Posted September 18, 2012
Book: The Little Way of Advent: Meditations in the spirit of St. Therese of Lisieux
Author: Fr. Gary Caster
Servant Books, Cincinnati, OH. 2012. Pp. 145
An Excerpt from the Jacket:
The Little Way of Advent follows a similar format to The Little Way of Lent. Following the Advent of and Christmas season daily Scripture readings, Fr. Caster provides an inspirational reflection for each day and a quote from St. Therese that helps to shed light on the reflection. Because this book is not dated, it can be used in any year. The author provides a reflection for each Sunday in the A, B, and C cycle, one for every weekday in Advent and, as an additional feature, one for every day in the Christmas season.
The Little Way of Advent focuses on St. Therese's Little Way, as well as her deep insights into the Child Jesus and the Hole Face. Fr. Caster shows the connection between the innocent child and the crucified Savior, thus providing for a rich Advent experience.
An Excerpt from the Book:
Sunday, Week One, Cycle A
First Reading: Isaiah 2:1-5
Second Reading: Romans 13: 11-14
Gospel: Matthew: 24 37-44
The description of how things will be when the Son of Man returns should come as little surprise. Those who are eating, drinking, and taking spouses suspect nothing; they have already decided that their expectation for unending happiness is an illusion, that nothing can truly fulfill them. They make choices according to physical, emotional and social desires.
Jesus compares them to the people who lived in the days of Noah. These people could not see past themselves to even glimpse the God who towers high above the mountains. They had completely lost their perspective and thus could not recognize their desire for happiness as a desire for God.
St. Paul accurately described this condition as "sleep." It was the condition of many in the Roman community. St. Paul knew that once we turn our gaze from the Person of Jesus, darkness comes upon us. Promiscuity, licentiousness, wrangling, and jealousies all stem from this fundamental loss of perspective. Instead of seeking a relationship with the only One who can fulfill us, we direct our life toward immediate and ever-changing desires. We trade the glory of being created for God for the futility of making a life for ourselves.
When disappointment ends up determining and limiting life, the light of the Lord can be extinguished. The horizon of human potential recedes from view. We expect nothing greater or more beautiful than that which we can construct --- however fleetingly --- for ourselves.
The season of Advent is meant to establish our true horizon with greater clarity. For those who have lost perspective, the season proposes a method for reclaiming it. That method involves both a look back to the expectations of the Israelites and a look forward to the return of the Son of Man.
Christmas may not know when the Master is coming, but they know that he is coming. This conviction secures our Christian identity. It fixes us within the relationship that perfectly defines what it means to be human and fully alive: a relationship with God.
This relationship that Christ makes possible satisfies the expectations in the human heart. As it does, so the heart expands. The longing for Christ's return grows into a longing for an infinite and ever –deeper relationship with God.
St. Therese understood that looking ahead to Christ's return keeps us awake and attentive. She could celebrate God's coming as a man because the gift of Jesus' life opened her to the ways of God and enabled her to walk along his paths -- not side by side, but through, with, and in him.
It is with joy I shall contemplate You on the Last Day.
Table of Contents:
The Christmas Season