Ordinary vs. Kairos Moments

Can you believe it’s already August? 2019 seems to be flying by and before you know it, it will be Christmas! Sometimes I feel like George Jetson, “Jane, get me off this crazy thing!!!”

The saints were very aware of the shortness of life and how quickly it passes by. As we get older, time seems to pass even more quickly. That is why striving to live in the present moment is so important. It allows us to focus on the opportunity at hand. Whether it is a time of work or play, a time with friends or co-workers, taking advantage of the present moment is a key to living the fullness of the gift of our lives.

Mixed into the ordinary daily events of life are Kairos moments. These are the instances of great opportunity, when God’s grace and chronological time intersect. Often, the hustle and bustle of our modern culture, obscures our ability to recognize them. If we don’t take time to examine our lives, we can completely miss them. As the Greek philosopher Socrates stated, “The life that is unexamined is not worth living.” But, how do we recollect and ponder?

Our Lady provides us the way through her own example. St Luke tells us that she spent daily moments of recollection by pondering the events of her day, especially those regarding her Son, in the confines of her heart. This is a most fruitful practice. It is the perfect opportunity to hear with the ears of our heart and to see with the eyes of our soul. Following is an abbreviated version of the five-step Daily Examen that St. Ignatius practiced. It is one good method to use:

1. Become aware of God’s presence.
2. Review the day with gratitude.
3. Pay attention to your emotions.
4. Choose one feature of the day and pray from it.
5. Look toward tomorrow.
(https://www.ignatianspirituality.com/ignatian-prayer/the-examen/)

If you don’t already do something like this, I highly recommend you try incorporating it into your nightly routine. Give it a whirl and see what an impact it can have in your life.
And, may I share with you my gratitude for the impact you are having in the lives of others? Your support to our mission enables us to share with God’s daughters the gift of their feminine genius, as well as to help them recognize the Kairos moments in their lives. As a result, they are empowered to bring God’s love and healing into their marriages, families, homes, parishes, schools and communities – Kairos moments in action, you might say.

And, speaking of Kairos moments in action, we often witness this very reality at our Women of Grace events. Here are just a couple of such moments from this summer’s Women of Grace events. They include the installation ceremony of our newest Regional Coordinator, Alicia McDermott, and the presentation of completion certificates to Benedicta Institute graduates, Deanna Williston and Lauren Ghasten.

Given the challenges of this our day and time and considering the recent carnage we have experienced, the light of God’s love and His presence in the life of man is more critical than ever. The genius of authentic femininity can do much to aid humanity in not falling. Please continue to make a difference in the world today through the work of Women of Grace. We are truly grateful for your partnership!

Keep recollecting! Keep pondering. Keep praying!

May the abundant life of Jesus Christ be yours and may God bless you

With gratitude and blessings,

 

Founder and President

Woman of Grace: St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross

 

St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein, 1891 – 1942)

She was a brilliant scholar, a contemplative mystic, and a “liberated” feminist. At various times she was also a devout Jew, an atheist, a philosopher, a Catholic, and a Carmelite nun. Hers was a heart that hungered for truth, with a passion that burned with such purity and clarity that Pope John Paul II, whose own Mulieris Dignitatem and “Letter to Women” bear the unmistakable imprint of her spirit, canonized her less than fifty years after her death at Auschwitz. Read the rest…

Notre Dame

Jack and I landed in Paris in the early morning today from Lourdes and drove into the city with our tour through 206 Tours. We visited Sacre Coeur and it was a graced experience. This Friday, Good Friday, we were to have visited the Cathedral of Notre Dame.

I have never been to Notre Dame and like fellow Catholics from all over the world, I could not wait to experience her glory. Our visit will be tragically different now, like so many others who came here to see this magnificent witness to our Catholic Faith. But I know it will be no less poignant. To experience Notre Dame on Good Friday — battered and bruised as she is — will easily remind us of the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Our Savior, and the salvation He offers to each of us if we choose to accept Him.

Just as the Crown of Thorns was spared from the inferno, so too does the passion, death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ spare us from the furnace of flames known as Hell.

In the end, Notre Dame is just a structure, albeit a stunning structure and sign in our fractured and broken world. And most likely she will be rebuilt. But, she is limited and can only reside in one city and in one country.

However, Our Lord’s promise of eternal life, breathed from the altar of Notre Dame for hundreds of years, is omnipresent, and can live in each one of us. And though the sorrowful reality of this loss cuts deeply, the miracle of Easter is alive in this earthly devastation, reminding us that all is made new in the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Easter Sunday message , as well as the message of Notre Dame’s horrible fire, is this: “Look forward and have hope! ”

St. John Paul II — “Christmas is the Feast Day of Man”

When I came back to the Faith in 1981, one Scripture passage became the rudder of my spiritual life. It is Ephesians 1: 3-4. Through the years, this passage has spoken to me in many ways and has sustained me through many trials.

