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- A Step Beyond the Surface of Life
The hectic pace of life for many of us means existing on the surface of life. The demands we experience keep us occupied with the details of the urgent, without allowing us to truly experience living. Our spiritual lives are eclipsed by this manner of existence. A retreat is an invitation to step beyond the surface of life--to take a break from the incessant demands made on our time and energy to rediscover and refresh our spirits. It is beyond the surface where we truly begin to experience the wonder and beauty of living. A retreat is not an attempt to escape the "real world," but an effort to more fully enter into the experience of living. In the retreat experience, we step back in order to step forward in an awakened state.
- A Gift of Time and Space
A retreat is a gift of time and space to allow rest, reflection, prayer, and renewal. It is to grant ourselves permission to allocate time for ourselves and for our needs in a restful place. Jesus invites us to "Come and see." We each have a need to respond to this invitation. Our acceptance of it and our journey onto holy ground awakens in us an awareness of the presence and activity of God in every aspect of life. Allocating sacred space and time entices us to enter into prayer--into communion with God. We are able to listen deeply, learning about our relationships with ourselves, our God, and others.
- What is it You Desire?
The story of the blind man of Jericho may illustrate the faith experience of a retreat. Bartimaeus recognizes his blindness and attempts to present his condition to the Lord. Others discourage him, scold him, tell him to keep quiet. But he yells out all the louder, "Jesus, have pity on me." When Jesus asks what he desires, Bartimaeus responds, "Master, let me see again." In a retreat, we seek an encounter with the Lord, whereby we may be posed the same question, "What is it YOU desire?" Our prayerful consideration of this question may lead to vision and insights that help us to "have life and have it to the full." (Jn10:10b)