The Little Way of Lent: Meditations in the Spirit of St. Therese of Lisieux

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Lent is not meant to foster morbid gloominess and debilitating self-loathing, but to thrust us into the heart of Divine love.—From the Introduction

While reading the autobiography of St. Thérèse, Fr. Caster had an 'ah ha' moment that transformed his experience of Lent from one of narrow concern over what to give up to one of joyful freedom to enter into the sacrificial love of Jesus Christ. "What struck me," he says, "was her insistence on the way we do things for God and not ...

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Overview


Lent is not meant to foster morbid gloominess and debilitating self-loathing, but to thrust us into the heart of Divine love.—From the Introduction

While reading the autobiography of St. Thérèse, Fr. Caster had an 'ah ha' moment that transformed his experience of Lent from one of narrow concern over what to give up to one of joyful freedom to enter into the sacrificial love of Jesus Christ. "What struck me," he says, "was her insistence on the way we do things for God and not the things we do for him. It wasn't about what I was offering; it was about why." The daily Lenten meditations in this book—all colored by St. Thérèse's Little Way of Spiritual Childhood—will transform you, too, helping you focus not so much on what you have done to offend God, but on what he has done to redeem you.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780867169676
  • Publisher: Saint Anthony Messenger Press & Franciscan Communications
  • Publication date: 10/1/2010
  • Pages: 130
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author


FATHER GARY CASTER, Ph. L., a priest of the Diocese of Peoria, is the Catholic Chaplain at Williams College. He leads retreats and parish missions, has written and produced shows for EWTN and been a contributor to Magnificat magazine. He is the author of Mary in her own words: The Mother of God in Scripture and a contributor to Praying with St. Paul: Daily Reflections on the Letters of the Apostle Paul. His thesis for a Master of Arts in Church History from Mt. St. Mary’s University was on St. Thérèse of Lisieux.
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Table of Contents

Introduction vii

Beginning Lent 1

Ash Wednesday, Understanding the Method 3

Thursday After Ash Wednesday, What's Set Before Us" 5

Friday After Ash Wednesday, Recognizing Without Rejecting 7

Saturday After Ash Wednesday, Spending for God 9

Week 1 11

Sunday, Cycle A, Living Up to Our Dignity 13

Sunday, Cycle B, Standing in the Right Spot 15

Sunday, Cycle C, The Way of Gratitude 17

Monday Prayer Fosters Communion 19

Tuesday, Prayer Is Doing God's Will 21

Wednesday, Prayer Is Life 23

Thursday, God Is Not an ATM 25

Friday, Prayer at the Altar 27

Saturday, Being Perfectly Human 29

Week 2 31

Sunday, Cycle A, The Vision From the Mountain 33

Sunday, Cycle B, How Good It Is to Be Here 35

Sunday, Cycle C, God Manages the Outcome 37

Monday, Prayer Without Measure 39

Tuesday, Listening and Learning 41

Wednesday, Prayer and Suffering 43

Thursday, Which Side Are We On" 45

Friday, Revealed From Above 47

Saturday, The Way Home 49

Week 3 51

Sunday, Cycle A, Going to the Well 53

Sunday, Cycle B, Overturning the Obstacles 55

Sunday, Cycle C, Hungering Without Complaint 57

Monday, Knowing Hunger 59

Tuesday, Fasting From Vengeance 61

Wednesday, Fasting From Distractions 63

Thursday, Empty Mouths 65

Friday, The Two as One 67

Saturday, Fed Up 69

Week 4 71

Sunday, Cycle A, Seeing in the Light 73

Sunday, Cycle B, A Place in Heaven 75

Sunday, Cycle C, Eating on Our Own 77

Monday, The Hunger Pangs of Suffering 79

Tuesday, The Hunger That Brings Wholeness 81

Wednesday, Fasting Through the Hour 83

Thursday, The Taste of Egypt 85

Friday, Taking Refuge 87

Saturday, Going Without 89

Week 5 91

Sunday, Cycle A, "Come Out!" 93

Sunday, Cycle B, "Not for My Sake but for Yours" 95

Sunday, Cycle C, Knowing Christ 97

Monday, Where Are We Going" 99

Tuesday, That Which Is Above 101

Wednesday, Yielding to God 103

Thursday, Prostrate With God 105

Friday, On the Other Side of the Jordan 107

Saturday, "What Are We Going to Do"" 109

Holy Week 111

Palm Sunday of the Lord's Passion, Standing With Christ 113

Monday, God's Generosity 115

Tuesday, At Table With Jesus 117

Wednesday, "What Are You Willing to Give Me"" 119

Holy Thursday, "Do You Realize What I Have Done for You"" 121

Good Friday, "It Is Finished!" 123

Holy Saturday, What Led Him to This Moment" 125

Notes 128

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  • Posted December 15, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Feeling our love for God

    Fr. Gary Caster begins with some brief background on St. Thérèse of Lisieux and her "Little Way," a form of spiritual childhood based on complete trust in God. The Little Way helps us to fulfill the Church's prescriptions for Lent: fast, abstinence, sacred reading, and reflection. It helps us overcome fear by concentrating on God's mercy and to accept Lent as a season of joy, Caster writes. In "offering up," we find an opportunity to appreciate the sacrifice of Jesus more intensely. "What I feel in my body enables me to contemplate what is wholly unimaginable and unheard of: God loves me!" he explains. "In a sense, we are able to 'feel' our love for God." Caster describes an insight based on Thérèse's Little Way that radically changed his Lenten practice. Instead of focusing on his sacrifice, he would concentrate on his reasons for making it. He began offering up something different every day, sharing it with God in prayer each morning, and keeping it in mind throughout the day. With this approach, he is no longer weighed down with the prospect of doing without one thing for forty days, yet he is "continuously engaged." The Little Way of Lent is an outgrowth of the promise Caster made as a seminarian to try to bring others to Thérèse so that she might bring them to Christ. All of the meditations are based on Lenten Mass readings and all are "colored" by Therese's little way of spiritual childhood. A pertinent quote from Therese's writings opens the week and a shorter quote for prayer and reflection ends each daily meditation. Let's look at Week 4 as an example. The focus is fasting, and daily topics include hunger pangs of suffering, hunger that brings wholeness, and going without, in which the reflection is based on John 7:40-53. In the passage some listening to Jesus saw him as a prophet, even the Messiah; others wanted to arrest him. Those, Caster writes, would benefit from a fast from trying to be in control of the crowd, the fate of Jesus, and God's plan. "Fasting and abstinence are means of relinquishing control." Our trust in God grows as we give up control and bend our will to the will of God out of love. The meditation closes with the following quotation from St. Thérèse: "You know yourself that those souls are rare who don't measure the divine power according to their own narrow minds."

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