By Susan Ciancio
Lent begins today! How will you grow closer to God this Lent so that your faith guides all that you do?
This Lent, delve into the gifts of the Holy Spirit and learn about the saints with just one book. A Lenten Journey with the Holy Spirit and the Saints is a daily devotional that explores the gifts of the Holy Spirit and incorporates both Scripture and the saints to help us reflect on those gifts.
As the book says, the gifts of the Holy Spirit—wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord—“help us as we navigate the high and low points of life.”
In our country the last couple years, we have certainly experienced both high and low points. We’ve lived through a global pandemic, violence in our streets, inflation, and anger and hostilities toward pro-lifers and pro-life pregnancy centers. But we’ve also seen beautiful moments of kindness, of love, and of generosity. And through it all, God has been with us.
God wants us to know that He is always there to console us in the difficult times and to rejoice with us during the happy times. There is not a moment when God isn’t there for us. We may reject Him, but He will never reject us.
Understanding this is vital, as it’s often tempting to feel abandoned or alone when we’re going through difficult times. So during these times, we can look to the examples of the saints to guide us. For example, in A Lenten Journey with the Holy Spirit and the Saints, we are introduced to many saints who faced incredible obstacles. St. Seraphina was a young girl who was not only poor but who suffered from an illness that paralyzed her. Her mother had to carry her on a wooden plank. But Seraphina trusted in God. As the book says, her “cheerful attitude despite her pain and suffering inspired those around her.” Seraphina united her suffering to Christ’s on the cross, and she allowed God to help her create good from that suffering.
The book also introduces us to saints like Matilda, who helped the poor; to Benjamin, who was arrested and tortured for his faith; and to Nicholas Owen, who built hiding places in houses so that priests could say Mass after England declared it illegal. These men and women faced violence and hatred and bore those immense crosses with dignity and love. They shined the light of Christ to those who didn’t even want to see it. And through them, people learned to love. People learned about God. People converted.
There’s no end to what our good works can do for others. But those good works begin with our own education. They begin with our own hearts aflame for Christ and His teachings.
In our world today, we see so much anger and resentment. We see so much disdain for religion and morality. We could be quiet and live our lives never speaking out and never teaching others. But that is not what we are called to do. We are called to evangelize. Like St. Andrew, we are called to be fishers of men.
In order to do that, we have to be secure in our faith and in our knowledge. So this Lent, let us focus on education so that we can then go out and educate others.
And let us remember that just like the violence and hatred that Jesus endured on Good Friday, the violence and hatred that we encounter today will not triumph. He assured us of that when He rose on Easter Sunday.
Download this daily Lenten devotional at shop.all.org/collections/culture-of-life-studies-program/products/a-lenten-journey-with-the-holy-spirit-and-the-saints-2023-download.