Retreats: The Silence of Our Hearts

The Catholic faith has a long tradition of offering retreats to clergy, religious, and lay members of the Church. Just as Jesus retreated in the desert for 40 days before beginning his public ministry, we often go on retreats to regain focus, jump-start our prayer life, or seek comfort following a hardship.


There are many different kinds of retreats: solitary or group retreats, thematic retreats, self-guided or directed retreats, single sex or co-ed retreats, day retreats, weekend retreats, etc. No matter what type it is, it’s a time to focus solely on our relationship with God. It often involves prayer, quiet reflection, meditation, reading spiritual books, Mass, and Eucharistic Adoration.


Could you take an afternoon or a weekend to separate yourself from the everyday hustle and bustle and just be with God? You might be thinking, “Sounds great, but I’m too busy.” At a retreat I went on a few years ago, I remember our director saying, “If you’re too busy to come on a retreat…you’re too busy, period.” That stuck with me.


When we talk about priorities, I’m reminded of the oft-quoted line: Don’t let the urgent get in the way of the important. With only 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week, sometimes spending time with our Creator doesn’t make the cut. But if making a retreat is important to you, set it at the top of your priority list.


The Easter Season is a wonderful, joyous, Spirit-filled time to go on a retreat. A simple Google search will bring up many Catholic retreat houses and the Archdiocese of Washington’s Catholic Standard also lists some upcoming retreats. If you’re a member of a parish, check the weekly bulletin or ask your pastor for recommendation.    


I leave you with this quote from Mother Teresa’s No Greater Love.


Silence of our eyes.

Silence of our ears.

Silence of our mouths.

Silence of our minds.

…in the silence of the heart

God will speak.



Shameless Plug: The Office of Young Adult Ministry will be offering a Half-Day Retreat for Married Young Adults on May 16th 2009. For more information, click here.