph Pearce
Publisher: Tan Books
Buy: http://bit.ly/2fvMdPa

In an interview with Denver Catholic in 2014, English-born author and Director of the Center for Faith and Culture at Aquinas College in Nashville, Tennessee, stated that what the world desperately needs more of is poetry. Why? Because it slows us down. You need time and silence to read poetry—and what better way to introduce a loved one to poetry than through this little anthology of the finest Christian verse.

The darkest of hours

9780804141529_dcTitle: He Leadeth Me: An Extraordinary Testament of Faith
Author: Jesuit Fathers Walter J. Ciszek and Daniel L. Flaherty
Publisher: Image
Buy: http://bit.ly/2fcR7Cv

Life is full of difficulty, and sometimes we just need to hear the story of how others get through it. This is the great service Jesuit Father Walter J. Ciszek offers in “He Leadeth Me.” Father Ciszez spent 23 agonizing years in Soviet prisons and the labor camps of Siberia, and this is the story of how he survived. It’s a story about facing loneliness, pain, hardship, fear and despair, and finding the courage and strength to continue each day in prayer. This is a book that inspires the reader to greater trust and faith in God, no matter the obstacles or trials.

The great intellects of Catholicism

a-deeper-visionTitle: A Deeper Vision: The Catholic Intellectual Tradition in the Twentieth Century
Author: Robert Royal
Publisher: Ignatius press
Buy: http://bit.ly/2fvKoBU

One of the greatest lies of the modern era is that people of faith are simpletons who believe myths and fairy tales about a non-existent God. Anyone who believes that hasn’t met Robert Royal, or read his comprehensive overview of the Catholic intellectual tradition in the twentieth century. As Catholics, we often forget that we have as part of our tradition extraordinary people with great minds that have generated schools of remarkable thought. Read in this volume about such Catholic, faithful, and yes, intellectual powerhouses such as Jacques Maritain, Edith Stein, Romano Guardini, and our two most recent Popes, Karol Wojtyla (Saint John Paul II), and Joseph Ratzinger (Benedict XVI), and many, many others.

A life of praise

a-life-of-praise-to-godTitle: Elizabeth of the Trinity: A Life of Praise to God
Author: Sr. Giovanna Della Croce
Publisher: Sophia Institute Press
Buy: http://bit.ly/2eisOnh

Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity was canonized by Pope Francis last October, and Sophia Institute Press has made available in English a very accessible introduction to this Carmelite nun who lived a short, but intensely spiritual life. Particularly in what has become a very noisy Christmas season, the message of St. Elizabeth will be a balm to the soul of the mystics on your list. She reminds us that union with God requires silence and stillness, and that we are created to be loved by God.

Loads of useful information

catholic-bible-dictionaryTitle: Catholic Bible Dictionary
Author: Scott Hahn
Publisher: Ascension Press
Buy: http://bit.ly/2fBclGW

The adjective for this book is “useful.” For anyone who has any interest in Scripture, this is a must-have resource for their home library. Scott Hahn, internationally renowned theologian and biblical scholar, has compiled the go-to Scripture reference guide for Catholics. Jen Steed of the Happy Little Homemaker blog summed it up best in her review on this book when she outlined the four people who didn’t need this book: Biblical scholars, and Catholics with a lot of time (to study), space (to store tons of book) and money (to buy the books and take classes). If the Bible student on your list isn’t in one of those categories, buy them this book. If they are one of the above, buy them the next one!

One-of-a-kind Bible

bibleTitle: Douay-Rheims and Clementina Vulgata
Translator: St. Jerome
Publisher: Baronius Press
Buy: http://bit.ly/2fzP7CM

This isn’t a book for everyone, and at $89.95, plus shipping and handling, it’s the most expensive book in this list. But you might have someone on your list who would treasure a Latin on one side, English on the other, leather bound book of Sacred Scripture with gilded page edges. The Clementine Vulgate was proclaimed the official Latin Bible of the Church after the Reformation, and the Douay Rheims Bible is the translation of the Vulgate. Test your Latin skills and read Scripture in Latin and English! Dr. Taylor Marshall’s review on the website: Do you want a Latin Vulgate with Douay Rheims in English on the opposite page. Bingo! Get (the) leatherbound version of the Clementine Latin Vulgate from Baronius Press.

The hidden gem of a martyr

sadness-of-christTitle: The Sadness of Christ
Author: St. Thomas More
Publisher: Scepter publishers
Buy: http://bit.ly/2fkiJmE

This book is a long meditation on the Passion and Death of Christ, which might seem a little out of place at Christmas time, but Lent is just around the corner! This is a not often talked about work of St. Thomas More, written in the Tower of London before he was executed for standing firm in his Catholic faith. The author most known for The Utopia, reflects at length on the agony of Our Lord in the Garden of Gethsemane, demonstrating Christ as a model of virtue in the face of suffering and persecution. Find important lessons here on prayer, courage, friendship and even statesmanship.

