Life’s journey can take its toll on us. Sometimes all we need to do is escape…
Retreats exist to offer those spaces where life can not get in the way: places to not only rest, but to experience something deeply fulfilling.
Central to a retreat is the understanding of withdrawing from ordinary activities for a period of time to commune with God in prayer and reflection. A retreat gives you a place where you can be alone with God: to have the conversation with God you might have been searching after for years. In a peaceful environment, retreats draw out from us those questions we might all ask at times:
Retreats offer chances to learn from others and be directed, if you so wish, in asking these questions. Spiritual companions offer guidance and advice and are prepared to walk with you through your journey. And when retreats challenge us and our everyday lives, as God sometimes does, your spiritual companion can walk with you through that challenge.
There are four general formats for retreats:
preached, private/directed, silent, and creative.
Retreats are often places where deep friendships are formed. And where, in time spent away, we might also learn more about ourselves, amid the challenges of life. But a retreat is also an opportunity to be allowed to rest: places away from the bustle of travel and away from the world. Places where we can read, talk, pray, or just be ourselves.
How often in this busy life do we have permission to leave life behind and have an opportunity to think?
God gives you permission to take time out.
Tread the path less taken. It can make all the difference…
If you feel you are not quite ready or able to take a few days to go on a retreat, you might wish to try a Quiet Day. Your local church may offer a Quiet Day or you can find a number of retreat houses offering these services at www.retreats.org.uk
Scargill House in the Yorkshire Dales offers a variety of events. There’s something for everyone - from family holidays to silent retreats. Download their 2011 programme.
Community of the Holy Name, Manchester www.chnderby.org
Tabor Carmelite Retreat House www.carmelite.org.uk/Prestonret.html
Lee Abbey www.leeabbey.org.uk/
Hyning (Catholic) www.bernardine.org/hyninge.html
Scargill House www.scargillmovement.org/
Loyola Hall http://loyolahall.co.uk/
Whalley Abbey www.whalleyabbey.co.uk/
St Columba's House www.stcolumbashouse.org.uk