Purpose of the Retreat
RETREAT is a time to…
- REST: Retreat is a time to be with the Lord and rest. “Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest” (Mt 11: 28). I need not worry about the past nor the future. When I leave everything in the hands of God, I begin to rest.
- SILENCE ONESELF: Due to the lockdown, there is silence outside. Perhaps, there is a noise inside caused by fear, anxiety, worry and panic. Retreat is a time to enter into the cave of my being as it is here that I encounter God, my Lifeline. “Be Still and know that I am God” (Ps 46:10). “Silence is the great revelation” (Lao-tse).
- PRAY (To be in online with the Lifeline): The Lifeline talks to me through the Word of God and through my context. Retreat is a time to ponder over them and to ask sincerely, “What is the Lord telling me?”. I am invited to “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thess 5:17). It is a time to understand ‘the signs of the time’ in the light of faith.
- REVIEW: Retreat is a time to revisit and review my life. This review (examen) is done in the light of the Word of God and my vision and mission. The review enables me to identify areas of growth and concern. “Repent and believe in the Good News” (Mk 1:15).
- LISTEN: Retreat is a time to listen to God speaking to me in my context of Corona virus pandemic. I will also listen to him through my interior movements like thoughts, imaginations, feelings, desires, intentions, etc. Let me observe what is going on within me as I pray over the subject matter, as I rest, as I walk and as I eat. During the examen of conscience at the end of the day, I need to see what is my gut level feeling: joy or sadness. God speaks to me through my interior movements. It is the language of God. “Speak, Lord, your servant is listening” (1 Sam 3:10). Is the Spirit urging me to respond to this pandemic? If so, how?
- REORIENT AND RECOMMIT: When a retreat is done with openness and surrender, it will be a transforming experience. In every retreat, God, our Lifeline calls for a wholehearted response. It is to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth (Mt 5:13-16), and to be a messenger of peace and reconciliation (Lk 23:34). I go out of the retreat as a better human being, better christian, better parent, better son or daughter, better religious, better priest with a new awareness and urgency of our inter-dependence. ‘Thou hast made me endless, such is thy pleasure. This frail vessel thou emptiest again, and again, and fillest it ever with fresh life” (Tagore, Gitanjali, 1).
During this retreat, as we listen to our LIFELINE who is journeying towards the Calvary, may we be able to journey IN SOLIDARITY WITH the distressed world severely affected by the pandemic.
Fr Jossie D’Mello, SJ