by Father Mark Goldasich
Yeet! How’d that happen?
It seems like I was just lamenting how early those Christmas commercials were airing on TV and now that wonderful celebration is almost here, leaving me scant days to get my shopping done . . . my cards written . . . my house spiffed up . . . and, well, you get it.
If you find yourself in a similar situation or needing a quick gift to complete your list, here are some suggestions for presents of a more spiritual nature.
A good book is always a great gift. Some of my recent favorites are:
• “The Slow Work of God: Living the Gospel Today,” by Thomas P. Rausch, SJ (Mahwah, N.J., Paulist Press, 2017; 214 pgs.; $19.95), uses the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius and three recent texts of Pope Francis to help readers “become aware of God’s grace, beauty or presence breaking into our lives. They are transformative moments, always to be cherished.”
• Sébastien Doane’s “Zombies, Unicorns, Cannibals: Strange Tales from the Bible” (Paulist Press, 2018; 142 pgs.; $15.95) highlights some 31 weird passages that you may not have seen before. The author puts these into their historical and literary context and relates them to contemporary issues. It’s an easy, engaging read, meant for all who have any interest in the Bible. No theology degree is needed.
• A touching children’s book is “The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey,” by Susan Wojciechowski (Candlewick; 40 pgs.; $17.99). It’s the story of a woodcutter who rediscovers his heart and his smile, courtesy of a young boy and a Nativity set.
It’s always a treat to give a gift that “keeps on giving.” Two great choices in this category are subscriptions to either a monthly or a quarterly publication.
“Give Us This Day,” a monthly produced by the Liturgical Press, contains morning and evening prayer for each day of the month, the daily Mass readings, a saint of the day and other short, inspirational articles. A one-year subscription (12 issues) is $39.95 and can be ordered online at: giveusthisday.org or by calling (888) 259-8470. There is also an app for it.
“Living Faith” is a quarterly published by Creative Communications for the Parish. It features an inspirational, brief daily meditation and lists the daily Scripture readings. Some short prayers and blessings are also included in each issue. A yearly subscription (4 issues) is $14.25 and can be ordered online at: www.livingfaith.com or by calling (800) 246-7390.
For those who like to pray with their eyes, Monastery Icons offers beautiful ones in various sizes, featuring a whole host of saints and scenes from the Bible. They also offer incense, Christmas ornaments and even icon magnets. Its website is: MonasteryIcons.com; the phone number is (800) 729-4952.
The Benedictines of Conception Abbey in northwest Missouri run the Printery House, which has greetings cards for various occasions, as well as a slew of religious items for all ages and tastes, from olivewood comfort crosses to rosaries to medals and holy cards. Its website is: printeryhouse.org; or call (800) 322-2737.
For folks who love coffee, a seasonal treat called Jingle Bell Java is made by Mystic Monk, who also sells a huge variety of other coffees and teas as well as mugs and gift cards. You can visit the website at: mysticmonkcoffee.com or call (877) 751-6377.
And for those who like to enter into the “spirits” of this special time of year, the monks of the Abbey of Gethsemani might have just what you need. Among the various offerings of these Trappists — like preserves and creamed honey — you probably wouldn’t want to pass up their Kentucky Bourbon Fruitcake. I’m not a fan of fruitcake, but I might make an exception in this case! Their website is: gethsemanifarms.org or call (800) 549-0912.
Obviously, we’re privileged to have a number of religious goods stores in the archdiocese, so don’t forget to patronize them for some last-minute gifts or stocking stuffers.
Yeet, more time has just ticked off the clock. Boy, what I wouldn’t give for some Kentucky Bourbon Butter Walnut Fudge right now!
I wonder if those Trappists have overnight delivery?