By Susan Ciancio
What do the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the saints, and holy scripture have in common? The Culture of Life Studies Program’s Lenten reflection book has put them all together to guide you through a meaningful Lent.
A Lenten Journey with the Holy Spirit and the Saints blends the gifts of the Holy Spirit with verses from the Bible and stories about the lives of saints—many of whom you probably have never met. These saints will become your friends, your confidants, your mentors, and your heroes.
You will meet a saint who secretly sheltered priests. You will meet a saint who endured torture for our Lord. You will meet two saints who were kidnapped, yet who forgave. You will learn about saints who converted to Catholicism. You will meet teachers, hermits, and leaders. You will meet men and women who changed their lives for God and who gave up earthly riches. These saints will move you. They will inspire you. They will encourage you to become stronger in your faith. And they will light your path to heaven.
We so desperately need that light today. We see so much darkness in our world that it can be overwhelming. Violence, anger, hatred, wokeness, and more seem to fill up the news and social media. It threatens to steal our children and destroy our families. Because of this, it can be difficult to see the light, let alone shine the light, but that is exactly what Christ has called us to be and do. He doesn’t want us to feel discouraged. He wants us to be strong. And so He has given us the examples of the saints. He has given us the gifts of wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord. Though what we do with these gifts is up to us, God desires His light to shine through us.
One of my favorite hymns at Mass is “Christ Be Our Light.” I like this song not only because it is joyful, but because it asks God to come into our lives and push the darkness away. In the refrain, we hear:
Christ, be our light! Shine in our hearts
Shine through the darkness
Christ, be our light!
Shine in your church gathered today
In order to do that, we must strengthen not only our resolve but our faith. This can’t be done if we spend just one hour with Jesus a week at Mass. We can only become closer to Him if we spend time with Him every day. We must converse with Him, tell Him our joys and sorrows, thank Him, and praise Him—not just for the good things but for everything. If we want to shine the light of Christ, we have to work at cultivating that light within us.
Lent is a perfect time to do that.
This is why A Lenten Journey with the Holy Spirit and the Saints is so integral for our families this Lent. When we reflect on scripture, on the lives of the saints, and on the gifts of the Holy Spirit—and then put these lessons into action—we will find that Christ’s light more easily flows through us.
Lent is a solemn time to contemplate the sacrifice that Jesus made for us when He died on the cross, but we must also keep in mind that after that sorrowful Good Friday comes that triumphant Easter morning. Christ gave His life out of a love we can barely begin to imagine. This Lent, let us reflect on this love and vow to shine it outward to a world that urgently needs it.
Though individuals can certainly read and reflect on A Lenten Journey with the Holy Spirit and the Saints alone, this book is meant for families to read together and is appropriate for children of all ages. It is a beautiful way for families to grow closer to God together this Lent. And we guarantee that you will have fun on this journey.