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Pointing at the bulletin letter's date (link) at left will display it's title.
July 30, 2006
Retreat Anyone?

    Every once in a while you hear people say, “God never answers me when I pray.  I don’t know what’s wrong.  Maybe God doesn’t care about my problems,” etc.  Or people wonder why they don’t hear God speaking to them. “ He seems so distant” they say.

    On the other end of the spectrum we experience something like the following.  When a priest of a religious or a person in lay ministry will announce that they are going on retreat, someone will say, “Have a good retreat and pray for me.”  If that same person is invited to join them in going on retreat, the answer is something like the following; “ Oh, no, not me, I’m not holy enough to go on retreat.  That’s good for you, not for me.”  

    What does that response mean, exactly?  Does it mean, I’m too much of a sinner to go on retreat?  Does is mean, Only holy people go on retreat, (whatever holy means.)  Does it mean, retreats are only meant for priests and nuns and people who work for the church?  Or, could it mean, I don’t have time for such luxury?  

    The truth of the matter is, retreats are not only for priests, nuns and people who work for the church.  Everyone who is serious about their faith and their relationship with God should consider at least some type of retreat once in a while.  A married couple would never say to another married couple, “What, you spend time alone?  Wow! You’re lucky.  I thought only engaged couples did that.”  If we live in reality we know that spending time with someone we love is not simply a luxury, it is a necessity for the relationship to continue living and growing.  The same is true with our relationship with God.

    That being said, it is true that retreats of 5 -8 days long are a bit of a luxury for people who have family obligations.  However, the fact that priests, nuns and lay ministers have the time built into their schedule for retreats is not because they are holy but rather because they need to ensure that their relationship with God is alive and growing.  The work of the Church relies of the good health of their relationship with God.  This is true for all Christians however.  If we are parents and our relationship with God is on the rocks, what do we suppose will happen with the children or our spouse, not to mention ourselves?

    What then, is a person to do?  How can we find some sort of balance in our lives?  Well, the word retreat does not have an inbuilt time span.  We can retreat on a daily basis if we want to.  We can set aside a time of ten, fifteen or even thirty minutes daily, preferably before the children get up, or perhaps on our lunch break.  We can simply go to a quiet place and allow ourselves to quiet down.  If at work, our car would do (without the blare of the radio.)  If you work near a quiet walking path, take a walk alone and simply quiet yourself from the hussle and bustle of the day.  It’s amazing how it works and helps.  It could even help the nervous system and the body tension.  In the quiet of that short time, you can speak your thoughts to the God that loves you and if you are quiet, you will hear this loving God respond with love and tenderness.  This type of relationship with God makes a world of difference in your life.  So, retreat anyone?

                            Lorette P. Nault