The Art of Gift Giving
The tradition of gift giving has woven itself into the fabric of most cultures and civilizations throughout time. In ancient Rome, the Latin word ‘donare’ was coined to designate this custom of giving a gift. The English language has welcomed this foreign word into the bosom of its vocabulary as ‘to donate.’
To donate incognito is the giving of a gift in its purest form. It means to give freely without expectation of benefit or reward or public acknowledgement.
Today it seems that we have lost this integrity of truly giving a gift as a one-way kindness, a pure gesture of the heart. And so we have settled for exchanging gifts. We draw names, in order to be more efficient about this business of kindness and generosity. It is still a friendly way to be, if we do not count and calculate, and set limits up or down.
But often it is just making a deal. We become traders. Exchanging a gift limits the spirit of the feast. Expectations and disappointments sneak in and pollute the noble custom of gift giving.
As I search for the gift that will complement your life, please do not measure my generosity. I promise I will not measure your gift should you give me one.
My joy of having the privilege of choosing a gift for you is your gift to me. The value of your gift to me is not how much it cost, but the precious fabric of the resolve in your heart to complement my life.
Let us recapture the true essence of ‘donare.’ If we learn this well, then perhaps some day soon we, as a nation, will give to others without expectation of return, no strings attached, since the joy of giving has its own reward, such as PEACE ON EARTH, GOOD WILL TOWARD ALL.
~ Hildegard Letbetter
Surround yourself and your loved ones with the reason for the season this Christmas with unique, religious gifts that bring comfort and joy from Creator Mundi. Decorate and celebrate with the symbols we’ve all come to associate with hope, love, and peace. We carry Christian home decor, figurines, wall art, and other spiritual treasures and tokens that are sure to please everyone on your shopping list this year.
- Away In A Manger Ornament
- Angel Of Joy Wall Plaque
- Advent Calendar: Nativity Story With Text
- Holy Family With Star Plaque
- 12 Piece Painted Lathed Wood Nativity
- Italian Holy Family Figurine Set
- Monument Statue – Modern Madonna
- Multicolored Italian Glass Cross Pendant
- Angel and Dove Pocket Prayer Holding Cross
Unique Ornaments & Angel Decor
Angel decor and Christmas tree ornaments are all around us this time of year. We invite you to trade the mass-produced, low-quality trinkets you can find everywhere for sacred art that is made with care and that lasts the test of time. Gift recipients will love bringing out these pieces year after year to admire the fine detail and craftsmanship again and again. From whimsical ornaments carefully made of copper, brass, and tin to elegant bronze wall plaques and rustic birchwood figurines, we have heavenly hosts of angels and tree decorations to match any taste.
Everything You Need For Advent
Once the countdown to Christmas Day begins, it’s the perfect time to invite a peaceful spirit into our homes with joyful scenes that comfort us as we escape the hustle and bustle of each busy shopping day. Get children excited with fun Advent countdowns that feature Christian themes or jolly old St. Nick. We offer art depicting the Holy Family and nativities of all styles and sizes, including child-friendly versions that make perfect family or hostess gifts. For the mothers on your list, figures of the Madonna and child are always a good choice.
Christmas Stocking Stuffers They’ll Cherish
When it comes to stocking stuffers, candy and small throw-aways are often the easy go-to’s. This Christmas, reach for heirloom-quality Christian gifts instead. A gift that reflects your faith can bring encouragement, beauty, and thoughtfulness to the receiver. Our prayer cubes, reminder tokens, mini nativities, and other small religious gifts make great night before Christmas presents as well. We have styles you won’t find anywhere else.
Christian Christmas Gifts You Will Want To Keep
Choose religious Christmas gifts that bring a sense of comfort and joy to all the recipients on your shopping list. At Creator Mundi, we can help you find the perfect gift at our Englewood gallery or convenient online shop. We also have special order and customizable options to make your gift truly one of a kind. Contact us today to place your order or learn more. Let us help you find the ideal Christmas gift for everyone this year, including yourself.
The Way It is
There is a thread you follow. It goes among
Things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.
