Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Feasts (Image Books) Review and Giveaway

It's been a few months since the last blog tour I participated in, but I am participating in two this month. The first one is sponsored by Image Books and is spotlighting their latest book The Feasts by Cardinal Donald Wuerl and Mike Aquilina. Those involved in the blog tour will provide you with a review of the book and a personal reflection on the Feast or Season. My season is Advent. There will also be a giveaway at the end of this post open to all in the U.S., so read all the way through and don't just skip to the bottom. Finally, you might see #TheFeasts on Facebook or Twitter, if you click on it, it should take you to other people's reviews, thoughts, and reflections. Without further ado, here is my review!

The Feasts is the third, and most likely final, book in a series of books written by Cardinal Wuerl and Mike Aquilina, which are designed to instruct Catholics and non-Catholics on important aspects of the Catholic Church. The first two books in this series are entitled The Mass and The Church. In The Feasts, the authors begin by explaining the value and importance that man places in calendars and tracking of time. They use the example of fishermen using the lunar calendar and farmers the solar calendar to grow rich, and state that if we follow the Church Calendar, we can grow spiritually rich. They then walk us through the Jewish feasts that Jesus celebrated when he walked this earth. Following this a whole chapter is dedicated to defining terms like Memorial, Solemnity, Season, and Octave.

The book then gets to the heart of the matter with the remaining chapters. The authors first start by talking about the importance of Sunday and then there are individual chapters dedicated to Christmas, Easter, and Pentecost. Next, they dedicate individual chapters to important solemnities of Jesus, including Epiphany, Ascension, Corpus Christi, and Christ the King. Unfortunately, the Annunciation and Presentation of Jesus in the Temple got lumped in with Christ the King. These are two important feast days, and considered part of the Twelve Great Feasts in Eastern Christianity. Next, we are treated to various other feasts and seasons, including Holy Trinity, Marian feasts (which could have easily taken up more than one chapter), and the Holy Angels.

I was very pleased that they devoted a chapter to Advent, as it is my favorite liturgical season. In this chapter, the authors discuss the beauty of Advent. Advent is a time of waiting and preparation, not a spend four weeks shopping season. In this season, we are preparing for the two-fold coming of Christ, both at Christmas and again at the end of the age. They also explain that the Eastern Christians view this as a season for purification and penance. I particularly enjoy Advent, because it is the start of a new Church year. It is a time to start over, begin again, and grow closer to God.

Overall, this was a good book with a lot of great information. I appreciate that the Eastern Catholics were not ignored in this book. However, there are a few things I would have changed. As I said earlier, I wish there had been more focus given to some of the particular feasts. I also think the book could have been a bit better organized. Since there was a great bit of focus on the importance of calendars and seasons, I think the book should have been arranged in the order the seasons and feasts appear on the calendar, starting with Advent and ending with Christ the King. Those complaints aside, this was still a good book that can teach both converts and cradle Catholics a lot.



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