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Since 1732, the Redemptorists — a congregation of missionary priests and brothers — have followed in Jesus’ footsteps, preaching the Word and serving the poor and most abandoned.
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The Spirit of Lent: Let the Spirit lead

By Rev. Joseph Krastel, C.Ss.R.
The Spirit of Lent: Seven Lenten Meditations on the Work of the Holy Spirit

“We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee, because by thy holy cross, thou hast redeemed the world.” During Lent, especially at the Stations of the Cross, Catholics offer this tribute to Our Redeemer, first phrased by St. Francis of Assisi in the twelfth century. During this Lent 2013, we have followed Christ’s path to Calvary from his forty days in the desert, through his preaching and miracles to his agony and death on the cross.

We have spent these forty days, guided by the Holy Spirit, who drove Jesus into the desert after his baptism. (Mk 1:12) Inspired by the Spirit, we have made our own sacrifices, pulled ourselves away from trivial pursuits and allowed the Lord to speak words of wisdom to us as we shut out the Babel of the world.

Now, we take part in the ceremonies of Holy Week. Bishops wash the feet of ordinary Catholics; small villages in Venezuela and the Philippines re-enact the drama of Jesus’ sufferings; we stand as a single candle illuminates the dark church, symbol of a world without redemption; and we hear the shocking words of hope intoned by the deacon, “Christ, our light!”

In a special way, we have joined Christ in these forty days (or rejoined him if we slipped back for a little wasted time in the world) led by the Holy Spirit. After all, St. Paul reminds that we cannot even declare that Jesus is Lord without the Holy Spirit. (1 Cor 12:3b) Inspired by the Spirit, we made our own sacrifices during this sacred season. Like millions of other Catholics, we made our Lenten confession, receiving the peace of the Spirit, and the transforming power of the Spirit to keep our resolutions for the future.

As Lent leads into the wonder of Easter, we naturally ask, “Where will the Spirit drive me next?” Maybe there is a vast, life-changing answer. Maybe the Spirit’s direction, as quiet as the dewfall, wants me to marry a special person or change my job or enter a religious vocation. During most Lents, however, the breath of the Spirit just whispers how we can be better parents or better students or better employees. Always the Spirit prompts us to develop our friendship with Christ who loved us enough to die for us.

The Holy Spirit has big plans for each of us, plans based on the hardships and glories of the “wisdom of the cross.” Every year, Lent renews our invitation, our scholarship to that university in the desert.

Fr. Krastel professed vows as a Redemptorist in 1959 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1964. He is an associate pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Annapolis, MD.


Previous reflections:
40 Days with Christ in the desert
The dewfall of the Spirit
Peace be with you
The Spirit of daily Mass
Healing hearts and division
The Wisdom of the Cross