Verse 4 , however, is particularly relevant for this time of the year, and was echoed by St. John Paul II in a Christmas reflection. It states this, “God chose us in him before the world began to be holy and blameless in his sight, to be full of love.” Those first five words tell us something about ourselves that is amazing and astounding — each one of us was distinctively and individually chosen by God to have life. Read the rest…

The Life of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

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Born Elizabeth Ann Bayley in New York City, Mother Seton is a saint of firsts: first American-born saint, leader of the first Catholic girls’ school (and the first free Catholic school of any kind) in the United States, and foundress of the first American order of religious sisters — the Sisters of Charity.

Elizabeth was born into a prominent Anglican family and was married in the Anglican Church.  With her sister-in-law, Rebecca, she tended to the poor around New York, earning a reputation for her compassion and mercy.  In 1803, she traveled to Italy with her ailing husband in the hope that the climate would aid his recovery.

William Seton died in Italy later that year, but in her grief Elizabeth discovered a new love: the Catholic Church.  She scandalized her Protestant family and friends by being received into the Church in New York City on Ash Wednesday, 1805.

Finding NSt. Elizabeth ann Seton2ew York no longer hospitable to her Catholic zeal, Elizabeth suffered through some trying years before finding a haven in Baltimore.  I twas there that she channeled her passion for service into girls’ education.  She also pursued her dream of religious life, fashioning a rudimentary habit in the style of nuns she had seen in Italy.  Other women were drawn to her, and in 1809 the Sisters of Charity was born, based on the example of St. Vincent de Paul.

Mother Seton died in 1821 in Emmitsburgh, Maryland, where her school still sands.  In her refusal to let the social pressures of her station restrain her witness to the Catholic Faith — in word and deed — she is a wonderful example for us in a secularizing world.

This is an excerpt from Graceful Living. To purchase your copy, click here.

Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God

What wisdom Holy Mother Church has in dedicating the first day of the year to Mary, Mother of God!

Mary is the Mother of God and she is our mother, too. Her fiat is the genesis of every fiat given to God. And every fiat given to God is enriched by hers. The fathers of the Second Vatican Council state it simply, succinctly, and profoundly: she is our Mother in the order of grace.

This poem, written by Giovanni Domini (1356-142), expresses the maternal beatitude we find so dear. May it elevate our hearts in gratitude to God for the gift of the Blessed Virgin. And may it elevate our hearts to the reality of our salvation which comes through the gift of her Son, Jesus Christ Savior of the World. Read the rest…

Manchester and the Rosary: A Call to Arms

“In Ramah is heard the sound of moaning, of bitter weeping!
Rachel mourns her children,
she refuses to be consoled
because her children are no more.” — Jer. 31:15 

In my bifurcated mind in that most horrific moment, I wondered who was slaughtering an animal in our back yard until I realized the piercing cries were coming from myself – a mother’s intense grief in learning that her only son had been killed in a vehicular accident shortly after his return from Iraq. It was then the Scripture passage quoted above entered into my left-brain to inform my right – “This is what it means in Scripture when its says Rachel wails for her children who are no more.” I am Rachel.

Manchester_Evening_News_Arena_-_geograph.org.uk_-_1931437Today, all of Manchester, as well as the greater part of the civilized world, mourns the loss of the young girls and teens who were brutally injured and savagely murdered by the attack of a suicide bomber who, I feel certain, was aimed at taking out those who would bring the next generation to life.  Read the rest…

Star Wars or Heaven’s Plan?

Star Wars or Heaven's Plan-update

Today is National Star Wars Day and many of the film’s fans will be offering the movie’s famous greeting ,“May the force be with you,” or its pun for the day, “May the fourth be with you.” Judging by world conditions and the strife that abounds both at home and abroad, we could use some force and power to bring relief, order, and justice to our beleaguered globe. Read the rest…

Our Pilgrim Journey

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Through the grace of God, we recently completed our first Women of Grace® Pilgrimage and I must tell you it was a beautiful and blessed time in the Lord! As a matter of fact, we have made the pilgrimage available to you through my Facebook page. So if you are a “friend” on my personal page, I invite you to go on it and watch the videos. If you scroll all the way down to the first video, either from March 6th or 7th,  you can watch all the videos in succession and through our final day on March 13 in Lourdes, France. Read the rest…

Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Mother Angelica

 

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This week we join the entire EWTN Family in remembering and celebrating the most extraordinary life of Mother Mary Angelica of the Annunciation on this, the one year anniverary of her death.
EWTN will have a special week of programming honoring Mother Angelica’s life, remembering her legacy, and praying for the eternal repose of her soul.
For your convenience, we offer you these helpful links so that you may fully participate in all of these events:
Mother Angelica’s Memorial Website:
EWTN Family Celebration in tribute to EWTN Foundress, Mother Mary Angelica:
Schedule of Event Programming:
EWTN Channel Finder:
EWTN Youtube Channel:
Rest in peace dear Mother Angelica, good and faithful servant and bride of Christ.
Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord.  And let the perpetual light shine upon her.
And may the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.In His Service,
Johnnette's Signature
Johnnette S. Benkovic