Why Make a Retreat?

We sisters are extremely blessed to make an annual retreat of six full days. Counting arrival and departure days, that’s eight days. What do we do with all that time? Well, that’s partly up to the sister but mostly up to God—at least if we let God give us the direction, the companioning director, and the Bible or another spiritual book. (The word “director” is a misnomer, for the director is primarily a listener or a companion, someone who affirms or clarifies, for ultimately God is the director.)

A typical retreat day may seem to be either a waste of time or a gift of time when explained to someone who has never made a retreat. Our day is designedly simple and uncomplicated. We retreatants eat, sleep, pray, meet with the director or have a conference with other retreatants and the group’s director. Good weather may permit walking, swimming, biking, or gardening. As the body relaxes, so does the mind—usually. No worries. No job or ministry. No cooking and cleaning. No have-to’s.

With all this privileged leisure, to which the body is grateful and rejuvenated, what about the soul? Well, anything can happen, most of which we may not realize. But I like to go away with one big idea that can blow me away in my ministry, prayer, community life. This year I was attracted to Teilhard de Chardin’s evolutionary thought of attraction-connection-complexity-consciousness. All converges in Christ through his Incarnation. All things are now one.

O-n-e. A three-letter word to describe my big retreat idea. A three-letter word to describe reality. Oneness—to describe God and God’s Plan.

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