The need for regular retreats

HINTS AND TRACES - Fr. Roy Cimagala (The Freeman) - January 16, 2021 - 12:00am

From time to time, we should withdraw from our usual activities and concerns, and go into what is called a spiritual retreat where we try to get a closer if also global picture of the current state of our life.

We need to see if things are going well, if we are still in the right direction, if we still have a clear vision of the over-all purpose of our life. We can’t deny that there are new developments in the world that give us new challenges, trials, and other possibilities, and we just have to be ready to handle them properly.

We also need to see how things can be improved or even radically changed, since definitely there will always be things in our life at any given moment that need to be given such attention. In the end, we have to realize that a retreat is a great occasion to have another conversion. We have to see that. We have to feel urged by that. If we don’t feel that way, then let’s pray that we be given the relevant grace from God.

We have to understand that the growth and development of our spiritual life, of our relationship with God and with others which can only take place if we learn to love them more and more, will always be an ongoing affair in our whole life. It will always be a work in progress. We can never say that we have reached the point where there is no more room for improvement.

In the retreat, we should have a good review of the life of Christ, our redeemer, since he is our “way, the truth and the life.” We should have a review of the whole economy of salvation that God has laid out for us. It’s like journeying with God, with Christ in the Holy Spirit, because it’s only then that we can see and know what we ought to see and know.

And more than that, it’s only then that we can learn how to truly love, which is the be-all and end-all of our life, since it is the very essence of God in whose image and likeness we have been created.

The retreat is the time for us to see what virtues we still need to develop, or how we can make them grow and mature. It’s a time to make some kind of general examination of conscience and accounting, doing some kind of overhaul, checking on the different aspects of our life, and of making some global planning and strategizing.

The retreat is actually an exercise of looking back and looking forward. We also need to identify the new challenges we have to tackle. As said earlier, the world is into some rapid pace of development. We cannot afford to be unmindful of the things we still have to learn or to readjust, etc.

It’s important that we have the proper dispositions when undertaking a retreat. Our faith and piety have to be reignited or turned to full blast. It would be a pity if we go through it with a tepid spirit.

What is also most helpful is to practice a deep spirit of recollection, maintaining the appropriate silence so we can see, hear, and discern what the Holy Spirit is prompting us. It’s in a retreat when we are supposed to be most intimate with the Holy Spirit.


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