In the Gospel of Mark (6:31), God invites us, “Come away to a quiet place and rest awhile.”
The practice of getting away from the distractions of the world to reconnect with God has long been a tradition among people of faith. Like all relationships, our connection with God must be nurtured by spending time together, and that is the purpose of making a spiritual retreat.
There are many ways to get away from our busy schedules in order to replenish our souls. Some folks attend weekday Mass, meditate, practice yoga, or walk along the beach. A brief period of rest can give us a new perspective on life. In chapter 3 of Ecclesiastes, we learn that there is an appointed time for everything, a time to work and a time to rest.
Setting aside time for rest is part of the rhythm of life. Animals hibernate during the winter and await the rebirth of the land. Farmers let the earth lie fallow after repeated harvests so that the soil may be replenished. In a culture that values people for what they produce, we often forget that we are spiritual beings in human form. The Third Commandment asks us to set aside one day, the Sabbath, to worship God, to renew our connection with our divine nature. The practice of making a retreat, whether it be for twenty-eight days of Ignatian Exercises or for a few hours of quiet solitude, is like a spiritual “time out” which reminds us who we are as Children of God.