You need to find a Catholic retreat center near you (or far away!) and spend some time on a spiritual retreat. Here are five reasons why:
1. Get Away From Busy-ness and Stress
We have too many meetings and sports commitments and emails and voice mails and bills and chores. It is draining. Get away from everyday life completely and spend a day or two days or a week or a month on retreat filling up what has been drained away.
2. Be Quiet and Listen to God
It is a noisy world. God is always talking to us, but it can be difficult to hear what He is saying. The opportunities for quiet reflection in our day-to-day life are usually filled with music or podcasts or texting others or surfing the internet. Technology makes life easier and helps us to communicate more effectively with people we don’t see as much as we would like to, but it steals some of that communication time from God.
Go on retreat. Leave the phone, iPod, and computer at home. Spend some time talking to God and really listening to Him. A Catholic retreat is usually going to have time set aside to celebrate the Mass each day, and most often there will also be the opportunity for Eucharistic Adoration. What better way to listen to God than by spending an hour sitting with Him in prayer?
Don’t wait to communicate with God only at Mass and Adoration, though. By leaving the technology at home and really focusing your time on silence and prayer during a Catholic retreat you are able to more effectively hear God’s voice throughout your entire day.
3. Be around other Catholics
Every time I go on a guided retreat I rediscover what a joy it is to be around a group of Catholics trying to deepen their prayer life and live out their faith. Much of the time in everyday life we are not afforded the setting or the company to comfortably talk about our prayer life and our faith with others who share similar views and aspirations. On a retreat you will find others from all different walks of life, and sometimes from many different corners of the world, who are trying to escape the monotony of the day-to-day and improve their prayer life. Being in a group like this is truly a pleasure and will fill you with a joy that you can carry with you after retreat to fuel the motivation to keep your prayer life strong.
4. Or, Be Alone
Going on a directed retreat with others is a great experience, but once in a while we also need to just get away from everybody. Taking a private retreat at a hermitage or monastery is one of the great ways to refresh the soul. A private retreat affords you time for silence, prayer, holy reading, and reflection. Many places will also make the Mass, Eucharistic Adoration, and confession available to those on private retreat.
5. Jesus did it
Jesus spent forty days in the desert fasting and praying. You may only have the time to get away for one or two days, but the example has been set and we need to follow it.
Find a good Catholic retreat center, commit to a time, and go. It will do things for your relationship with God that you could have never imagined.