Most of us would like to hit the pause button in life and take a deeper breath. Vacation is not really what we are after. Vacations are great but they are often as busy if not busier than our regular life. Our souls may be crying out for a vacation from the noise and the distraction and the pace. We need a soul vacation. We are uneasy and may sense the need to immerse ourselves in extended worship services, silence, solitude, prayer, confession and spiritual direction.
“Sneaking away” to a monastery can be the pause button we have been seeking. We drive out to a monastery and we step away from our modern lives and enter into the ancient custom of pilgrims. A retreat gives us time to live more fully the rhythm of liturgical prayer and personal reflection. Spending a day or two away can reawaken the contemplative heart within us that wants to hear the Lord. Without duties, deadlines, relationships, laptops, cell phones, customers, etc. we can take a deep breath. Before we head home we can foster the renewal and bring it home.
Reasons to make a retreat:
- Dedicated time to focus on Christ in a community and in solitude
- Quiet to read and reflect on my relationship with God
- Quiet to reflect on my life and how I am living it
- Time to try and listen to God more attentively
- Time to get away from the inner and outer noise and speed of life back home
- Extended time in worship
- Opportunities to repent and make a confession and receive spiritual direction
- Unplug from the regular routine of life
- Relax, celebrate and eat good food
- Kill time-killing activities