Saturday, December 17, 2011

2011 Christmas Gift Recommendations!


If you are still looking for good Christmas gifts for friends or family then here are some great ideas. My friend online, Catholic Book Lady and I came up with some gift recommendations. We tried picking books that had some good practicality to them, such as classics of the spiritual life, or that would be welcome to a friend, and then chose ones in all price ranges. You can find most of these at good Catholic bookstores, or the usual popular online ones. We are using links to the publisher so as to not favor one particular store.  I know one popular online bookstore still has free shipping with $25+ orders until Monday and you'll still get it before Christmas.  These books are not in any particular order.

#1 Catholic Scripture Study Bible - This is a very nice leather bible with lots of aids to bible study, maps, ribbons, and a whole apologetics section with a cheat sheet to aid you in finding Church teachings fast.





#2 The Daily Roman Missal -The new translation of the Mass is here and this will be a great aid for you.  Even if you are not able to attend daily Mass, you can still meditate on the day's readings.  If you have an old missal, it is still good for the readings of the day because they have not changed, but the rest of the Mass is different.  This book covers every day, not just Sundays or weekdays, which I really like.



#3 Extreme Makeover:  Women Transformed by Christ, Not Conformed to the Culture by Teresa Tomeo -  This is a great book I highly recommend because it shows the lies and distortions the culture and the media tell about issues important today such as women's body image, the feminist agenda and related issues.  Teresa Tomeo then shows you how to overcome these distortions of our culture with a spiritual extreme makeover.  I did a review of this book awhile back: You Need a Makeover.



#4 Motherhood Matters - Inspirational Stories, Letters, Quotes & Prayers for Catholic Moms by Dorothy Pilarski.  I'm partial to Dorothy because she's a friend of mine and has worked so hard on this book.  It questions whether the modern cultural version of motherhood is good for any of us, and encourages us to look at motherhood as a vocation.  It is loaded with practical advice.  She has a great set of endorsements from heavy hitters such as Alice Von Hildebrand, Lisa Hendey, Sr. Ann Shields and Donna-Marie Cooper O'Boyle.  You can only obtain this book at Dorothy's blog Gutsy Catholic Mom. 
Unfortunately, you will not get this before Christmas, BUT I suggest you print out a picture of the book and stick it in their stocking. It will be a Christmas gift they can enjoy later.  It's that good.



#5 The Fire Within: Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross and the Gospel on Prayer by Fr. Thomas Dubay, S.M. - This is one of the BEST books on the spiritual life there is.  Fr. Dubay was a master spiritual director who gave decades of retreats to religious and lay people alike.  He goes into depth here on the spirituality of St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross.  The best part is he gives detail of each level of the spiritual life.  St. Teresa was firm that one should know where one is going in one's prayer life to progress in prayer without confusion and fear. This is a book to keep for life and refer to repeatedly.



#6  National Catholic Register - This is not a book but an excellent newspaper.  I happen to think it is the best one in the U.S., but that is just my personal opinion.  It is now owned by EWTN and is very in depth.  It is an excellent gift, and I encourage you to subscribe for yourself as well.  You can get this in print, online or now on your Kindle. The Kindle version is $1.99/month, which is just phenomenal. 


#7 The Truth & Life Dramatized Audio Bible - New Testament - This is just a fantastic gift.  Listen to it in the car.  It features fantastic actors such as Stacy Keach, Michael York and Blair Underwood and it's amazingly produced.  It uses the Revised Standard Version - Catholic Edition (RSV-CE) bible.  I can't say enough about it.




#8 The Navarre Bible New Testament - Expanded Edition  - I have many volumes of the Navarre Bible, both for the New and Old Testaments.  This is an expanded version with the whole New Testament and has more notes then previously published.  I love the Navarre Bible because it is user friendly, very faithful, written for the laity, and is set up to really aid both Lectio Divina (prayerful reading) and serious Bible study.  It uses the excellent RSV-CE translation of the Bible.


#9 Praying Scripture for a Change:  An Introduction to Lectio Divina  by Dr. Tim Gray -  I really enjoyed this small book about learning to pray with the scriptures.  You can read my review that I did a few months ago,  Quick Book Review:  Praying Scripture for a Change.  It would be a great gift for anyone who wants to learn about Lectio Divina or prayer in general.





#10 Imitation of Christ by Thomas A' Kempis - Thomas was a German monk who lived in the 1400's.  His book Imitation of Christ is the second best selling book in history, only surpassed by the Bible.  It is a guide to the spiritual life and, even though it was written for religious, is extremely profitable for the laity.  Every Christian should own a copy.  This book is published by several publishers.  I chose this particular volume, by Catholic Book Company, because it is inexpensive, but handsomely bound and is in hardcover.  They also have a soft leather version with a zipper.  It's my opinion that if you own this book, it should be something that will last for life.  There are paperbacks, but this is inexpensive enough at $8.75 that why would you want a paperback?




Bonus Gift Recommendation!  A Book of Saints for Catholic Moms  by Lisa Hendey who is the founder of CatholicMom.com.  This is last but not the least.  We were trying to stick to 10 books but could not leave this one out!  It is a great book that brings moms 52 different saints for a year of meditations, prayers, practical advice and wisdom.  This is a great resource that any Catholic mom would love to have.


More stuff!  If you are interested in other good classics of the spiritual life then check out this article from the Catholic Spiritual Direction website:  Tattered Titles - And the Winners Are....  It has more recommendations you may like to share with those you love.  And if YOU have any great ideas please share them with us!  Merry Christmas!!!! 

Friday, December 9, 2011

The "Disabled" and "Choice"


I stumbled upon a blog today that I thought was interesting. It is written by a disabled feminist and challenges "pro-choice" people to really accept the disabled and their right to life and to having children. What is interesting is that in many ways, she and her commenters take what could be considered an extremely pro-life Catholic view - that the disabled are of equal worth and dignity, and they and their possible children have value. Where we differ is on the belief that women should be able to abort for whatever reason they want to. They never mention morality, because that would be wrong in their world, but in some ways they are more moral then average people who think abortion is OK if there is something wrong with the baby, and you should avoid giving birth to a less-than-perfect child at all costs.

The author and her commenters are VERY careful to make sure everyone knows they are not "pro-forced birth" people, and that they have extreme disdain for those who they think are. Their lingo is a bit different then what we are used to: what we call "normal" is called being "temporarily-abled," but their belief that people with disabilities of any kind have a right to life, even though that life may not be perfect - and that they too can have children, is a very Catholic view.  Some of the commenters even use pro-life evidence that many early feminists were eugenicists that wanted disabled women to be sterilized to protect the species.

We have much common ground here with the Feminists With Disabilities. Another interesting post at the site  is about many people's belief that it is better to be dead then have disabilities. Again it is a very pro-life Catholic view that people have worth and that "it is just pain," and one can move past it to have a good life.  I would really be interested in your take on this.  Be aware that if you want to leave a comment there, the blog comments are VERY rigidly policed, and that if you don't seem to be in line with their beliefs your comment will not be published.