All close, meaningful relationships need special or quality times when the people involved can be together for an extended period without a lot of interruptions.
People in significant relationships need to enjoy each other’s company and to deepen their knowledge of one another apart from everyday life.
This is how I look at retreats. I like to think of a them as a special vacation with God.
Just as vacations hopefully renew our bodies, retreats should renew our spirits. To be a serious Christian we need some God-and-me time. We need uninterrupted enriching of our spiritual lives and a deepening of our relationship with the Lord.
Right now you may be thinking that you don’t even have enough time to do what is required of you, let alone go away for a retreat. Maybe you are so busy you do not even have a moment pray regularly, much less have a retreat. I say, that is all the more reason to make a special effort to do it.
There are many types of retreats — they can be a day, a weekend, a week or longer. Even a few hours in a quiet place can do wonders for one’s spirit. Some have talks and time for prayer or sharing. Others are comprised mostly of prayer and quiet reflection.
Weekend experiences like Cursillo, Christ Renews His Parish, Antioch, Teens Encounter Christ, and a multitude of others are available in most dioceses.
Let’s face it: Most of us claim to be busy, but we can usually make time for the priorities in our lives. If any of us won a great cruise to the Bahamas, I would wager that we would find a way to take advantage of it.
I know that getting away can be a hardship for those with young children, especially for single parents. One way to solve this problem is to set up a babysitting exchange with a friend or relative. You probably can think of other creative ideas to escape for a little while.
Some people say they cannot possibly take time off from work. Oh, to be so indispensable! What would happen if, God forbid, you got sick and were not able to function for a while? If it is important enough, you can use some of your vacation hours.
No matter what our circumstances, we all need to schedule spiritual enrichment into our lives. We need to take the opportunity to get to know God better.
I know a man who said that for years a good friend of his kept asking him to make a Cursillo weekend and he always had an excuse for why he could not.
Finally, the thing that changed his mind was when his friend said, “What are you going to say to Jesus when he asks you why you were not willing to spend three days with him?”
Hopefully, you will make the effort to schedule a vacation with God. It may not be easy to get away, but I think it will be worth your effort.
Who knows, you might like it so much that you decide to schedule one at least once every year or so. If you don’t have the money to go to a retreat house, perhaps you can build a few hours of pray when the rest of the family is out of the house. You might have to be creative.
Sister Margie Lavonis is a Sister of the Holy Cross from Notre Dame, Ind. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.