By Susan Ciancio
Building a culture of life is something people of any age can do, and when children are brought up in a household where they are taught to care for others, give of themselves, pray regularly, learn about our faith, make sacrifices, and more, they will be more likely to continue these actions as adults.
When we are confirmed, the Holy Spirit bestows the gifts of wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord upon us. Part of our role as parents is to illustrate—through both words and actions—these gifts to the children in our lives. St. Gregory the Great once said: “Through the fear of the Lord, we rise to piety, from piety then to knowledge, from knowledge we derive strength, from strength counsel, with counsel we move towards understanding, and with intelligence towards wisdom and thus, by the sevenfold grace of the Spirit, there opens to us at the end of the ascent the entrance to the life of Heaven.”
Each gift is vital.
Fear of the lord does not mean being afraid of God. It’s a feeling of amazement before Him and a fear of sin. It’s a fear of hurting God because of our immense love for Him. This fear leads us to do His will.
Piety means that we show reverence to God; this helps us pray to Him with true devotion.
Knowledge is our ability to think about and study the word of God and all that He has revealed to us Himself.
Fortitude is the moral courage to do what we know is right.
Counsel is our ability to determine how to best follow God’s plan and make moral choices.
Understanding is our ability to comprehend God’s message and what it means for our lives and the lives of those around us.
Wisdom helps us understand that it’s crucial to keep God as the focal point of our lives.
These seven gifts help us as we navigate the high and low points of life. They help us as we strive to be more like Christ, and they help us strengthen our relationship with Him. That is why we must practice them every day, and it’s why we must allow our children to see that we are using them to live and walk with Christ. This takes daily determination, steadfastness, love, and devotion.
The Culture of Life Studies Program—American Life League’s pre-k-12 Catholic, pro-life education program—is offering a downloadable daily Lenten reflection book that focuses on the gifts of the Holy Spirit and on how you can use these gifts to strengthen the faith of those in your family and to instill that moral courage we all so desperately need today.
Each day’s entry begins with a Bible verse that discusses one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. It then offers a brief reflection of this verse. After that, there is a short biography of a saint and an explanation of how that saint used one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit to build a culture of life in his/her life. Following the biography, there are suggestions for how you can use this saint’s example to build a culture of life in your own home or community. Each day then ends with the suggestion for a short activity that you can partake in as a family to further your understanding or knowledge of Church history or teaching.
Each day’s reflection is meant to be read aloud as a family, though anyone can read the reflections and do the activity individually.
God’s greatest gift to us was Christ’s death and resurrection. This redemptive act was for you, for me, and for all of us so that we could spend eternity with Him.
This Lent, allow the Culture of Life Studies Program to walk the path to Calvary with you as you and your family grow closer to God and grow stronger in faith.
To download this 49-page reflection book, visit shop.all.org/collections/culture-of-life-studies-program/products/a-lenten-journey-with-the-holy-spirit-and-the-saints-2023-download.