This past weekend, my husband and I had the opportunity to attend the "Defending the Faith" conference at Franciscan University in Steubenville, OH. This was definitely a "wow" experience in our lives!
The hosts of the conference were Scott Hahn and Alan Schreck. Marcus Grodi (of "The Journey Home" on EWTN) was also there, and spoke briefly. These men had some hurdles to deal with: water main break, speakers who had delayed/cancelled flights, etc. etc. But the Holy Spirit brought it all together so beautifully.
Another highlight was the exuberant worship, and seeing people of all ages with their hands raised in worship. Of special note to me: seeing two nuns with their hands uplifted in praise. Wow again.
I'd like to just share just a few of the many, many amazing quotes, from our weekend. (Disclaimer: I sincerely apologize if I misquote anyone here. I took notes as fast as I could!)
Dr. Janet Smith:
"Sex outside marriage, contraception, etc. are means to using another person."
"For a woman to have sex is to say to the man, 'I give you permission to be the father of my baby.' "
"A baby is not a punishment for having sex. The child is a gift."
"Muslims are some of the most devoted and pious people. When they convert (to Christianity) their piety is a gift to the Church."
Dr. Ralph Martin:
"We need to make an every day commitment to be His voice."
"The Holy Spirit has shown us the Church is a communion of love, not just an organization."
Dr. Scott Hahn:
"The Eucharist is the heart and soul of the Gospel." (If you want to read more on this, see John 6.)
"The sacraments are not rituals we do for God. They are what God does for us."
"The Eucharist is the resurrected Lord. It is not a reward for our righteousness, but a remedy for our sinfulness."
"We must be as devoted as Satan is: a much as he is out to destroy, we should be out to save souls."
"We need to be a witness of motherhood. Contraception damages women physically and spiritually."
In answer to the question: Should anyone (any Christian) ever vote for a pro-abortion candidate?
"If they [the candidate] can't make a good decision on this, how can they make the right decision on other issues?".
"Not everyone who says nice things is your friend. Not everyone who says negative things is your enemy."
Dr. Alan Schreck:
"We cannot proclaim the lordship of Jesus until the Holy Spirit comes. We can't fulfill our mission without the Spirit."
"We need to keep praying, 'Come Holy Spirit' every day."
Archbishop Robert Carlson:
"It's time to stop conforming to our culture, and to begin transforming our culture."
"Unless our apologetics are rooted in prayer, they are our own cleverness--it may win arguments, but it won't win hearts."
"We are salt and light. Light doesn't shout--it shines."
"Lord, make me movie popcorn, so that others will thirst for You."
"The news isn't that we sin, but that God's grace is more than sufficient."
"Worries are like little traps that steal time and energy from us."
"Sin clutters our life. Clearing the Path helps us evangelize."
"Suffering can either make us self-centered, or it can clear the fog."
"We need to have a 'mission' mentality, not a 'maintaining' mentality. We were baptized into Christ, and so are baptized into His mission."
"If you desire a holy family, you will face spiritual warfare."
"We need to equip our children to do warfare."
"It is in His Fatherhood that we find peace."
Fr. Terence Henry, TOR:
Quoting Archbishop Chaput: "We are either missionaries for God or we are nothing at all."
"Sunday is our weekly Easter."
Quoting Archbishop Jenky: "The days we live in require heroic Catholicism, not casual Catholicism."
As you can see, this weekend was much more than a conference. It was a time of spiritual renewal.
I have so much more I want to post, but the lack of sleep from my weekend is catching up with me!