In gratitude

As I write this, we are just coming to the close of the Octave of the Christmas season. We are still basking in the gift of Jesus Christ, Our Lord, who came to us again in a humble manger to enter our hearts anew.

With hearts full of praise and thanksgiving, we seek to acknowledge the great gift of our salvation; and yet, because God cannot be outdone in generosity, our gratitude itself becomes a conduit through which He dispenses an abundance of ongoing grace.

Expressing this very reality, St. Therese of Lisieux said:

It is the spirit of gratitude which draws down upon us the overflow of God’s grace…for no sooner have we thanked Him for one blessing than He hastens to send us ten additional favors in return. Then, when we show our gratitude for these new gifts, He multiplies His benedictions to such a degree that there seems to be a constant stream of divine grace ever coming our way…This has been my own personal experience; try it for yourself and see.

How was it that St. Therese could be grateful to God for all things – even the most painful and difficult? Perhaps it came from a sure and certain knowledge that God is about every good thing in our lives (Eph. 1:3), and that He is always giving us spiritual blessings because it is of His nature to do so. He is perfect love, and perfect love gives all. Therefore, we can be certain that every bit of every day is infused with precisely the graces we need to meet every joy and every challenge.

This knowledge led St. Therese, as it has all of the great saints, to acquire a supernatural outlook, a way of seeing all things from God’s perspective. Supernatural outlook helps us discover the blessings in the midst of sorrows, the joys in the midst of contradictions, the consolations in the midst of desolations. And in so doing, we discover the rich treasure that God indeed “works all things to the good for those who have been called according to His purposes” (Rom. 8:28). With the scales removed from our eyes, we can see the blessings and beatitudes God is giving us, and this leads to an ever-deepening realization of His beneficence — grace upon grace tumbling down upon us wrapped in the packaging of our life’s events.

Gratitude, praise, thanksgiving open the heart to the reality of God’s love for us and His interaction with us. As we enter this New Year and decade, let us take St. Therese’s advice to “try it” for ourselves that we might “see.” Let us ask her to intercede for us, that we might act with faith and trust and supernatural outlook. Let us ask her to help us see the blessings God is bestowing, even when they are shrouded in the garment of suffering. Let us ask her to help us praise God for these blessings so that our eyes can open to all of the grace He is giving us. In this way, we will enter that “constant stream of divine grace ever coming our way” and experience a greater depth of the abundant life that Our Savior comes to bring us (John 10:10).

Please pray for our mission as we enter this New Year together. I look forward to keeping you updated on our projects and plans as the year unfolds. May the abundant life of Jesus Christ be yours and may God bless you!

With gratitude and love in the Two Hearts,

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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…

Let’s Celebrate the Catholic Family!

On October 13, 2018, the Diocese of Ogdensburg and Women of Grace© will host a day of encouragement and celebration for Catholic families. Open to men, women, and teens, “The Catholic Family: God’s Answer for Our Time,” will take place from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. in St. Mary’s Cathedral in Ogdensburg.

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Amazing Grace

Johnnette addresses Women of Grace Retreat participants

by Anne Gerard

My first‑ever experience attending the Women of Grace Retreat at The Malvern Retreat House was, in a word — AMAZING! The grounds of the center are tranquil and inviting, lending itself beautifully to assist the attendees in having an enriching and fulfilling experience. Read the rest…

Pray As They Say “I Do”: Jack and Johnnette’s Wedding

The wedding of Johnnette Benkovic and Jack Williams will soon be here! Praise be to God! If you would like to share in their great joy, below are some of the ways you can do so:
As a member of our Women of Grace® family
 
THE GIFT OF YOUR PRAYERS
 
 ARE REQUESTED FOR 
 
FOR 
 
Johnnette Simon Benkovic
 
and 
 
Jack Leonard Williams
 
WHO WILL BE JOINED IN
 
THE SACRAMENT OF HOLY MATRIMONY
AT THE NUPTIAL MASS 
BEING HELD ON FRIDAY, MAY 25th, 2018

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Star Wars or Heaven’s Plan?

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…

Celebrate Women’s History Month With St. Gianna Beretta Molla

st.gianna.mollaIt was a tremendous blessing for me to have had the opportunity to meet Dr. Gianna Emmanuela Molla, the daughter of St Gianna Beretta Molla at the 2015 World Meeting of Families. She was there representing the St. Gianna Physician’s Guild, whose mission is to unite and encourage Catholic physicians, and those in the health care profession, to promote and defend Catholic principles in a public way by word and example, and to inspire sanctification in their lives.  Her inner beauty and humility radiates through her as she carries on the  legacy of her mother, who was herself a Catholic physician. Read the rest…

Celebrate Women’s History Month with Dorothy Day

DOROTHY.DAY

During a recent speech to Congress, Pope Francis highlighted Dorothy Day, saying, “In these times when social concerns are so important, I cannot fail to mention the Servant of God Dorothy Day, who founded the Catholic Worker Movement,” He continued, “Her social activism, her passion for justice and for the cause of the oppressed, were inspired by the Gospel, her faith, and the example of the saints.” Read the rest…