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.
One thing is certain, our pilgrims shared a unique and unforgettable experience together and I already miss our little family. It is my continued prayer that the graces and blessings of our time together will continue to flow out upon each of us and all of our loved ones that we carried with us. Of course, I carried all of you in my own heart!
I received a word on the way home and it was: Trials are proportionate to the grace received. Isn't that a beautiful thought to ponder? The more grace you receive, the more trials you can expect! I started to reflect upon that word on the plane home, and also the passage in 1 Corinthians 10:13 that God will not tempt you beyond your strength.
And isn't it true, that the trial is proportionate to the graces received in light of Christ's sacrificial act on Calvary's hill? It brought me back to a major consideration, something that St. Paul talks about with regard to the cross. Nothing good comes but by the way of the cross. The greatest suffering, the greatest trial, the greatest travail that has ever been experienced was experienced by Our Lord, Jesus Christ. We look at him hanging upon that cross and there we see the maximum degree that a human can suffer.
But look at the grace! Look at the grace that flows through that redemptive act. Look at salvation pouring into the world through his open wounds. The greatest trial led to the greatest grace. And when we, through our testing in this life are united to the cross of Christ, the ultimate gift, it is then when our trials become gift. They become filled with the life of God. They are tied into union with that one act that bought us our salvation and great good can be done.
I invite you to ponder this word with me, our trials are proportionate to the grace received. When great grace is meant to be received, great trial is going to come. When something is going to reap tremendous benefit for others, great trial is going to come. When we commit ourselves to the way of the Lord, great trial is going to come. But in all of this, as St. Paul tells us, we are more than conquerors through Christ Jesus.
I promised you that I was going to take you and your intentions with me on this pilgrimage and I did! I did from the time we left until we finished things up with the rosary procession that final night in Lourdes. You were with me. As a matter of fact, we had the opportunity to go into the baths in Lourdes and prior to the curtains parting and me walking through, I stood there and prayed a prayer for you.
So look for those graces with expectant faith!
For more on our pilgrimage adventures, I offer the following resources:
Johnnette Benkovic is founder and president of Living His Life Abundantly® International, Inc. a Catholic evangelization apostolate. She is also founder of "Women of Grace®," a Catholic apostolate for Christian women. The executive producer of EWTN television's “Women of Grace,” and EWTN radio’s “Women of Grace Live,” Johnnette is also author of several books including Full of Grace: Women and the Abundant Life, Grace-Filled Moments, and Living Life Abundantly, Experience Grace in Abundance, and Graceful Living. She is also the developer of the Women of Grace Foundational Study and the Young Women of Grace Study, both based on her book, Full of Grace.