~ William Stafford
My words for the thread that Stafford speaks of are the True Self. Your True Self is who you are, and always have been, created in the image and likeness of God who is love (1 John 4:8, 16). Love is both who you are and who you are still becoming, like a sunflower seed that becomes its own sunflower. Most of human history has called the True Self your “soul” or your participation in the eternal life of God. ~ Richard Rohr (Daily Meditation, November 18, 2018; excerpt)
Many cultures have a beautiful tradition of saying a prayer before or after a meal, expressing gratitude and asking for blessing. If we are accustomed to praying over our food, it may become a rote, almost thoughtless gesture. Yet it is another opportunity to intentionally open ourselves to receive and participate in grace. The food is already blessed simply by its existence. God doesn’t require our words of thanks. But it does us good to “say grace,” to verbally acknowledge the grace that is everywhere, even and especially in the giving of lives—plant and animal—for our sustenance.
If you have a practice of saying grace, bring greater awareness and presence to it. Find or create a prayer that names your experience of grace. This Hindu blessing, from the Bhagavad Gita, is said before meals:
This ritual is One. The food is One. We who offer the food are One. The fire of hunger is also One. All action is One. We who understand this are One.
Indeed, it is all One in the immense and undiscriminating Grace that is God.
~~ Fr. Richard Rohr, OFM, Daily Meditations, February 6, 2016
Happy Thanksgiving to All!
NAMASTE: Practicing Awareness of our Friends in God
by Ken Phillips, Regis University
You are God’s work of art.
You are the work of God’s hands.
Your face, hands, body,
are lovely and strong.
Your eyes mirror
God’s life within you.
Your smile is a reflection
of the smile of God.
Your mind, heart and spirit
bear the imprint of your Maker.
You breathe in the Spirit of God.
You breathe out the Spirit of God.
God is waiting to speak in your words.
God is waiting to sing in your voice.
You are the image of God.
God is beautiful in you.
You are beautiful in God.
The world is beautiful
Because you are in it.
Let Jim Brandenburg’s fascinating video journal take you into the wilderness … and perhaps start your own photo or video journal this Thanksgiving!
Here is Father Keating’s obituary from the National Catholic Reporter.
The greatest gift we can give to those around us is the promise of fidelity, the simple promise to stay around, to not to leave when things get difficult, to not walk away because we feel disappointed or hurt, to stay even when we don’t feel wanted or valued, to stay even when our personalities and visions clash, to stay through thick and thin.
The entire text is here.
Ron Rolheiser, OMI
In each of us there is a spark that can reverse the trends of violence and depression spiraling within us and in the world around us. By setting in motion the spiral of gratefulness, we begin the journey toward peace and joy.
~~ Br. David Steindl-Rast
Breath, the mindful breath,
the rhythm, out and in,
the wave that washes
through our days, creating
space for stillness, sorrow,
joy, or exaltation. Full,
then empty, ebb and flow,
breath accompanies each
step into the unknown.
In the breath, the soul
finds an opportunity to
speak. Images or intuition,
poetry or wordless wisdom
come and go – no effort but
to breathe and listen.
Danna Faulds, Go In and In
The Trip of a Lifetime — Passion Play 2020 Oberammergau!
Have you considered a pilgrimage to Oberammergau, Germany, for the 2020 Passion Play?
If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to make travel arrangements and get tickets! Here is the official website. Or contact your travel agent or one of the many religious tour operators in the US. Oberammergau is in the heart of Europe and easy to combine with other destinations, whether you travel by car, train or even via a river cruise!
Anticipation of this once-in-a-lifetime event is an integral part of it all! Prepare your spirit (or the spirits of family or friends who are going) with a prayer pocket piece to carry with you from now until you return home from the trip. Creator Mundi has designed a special pewter Oberammergau Passion Play 2020 medallion specifically for this purpose.
Note the Prayer on the back of the coin, one line from the popular medieval prayer Anima Christi.
To pray “Passion of Christ, Strengthen Me” is to ask Jesus, the Risen Christ, to give me strength to endure whatever trial may come my way, to accept the path of suffering and loss where no other path can be found, to find comfort in the Passion of Christ who suffered too, and who, though he was without guilt or sin, suffered for me and for all of humanity.
To pray “Passion of Christ, strengthen me” is to find comfort in the marvelous mystery and reality of God who desires only our freedom, our joy, our fulfillment, and our salvation.
To pray “Passion of Christ, strengthen me” is to admit our physical and emotional vulnerability and fragility and to reach out to the only true source of strength, the Christ, for help and support.
To pray “Passion of Christ, strengthen me” is to put myself into the life-giving flow of the Trinity.
To pray “Passion of Christ, strengthen me” is to know that God protects us from nothing as God unexplainably sustains us in all things (James Finley).
