Christmas with the Holy Fathers
is a compilation of various writings from Holy Fathers throughout history that cover the period from Advent to Epiphany. The writings are taken from Wednesday audiences and other Papal speeches and are grouped together based on topic. At first I thought this book was a day by day guide through this period, but the writings are pretty muched grouped around the major events from Advent to Epiphany. It starts with several pages on Advent itself and then moves to the Feast of the Assumption with multiple writings on the feast and Mary in Particular. Christmas Eve, Christmas, and then Ephiphany make up the rest of the book. Included is forward by the always excellent Thomas Howard and Fr. Benedict Groeschel whose name seems to be on so many good books also "highly recommended" it.
There is a smattering of messages from Popes throughout history, but the brunt of the book consists mainly of popes from Pius XII through Pope Benedict and not suprisingly many from Pope John Paul II in particular. I greatly enjoyed the papal messages that were selected and found that they were a great companion when it comes to thinking more deeply on this liturgical season. I easily read through the entire book in a day, but for best effect I think it would be better to read it in smaller chunks during Advent to Epiphany. In fact I found this book so worthwhile that I probably will pick it up again this year and do just that. Besides you just can’t go wrong with what the popes have written on the subject and in this case you might want to have your highlighter ready.
Jesus is My All in All: Praying with the “Saint of Calcutta”
is a new book put together by Father Brian Kolodiejchuk and serves mainly as a novena. It starts with the obligatory biography of Blessed Mother Teresa and then nicely covers the purpose of a novena. This is frankly the most meditative novena I have ever read. The various passages written by Blessed Mother Teresa are mostly short, but filled thoughts to ponder. This is really a novena whose purpose is to bring you closer to Christ as you meditate on him and to bring into focus the thought for each day at th end of the novena. Included are also two litanies written by Mother Teresa that are also quite excellent, especially "Who is Jesus to me."
This is a small hardcover book that reminds me more in style of older prayer books in it’s sturdy quality and the photographs throughout only add to the value of this book. This is a book that is not going to just be placed into the recesses of a bookshelf, but one to keep handy and reuse as a novena.