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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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Wednesday

The Spirit of Lent: The Spirit of daily Mass

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

During Lent, many Catholics absorb the mood of the season by attending weekday Mass. Getting up early to attend Mass before work; using lunch breaks; or stopping into their parish church for an evening Lenten Mass, people combine Lenten sacrifice with the schedules of nearby churches.

Assisting at Lenten weekday Masses enables people to bring the Holy Spirit into their lives in two powerful and mysterious ways. First, people open their hearts to the Holy Spirit by absorbing the readings — readings inspired by the Spirit and chosen by the Church for Lenten Masses. Second, people experience a vivid union with the Spirit who packs them into the worldwide and eternal worship that is the Eucharist. No longer am I alone in my pew. Through the Spirit, I am singing and praying with Christians at Masses all over the world and joining the angels and saints in their worship of the Lamb.

People easily slump into ho-hum experiences of the Mass. Dreary hymns, tedious sermons, crying babies and second collections remove lots of enthusiasm for the liturgy. In a special way, attending Mass not only on Sundays, but on Lenten weekdays, can restore the simple majesty of this worship. The Spirit seems to get a better reaction when there are no collections. And ordinary Catholics seem to derive great spiritual benefit from participation in weekday Masses.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us: “The Holy Spirit first recalls the meaning of the salvation event to the liturgical assembly by giving life to the Word of God.” (No. 1100) The Church has chosen readings for Lent that help us to understand the great themes of this holy season. As we listen to the readings, the Spirit gives life to the Biblical texts, offering each person insights, suggestions and new understandings of his or her relationship with God and the Church. Passages that we have often daydreamed through take on new vitality as we open our ears and hearts to the Spirit.

Then, as time slips by, we pray: “May the same Holy Spirit graciously sanctify these offerings that they may become the Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ for the celebration of this great mystery which he himself left us as an eternal covenant.” (Fourth Eucharistic Prayer) The Holy Spirit, who came to Mary to begin the human life of Jesus, quietly comes on the altar of our church to change water and wine into His Body and Blood. Our Lenten hope is that we don’t need a bell to remind us what a sacred mystery we share in as we join Christ in his once-for-all sacrifice.

Often, weekday Masses last only a half-hour. But they redirect our whole day as the Spirit quietly works his wonders in the Church and in our hearts.

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