What is a spiritual retreat that is hosted at a Retreat Centre? A spiritual retreat at St Luke’s is a retreat with a program that is guided by a retreat director. Often these retreat directors are priests or religious but they can also be led by lay men and women. Spiritual retreats are about connecting with God, saying to the Lord “I am here. I am giving you my time. Because our relationship is important to me.” It is dedicated time away from the noise of the world to refresh your spiritual batteries, to learn more about your faith and about yourself. You might think that you already go to Mass and pray at home and maybe you are involved in various ministries at your church so why should you do something extra on top of that? Let me give you 5 reasons to consider. 

1. You don’t have the time for a retreat

If you feel that you don’t have time to go on retreat, that is great. Because that is exactly when you need a retreat the most. Our world is noisy, and our bodies and minds can go into a permanently stressed state. No off switch. You don’t know you are run down and need a break until you actually take a break. Taking a weekend to recalibrate and finding your spiritual North is a good start. 

2. You don’t know what is happening on a spiritual retreat and that might be scary

Have you ever heard the saying: Nothing grows in a comfort zone? Be adventurous. Let the Holy Spirit lead you. Another name for the Holy Spirit is the wild goose. We of course prefer the Holy Spirit to be tame, predictable. I have often said: “Lord, do with me as you will.” Only to find myself saying afterwards: “But not that, Lord!” But that is not how it works. We need to approach the Lord with an open heart. Willingness to listen and willingness to be changed. Just think of a retreat as giving God a blank cheque for the weekend and say like Samuel did:  “Speak Lord, for your servant is listening.” A spiritual retreat does have a well prepared program and at our Retreat Centre you will receive the program a few days before your retreat starts to give you some comfort about the happenings. 

3. You won't know anyone on retreat with you and that may feel uncomfortable

You don’t need to know anyone else on retreat and you can have as much interaction with others as you want or don’t want. You have your own room so you can physically retreat at any time when you don’t feel like socializing. The garden allows for quiet reflection time and nobody will be offended if you tell them that you need space for yourself. That is why you come on retreat. Meals are of course taken together and are a great opportunity to get to know someone new. You all have at least one thing in common: you want to spend time with the Lord. 

4. Spiritual retreats are just for religious people

Religious people take time for retreats, that is true. Because they know that to be able to take care of others, they need to take care of themselves. Kind of like putting your own oxygen mask on first. And that flows from prayer and spending time with the Lord. At a spiritual retreat we can learn some of these practices and how to incorporate them into our daily lives. 

5. You prefer to make a retreat at home

Staying at home and locking the world out may prove to be difficult as you know. The dog and cat still needs to be fed and let’s be honest, as soon as the phone rings, we are off to whatever demands our attention. Going on retreat is going away from all these distractions for a weekend. Preferably you leave your phone in your guest room or you don’t even bring it at all. Because you have made the effort and paid the money for the weekend, you have much more incentive to be present at the retreat. 

Finally, the best reason not to go on a retreat is just because you don’t want to. Unfortunately you don’t know what you are missing out on. Most people that go on retreats discover something so special that they return for another retreat. That alone speaks to the value of it.

Someone once said: If you want to do something, you will find a reason to do it. And if you don’t want to do something, you will find an excuse. What’s yours?