Monday, January 18, 2010

Nothing is Mandatory

This weekend was possibly one of the most relaxing and renewing retreats I have been on for myself in a very long time.

Flew into Pittsburgh on Friday afternoon. Got picked up from the airport, checked into the hotel, ate dinner.

The retreat started Friday night at 6:30 with adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and confession. Aw b-e-a-utiful! Second best to Jesus' presence and the sacraments was the "nothing is mandatory, feel free to opt out of anything" intro to the weekend. Lovely. Just lovely.

After adoration/confession I went with friends to see Leap Year. Great chick flick! And I will never ever again complain about inflated movie ticket prices. Never. Admission to the theatre in Steubenville was $9 and a quarter. After Cold Stone Ice cream to bed I went.

Saturday morning brought sleeping in to 9 (which meant I completely skipped morning session) and making it to the first workshop "Marriage and Ministry." Very helpful. The speaker talked about the need for woman to be loved and the primary need of man to be respected. When a woman doesn't feel love she reacts without respect, without respect men react without love. And so begins a vicious cycle. That workshop ended with me making two new friends and following them around the rest of the afternoon. Post lunchtime brought 2 more workshops, shopping in the bookstore for souveniours for the fam, and time for quiet pray and reflection at the Port (normally Franciscan University's perpetual adoration chapel, however at the beginning of the semester they wait until all the spots are filled to begin exposition of the Blessed Sacrament round the clock). Saturday night included a FOP (Festival of Praise) which is full of praise and worship singing, scripture reflection, and prayer.
The night ended with a fun social full of desserts and punch and prayer ministry. A group of probably 20 or so of the 97 met to lay hands on each other and pray over them. It was powerful and overwhelming!

Sunday flew by with Mass and a quick lunch at the Olive Garden to end the fun journey. It was so great to see the expression on my little ones' faces when I came in the door late last night. I missed them. I learned so much but can't remember a darn thing to post here other than that I came back with a renewed spirit and so much more joy than when I left. And this quote from the workshop on Holiness:
"At the end of our life, we shall all be judged by love." -- St. John of the Cross
Nothing but love is mandatory.

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