Being Catholic today

letters-to-a-young-catholicTitle: Letters to a Young Catholic
Author: George Weigel
Publisher: Basic Books
Buy: http://bit.ly/2fBfk2f

What list of Catholic books would be complete without least one from Denver Catholic syndicated columnist George Weigel? In Letters to a Young Catholic, Weigel takes Catholics of any age on a tour of the great places of Catholic history—from the Sistine Chapel to Chartres Cathedral to St. Mary’s Church in Greenville, South Carolina to G.K. Chesterton’s favorite pub in Oxford. Learn from a man who has forgotten more Church history than you will ever know, the essential elements of Catholic culture throughout the Church’s rich 2,000-year history. This is essential reading for every Catholic. Also check out Evangelical Catholicism (Basic Books, 2013).

COMING UP: Adorable to quirky, a Catholic gift guide

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gift-guide-graphic

Say a Hail Mary and hope for the best – the holiday season is upon us, and you know what that means: it’s shopping season.

As the old adage goes, Catholics are well-aware of the “reason for the season,” but even so, buying gifts is a fun part of a holidays, giving those courageous enough to brave the crowds a chance to show their loved ones how much they care about them. While many stockings will no doubt be filled with the latest gadgets and gizmos this year, being Catholic affords the chance to seek out those meaningful, lasting and sometimes quirky gifts that just keep on giving. Here are a few ideas for some practical, some unique, and some off-the-wall Catholic gifts that’ll be sure to put a smile on the recipient’s face.

For the young lasses and lads

Dear Pope Francis by Pope Francis
Loyola Press, Hardcover, $18.95
Buy it heredear-pope-francis

This adorable book is a compilation of letters from children around the world to Pope Francis accompanied by his responses to them. Main takeaways: yes, the pope is old, and kids are way more theologically astute than we give them credit for.

Operation: Noah’s Ark
$31.95, catholicompany.com
Buy it here

Kids will love this Catholic take on the classic Operation game, in which they help rescue animals and are penalized with a lightning bolt sound for touching the sides.

A Missal for Toddlers
Ignatius Press, Hardcover, $10.99
Buy it here

The perfect companion for that squirmy kid of yours to follow along with the Mass and teach them the deeper meanings of each part of the liturgy.

For the St. Peter-types

Rugged Rosaries
cordbands.com

rugged-rosary

These rosaries are made with paracords (the cords used for parachutes) and were originally designed with military troops in mind. Not only do they come in a wide variety of colors and styles, they’re the toughest rosaries money can buy. Whether you have a relative in the military or that friend who’s a bit of a daredevil, you can bet they’ll appreciate having one of these.

Barbatus Beard Balm
$10 + shipping
catholicbalm.co

St. Augustine once said, “The beard distinguishes the grown men, the earnest, the active, the vigorous, so that when we describe such, we say, he is a bearded man.” The Catholic Balm Co. created the Barbatus Beard Balm with this philosophy in mind. Keep that face rug in check and smell like a freshly baptized baby with the chrism aroma beard balm.

For the lovely ladies

Daughter of the King: Wait, Where’s My Crown? by Kaylin Koslosky & Megan Finegan
Independent, Paperback, $12.95
restoreyourcrown.com
Buy it here

51pzrwl28zlLocal authors Kaylin Koslosky and Megan Finegan wrote this book with high school and college-aged women in mind. They bring a fresh-out-of-college perspective to hot topics such as love, faith and relationships, while keeping their approach grounded in the Church’s teachings.

 

Little Flower Lip Balm
$10 three-pack + shipping
catholicbalm.co

The female alternative to Barbatus Beard Balm, this lip balm is made with four simple, high quality ingredients, and comes in three different scents. A portion of the proceeds made from the balms go to various ministries, parishes and individuals that Catholic Balm Co. supports.

For everybody

Lumibox
lumibox.co
$29 – $34 per month

Lumibox is a totally cool company started by a local Catholic couple aimed at enriching the lives of others through art, music and more. Each month, they’ll deliver a curated box of Catholic stuff right to your doorstep that can contain daily devotionals, CDs, or a smorgasbord of other items.

Mystic Monk Coffee
mysticmonkcoffee.com

monk_shot_box_with_cups_mystic_monk_blend_grandeThese holy roasts are made by a community of Carmelite monks in the middle-of-nowhere, Wyoming, and, based on reviews from coffeereview.com, are quite delicious, smooth and of the highest quality. The monks make a variety of coffee and tea, and they even offer K-Cups, approximately titled “Monk-Shots.” For the coffee drinker in your life, this is a must-get.

Birra Nursia
birranursia.com

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This beer is brewed in the Belgian monastic tradition by Benedictine Monks at a monastery in Norcia, Italy, and trust us: it’s incredible. Yes, it’s a bit on the pricey side since it has to be imported from Italy, but it’s worth every dime, and all of the proceeds go to sustaining the monks’ monastery and way of life in Norcia. They need all the help they can get due to the recent earthquake, and Lord knows we need their prayers.