To pray “Passion of Christ, strengthen me” is to trust God’s mercy always and everywhere.
To pray “Passion of Christ, strengthen me” is to ask for God’s unfaltering support on the path of transformation.
To pray “Passion of Christ, strengthen me” is to seek the way out of negative attachment and addiction.
Below is the full text of the prayer in Latin, poetic English and in the translation of Cardinal John Henry Newman:
Anima Christi, sanctifica me. Corpus Christi, salva me. Sanguis Christi, inebria me. Aqua lateris Christi, lava me. Passio Christi, conforta me. O bone Jesu, exaudi me. Intra tua vulnera absconde me. Ne permittas me separari a te. Ab hoste maligno defende me. In hora mortis meae voca me. Et iube me venire ad te, ut cum Sanctis tuis laudem te, in saecula saeculorum. Amen
Poetic English Translation
Soul of Christ, sanctify me. Body of Christ, save me. Blood of Christ, inebriate me. Water from the side of Christ, wash me. Passion of Christ, strengthen me. O good Jesus, hear me. Within Thy wounds hide me. Separated from Thee let me never be. From the malicious enemy defend me. In the hour of my death call me. And bid me come unto Thee, that I may praise Thee with Thy saints, forever and ever. Amen
Translation by Cardinal John Henry Newman
Soul of Christ, be my sanctification. Body of Christ, be my salvation. Blood of Christ, fill all my veins. Water of Christ’s side, wash out my stains. Passion of Christ, my comfort be. O good Jesus, listen to me. In Thy wounds I fain would hide. Ne’er to be parted from Thy side. Guard me, should the foe assail me. Call me when my life shall fail me. Bid me come to Thee above, with Thy saints to sing Thy love. World without end. Amen.
The Feast of Saint Francis of Assisi is coming up on October 4.
Do you need a unique gift for that special Francis in your life, or for someone who is devoted to Saint Francis? Consider this whimsical original by Colorado artist Tom Sarmo!
This is a truly unique, one-of-a-kind work of art in an acrylic-on-wood medium. The artist used the Grisaille technique (gray underpainting with colored glazes on top) to create this true Saint Francis Original.
The Artist Explains His Inspiration for This Piece
“Saint Francis appeals to me for his personality and his message. He has always been one of my favorites. I chose him for my confirmation name. His message of peace, his ability to recognize his own faults makes him more accessible to all of us, and the fact that he was a joyful person. I wanted that joy and playfulness to come out. He is exuberant.”
Saint Francis of Assisi – “Il Poverello” (The Poor One)
Francis encountered God in all of God’s creation and is for this reason now honored as the patron saint of animals, ecology and the environment (as well as the state of Colorado, the Archdiocese of Denver, the city of San Francisco and innumerable other causes). The fact that Cardinal Bergoglio has taken the name “Francis” as his papal name seems to augur his intent to carry out a program of radical reform of the Church. For Christ spoke from the crucifix of San Damiano in 1204 to Saint Francis in a mystical vision and commanded him to “rebuild my church.”
Let us help you choose unique and meaningful sympathy gifts for those that are grieving. When a friend, loved one, or acquaintance is in mourning, it is often hard to know what to say. However, you still want to show they are in your thoughts. A condolence gift chosen with care will remind them that they are loved and not alone in this, their time of suffering.
Sympathy Gifts That Last Longer Than Flowers
Grief is so personal. Even if you have suffered a similar loss, no two people ever experience the same loss. A bereavement gift shows you care without feeling like you have to stumble over words or force your company on someone who may just need to be alone for a while. Some of our truly unique, sacred art sympathy gifts include the following options:
- Farewell Monument Statue
- Trust In Me Cross
- Child In The Hand Of God Cross
- Angel Of Hope Pocket Prayer
- Cross Of Promise
- In The Hand Of God
- Your Custom Design: Call Us!
Condolence Gifts That Comfort
The loss of a child. A stillbirth. Losing a parent to age or a spouse to cancer. These are all unthinkable to many of us. Something other people go through. When someone close to us is the one who is grieving, we often grieve with them. We want to share the burden but don’t exactly know how. Spiritual bereavement gifts say “I don’t get it, but I know who does.” They let your recipient know that you realize their pain and healing is best placed in the hands of the master comforter.
