Catholic Disneyland

Refreshed and rejuvenated: this is not a typical feeling for me on a Monday morning. Nevertheless, this was my experience after returning the night before from my annual Regnum Christi women’s Triduum at St. Lawrence Friary in Beacon, New York.

For me, three days away on retreat is like being at Catholic Disneyland. All my favorite activities are available under one roof: mass, rosary, confession, spiritual direction, nocturnal adoration, and personal prayer— all alongside my Regnum Christi sisters while the hours are punctuated with well-prepared conferences and meditations. This is a foretaste of Heaven for me.

The overarching theme for the weekend was “Being Apostles to a Wounded World.” This topic was perfectly suited for the RC audience, who clearly recognizes the world’s confusion and dearly desires to bring the light of Christ into this darkness.

Father Eric Nielsen, L.C., was the chaplain, and he did a tremendous job weaving the twin pillars of contemplation and evangelization into each of his talks. Father had also encouraged us to come prepared with our existing Program of Life to update it with the aid of the Holy Spirit. I knew this assignment would be a challenge as I generally don’t like checklists that focus on the negative. However, since my life motto has always been, “Thy will be done,” I was hoping I would get some new insight into how to ascertain God’s will, especially when faced with a multitude of good choices.

The third night of Triduum brought the answer to this Program of Life dilemma. Right before turning off the light to retire (at an hour so early I thought I was ten!), I decided to play a quick round of Bible Roulette and see if the Lord had anything to say to me. Opening the Bible, my eyes immediately landed on 1 Corinthians 16:13:

Be watchful, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong. Let all you do be done in love.”

Eureka! I finally understood. God gave me the answer to the dilemma that the Program of Life framework always presented. Now, instead of trying to find some deeply hidden root sin, I realized that I could flip the premise and measure everything against the root of love. By changing my mission statement to “Let all you do be done in love,” I could conduct my nightly Examen to consider my day through the lens of love and not the lens of sin.

Being super excited about this insight, I quickly realized that I was only 1600 years behind St. Augustine (354-430), who famously said in his sermon on love, “Love [God] and do what you will.” So better late than never; at least I am refreshed and rejuvenated. Now it’s time to start dinner, and rest assured, I will start it with love.

Hope Hirshorn is the RC Director for the NY Tri-State.  Hope has a M.A., M.Phil. and Ph.D. in Systematic Theology from Fordham, a M.P.A. and A.P.C in finance from NYU, and a certificate in Marian studies from her time in London.  She and her husband reside in West Harrison, NY, and are the proud parents of six children.

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