By Susan Ciancio

Today is Ash Wednesday—the beginning of our Lenten journey. More than once over the past few days you have probably heard: What are you giving up for Lent? Maybe you have even asked yourself that. At my house, popular things to give up include sweets and video games. But as my kids have grown, I’ve encouraged them to not only sacrifice but to do something to help them grow spiritually.

Making sacrifices is, indeed, vital for our spiritual growth if we give up something we will miss and then replace that with something that will help us grow closer to God. So, for instance, if we give up 30 minutes of TV and use that time to pray. Or if we give up chocolate and instead of replacing the snack with chips or something else, acknowledge that sacrifice and say a prayer for those who are less fortunate.

So while giving something up can be a good thing, we will get more out of Lent—and beyond—if we also take action and do something that will help us grow closer to Christ, and if we then implement these practice even after Lent ends.

What does this look like? Maybe it’s increasing our prayer life. Maybe it’s spending more time in Adoration. Maybe it’s doing one kind thing for someone else each day. Maybe it’s learning something about Church history. Maybe it’s befriending a new saint or two. Or maybe it’s teaching our children about our faith.

These are the things that strengthen our relationship with God. These are the things that help us grow in wisdom and understanding. These are the things that help teach us moral courage.

Wouldn’t it be great if one little book could guide you on your journey and help you do all of these things?

We think so too! That’s why the Culture of Life Studies Program has created a downloadable daily devotional that includes all this and more. Within its pages, you will meet saints, listen to biblical wisdom, reflect on God’s words, and enrich your spiritual life through various activities.

This Lent, we focused on the gifts of the Holy Spirit. When we are confirmed, the Holy Spirit bestows the gifts of wisdom, understanding, knowledge, counsel, fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord upon us. Each of these gifts is vital to our spiritual growth.

With this daily devotional, you can use the gifts of the Holy Spirit to spend Lent getting closer to God. 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.

So, now that Lent is here, we want to give you five reasons to download our book and begin today.

1. Hearing the word of God will bring you closer to Him.

Each day’s entry begins with a Bible verse that discusses one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

2. You can dive deeper into understanding this Bible verse.

We offer a brief reflection of this verse and help you see how to apply it to your life. 

3. You’ll make friends with saints.

Each day includes a short biography of the saint of the day and an explanation of how that saint used the gifts of the Holy Spirit to build a culture of life in his/her life. You will read about saints you have never heard of, and you will grow closer to the ones you already know.

4. Your new saint friends will help you.

We offer suggestions for how you can use this saint’s example to build a culture of life in your own home or community and how you can model your life after this person.

5. You can do something fun.

Each day’s entry 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. All are fun, and most take only five to 10 minutes.

God’s greatest gift to us was Christ’s death and resurrection. 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 wait with breathless anticipation for the day we see the empty tomb and can rejoice, shouting, “He’s alive!”

To download this 49-page reflection book, visit

Picture courtesy of catholicpicture.