Disclaimer: I rec’d a review copy of this book as part of the Catholic book reviewer program from The Catholic Company. Visit The Catholic Company to find more information on The Little Way of Advent. The Catholic Company is also a great online store for all your Catholic gift needs, such as baby baptism and christening gifts. You can also find a wide selection of Catholic Bible Studies for both parish groups and individuals, as well as a variety of other Catholic Bible study resources.

I have always loved the Christmas season; ever since I was little, I’ve loved stretching out the season to embrace Epiphany and the Baptism … the decorations and treats and surprises that the season engendered have always kept me captivated. But the season leading up to Christmas, the liturgical season of Advent … umm … not so much. When I was little, the four weeks preceding the Christmas season were the longest four weeks of my life. It dragged and dragged … the Advent Candles we burned seemed to last forever and the time crept so slowly. I didn’t understand why my mom and dad talked of Advent as being penitential, a time of renewal and study of God’s greatest gift: His Son.

As I’ve matured, I’ve come to see the Church’s infinite wisdom in the four-week preparation period of Advent. I’ve come to love the time spent in penance and meditation, in sacrifice and study to learn more about Jesus’s humble birth; and that event’s connection to His dying on the Cross for us all.

The Little Way of Advent by Fr. Gary Caster

Each year, I try and find a good book to read during the Advent season; a book that will help focus and center my day and my life toward the triumph of Christmas. That’s why I jumped at the chance to review The Little Way of Advent: meditations in the spirit of St. Therese of Lisieux by Father Gary Caster. It sounded like a perfect book for my 2012 spiritual journey.

And I was right … it is the perfect book!

Fr. Caster, a Theresian scholar, is also a great homilist — he takes the readings for each day of Advent (including the three cycles of Sundays … making this book usuable in any year) and gives a page-and-a-half meditation on the spiritual theme. The meditation is also connected in some way to Therese’s writings from Story of a Soul. A final quote, usually quite thought-provoking, is given at the end of the day’s reading to send the reader on her way with a prayer or thought to mull over. Excellent!

A very cool aspect of this particular Advent-journey book is that Fr. Caster carries the meditations through the Christmas season, ending with the Baptism of Our Lord in the Jordan … a way to give the reader an extra-dose in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season.

Caster’s introduction is a must-read. It puts Therese into context (for those who may not be familiar with this Doctor of the Church and her “little way”). It puts the Advent season into context. And, it puts Christmas into the context of the Cross. Caster has a beautifully gentle way of leading the reader through her Advent journey, day by day, toward a better understanding of God’s great love and mercy, personified in His gift of His Son.

Definitely recommend this one!

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