Tuesday, March 27, 2012

My Annual Retreat

I went away for a little adventure this past weekend. You might find this hard to believe (especially if you know me in person), but I made a silent retreat!

A lot of people don't know this, but we Catholics are called to make a retreat every year, if we can. A good retreat is intended to be like that time when Jesus invited His disciples to "Come away and rest awhile" (Mark 6:31), to set aside their worries for a little while just to be with Him.

For me, a retreat is a chance to examine my life and consider whether I'm really putting God at the center of it. It's a chance to step outside of the normal routine to think about the way my life is going. I thought a lot about how I spend my time every day, and whether I'm spending it in the way most conducive to my happiness. My biggest insight was that I want to live more deliberately - making careful choices about how to spend my time rather than letting it be wasted unthinkingly on silly things.

The retreat that I went on was a wonderful experience. It was actually the 6th or 7th time I've made a similar retreat. At my parents' suggestion, I started making an annual "silent" retreat when I was 15 years old at the lovely Shellbourne Conference Center in Indiana. There are similar retreats offered at a lovely location near Boston and in Texas too, as well as many other areas around the country. I put "silent" in quotation marks because it wasn't always so silent when I was a lively high schooler! But this past weekend, I successfully "kept the silence," and the sacrifice was so worth it.

Now that I think about it, maybe the reason I kept silence so well was because I was still feeling really sick on Friday evening and Saturday. In fact, I showed up to the retreat holding a giant bottle of Gatorade with a straw stuck in top, and guzzling that stuff as though my life depended on it! I'm sure I was a hilarious sight for the other retreat participants.

I came back from the retreat with some practical little resolutions for ways to live a more deliberate life. It came at a great time, in the middle of Lent like this. Here's hoping the positive effects of the retreat will last for a long time to come!


  1. You kept the retreat silent??!!!! Wow! Good for you! I remember when we made a "silent retreat" together last year. Sooo silent :)

    I am glad the retreat was so fruitful. Blessings to you for the rest of lent, love and miss you!

  2. I know, aren't you amazed? ;) I think I was only able to keep the silence because I didn't know most of the others on the retreat. Thank you and I miss you too!