Let Them Know They’re Not Alone
We offer Christian inspired artisanal gifts that will let your friend or loved one know that you are here when they are ready for company, but in the meantime, they are never alone. Pieces like the Farewell Monument Statue or the Child in the Hand of God Cross, show both a deep reverence for the loss of a child along with the hopefulness that this precious being is now in the hands of their Heavenly Father.
The Cross of Promise and In the Hand of God piece are both reminders that your loved one is not alone in their grief. These spiritual sympathy gifts nurture feelings of order during what can be an emotionally chaotic time. They offer a lifeline and an answer to someone who may be feeling lost and wondering where to turn for answers.
A Sympathy Gift That Says What You Can’t
To find beautiful, one-of-a-kind sympathy gifts for those that are grieving in the Denver area, visit us at Creator Mundi today. We offer sacred artwork, prayer and devotional gifts, and so many more items that can calm and nurture both mind and spirit. If you have something special in mind to comfort your recipient or to memorialize a loved one, call us to find out more about a custom or personalized gift.
Chicago, Holy Name Cathedral, September 17, 2018:
Auxiliary Bishop Robert Casey processing out after his episcopal ordination with his new Tree of Life crozier from Creator Mundi – Distinctive Sacred Art & Gifts.
“Cookies of Joy” and Saint Hildegard of Bingen
The feast day of Saint Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179) is coming up on September 17. We consider her the patron saint of Creator Mundi! But is she also the patron saint of chefs and people who work with food in the widest sense? Read on to find out from Loyola Press (and then check out the recipe for her Cookies of Joy!):
“St. Hildegard is not officially the patron saint of anything. But a mystic nun who wrote recipes and developed a nutritional philosophy belongs on any list of Catholic saints associated with the culinary arts.
St. Hildegard’s interest in the healing properties of food makes her a very modern saint. To promote health and cheerfulness and to slow the aging process, St. Hildegard recommended a diet high in foods she considered most nutritious (spelt, fennel, chestnuts, chickpeas, meat from animals fed grass and hay, certain fruits and vegetables) and low in harmful ones (strawberries, eel, refined sugar, and sausage, to name a few). Among her dietary principles were that breakfast should be eaten late and served warm, and that a walk should be taken after dinner.
A brilliant woman, she also invented an alphabet, composed sacred music, founded monasteries, wrote books on medicine and botany, spoke out against corruption, travelled through Germany as a preacher and healer, and corresponded with popes and emperors. Never formally canonized, St. Hildegard was recently named by Pope Benedict a Doctor of the Church, one of only four women to be so named.
St. Hildegard’s recipe for “Cookies of Joy” is still used today. She encouraged bakers to eat the cookies often: “They will reduce the bad humors, enrich the blood, and fortify the nerves,” she wrote.”
And here is the recipe for Hildegard’s “Cookies of Joy!”
In our society, there is so much fear, suffering, violence, despair, and confusion.
But there is also, at the same time, the beautiful blue sky.
Sometimes it reveals half of itself,
sometimes just a little bit of blue peeks through,
and sometimes none at all.
Storms, clouds, and fog hide the blue sky.
The kingdom of heaven can be hidden by a cloud of ignorance
or by a tempest of anger, violence, and fear.
But if we practice mindfulness,
it’s possible to be aware that even if the weather is very foggy, cloudy, or stormy,
the blue sky is always there for us above the clouds.
~~Thich Nhat Hanh,
Fear – Essential Wisdom for Getting Through the Storm
Prayer for the Life of the World
Whichever way we turn, O God, there is your face
in the light of the moon and patterns of the stars
in scarred mountain rifts and ancient groves
in mighty seas and creatures of the deep.
Whichever way we turn, O God, there is your face
in the light of eyes we love
in the salt of tears we have tasted
in weathered countenances east and west
in the soft skin glow of the child everywhere.
Whichever way we turn, O God, there is your face
there is your face among us.
John Philip Newell, Praying With the Earth
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We can only move forward when we name the evil of clericalism
Canadian Professor Jordan Peterson became a blockbuster intellectual almost overnight, with his latest book …
St. Joseph’s Hospital in Denver dedicated its new baptismal font on Friday.
About a year ago, they contacted Creator Mundi’s founder and owner, Hildegard Letbetter, to help them with finding a replacement for their old baptismal font. Hildegard viewed the hospital’s chapel and immediately knew that Sondra Johnson of Cambridge, Nebraska, would be a great artist for this project.
See what Sondra created!