Book Reviews by Ann Jonas, Tradebook Buyer - CSB/SJU Bookstores
this review was published in the St. Cloud Visitor
"Taste and See: Experiencing the Goodness of God with Our Five Senses" by Ginny Kubitz Moyer; Loyola Press
Award-winning writer Ginny Kubitz Moyer's fourth and newest book, "Taste and See: Experiencing the Goodness of God with Our Five Senses," centers on everyday spirituality with a focus on our five senses. Moyer, who writes a blog in which she shares spiritual moments in her life as mother of two small boys, teaches high school English in California. Her blog states "I write about faith, real life, and how the two intersect." "Taste and See" certainly follows that model.
In the book's introduction, Moyer tells of a literature professor in one of her college classes who referred to Catholicism as a "sensual religion." Some twenty years later, Moyer used this comment as a catalyst to "think more deeply about how I experience faith." She came to realize that in order to deepen her relationship with God, she needed to pay more attention to all five senses: sight, hearing, smell, touch and taste.
"Taste and See" is arranged in an easy-to-use manner. Each section is dedicated to one of the five senses; each section then has five chapters that illustrate the different experiences with that particular sense. After her introduction, Moyer gives a brief explanation on how to use her book. Each chapter ends with a prayer page. Moyer uses the basic elements of St. Ignatius of Loyola's "Spiritual Exercises" daily examen (ask for grace, give thanks, review the day, and make a resolve for the future) as the pattern for the prayers at the end of each chapter. After beginning with a centering exercise and then thanksgiving for elements related to the chapter, several questions are given to ponder. Then readers are invited to look ahead to tomorrow, to pay particular attention to aspects of the day related to the theme of the chapter.
The different chapters for each sense are intriguing; incense would be an obvious chapter for the "Smell" section, but Moyer has incense as one of the chapters in the "Sight" section, instead. Chapters in the "Taste" section include "Kissing" and "The Eucharist." Under "Smell," the book has chapters titled "Smells of Childhood" and "The Odor of Sheep," expounding on one of Pope Francis' memorable homilies.
Personal anecdotes and stories, along with Scripture passages, are used to illustrate how our senses can help us experience the goodness of God. Moyer's writing is delightful to read; she writes in a very expressive but down-to-earth manner that is easy to follow. The prayer sections at the end of each chapter offer prayerful reflections and practical suggestions for ways to live our faith. A short epilogue and suggestions for further prayer conclude the book.
Moyer has authored three previous books: "Random MOMents of Grace: Experiencing God in the Adventures of Motherhood," "Daily Inspiration for Women: Seasons of a Woman's Life," and "Mary and Me: Catholic Women Reflect on the Mother of God" (a Catholic Press Award winner.) She was raised Catholic, but stopped practicing her faith in her early adult years, returning while attending graduate school at Stanford. Moyer's latest book does a great job of exploring how our Catholic faith engages all our senses.