Take a vacation with God Print
Cutting Edge
Thursday, Aug. 19, 2010 -- 12:00 AM

Cutting Edge by Sr. Margie Lavonis

All close, meaningful relationships need special or quality times when the people involved can be together for an extended period of time without a lot of interruptions.

People in significant relationships need time set apart from every day life to enjoy each other's company and to deepen their knowledge of one another.

This is how I look at retreats. I like to think of a retreat as a time to do this with God. It is like going on a special vacation with God.

Just as vacations hopefully renew our bodies, retreats should renew our spirits. To be a serious Christian we need some "God and me" time. We need some uninterrupted time to enrich our spiritual lives and deepen our relationship with the Lord.

Many options

Right now you may be thinking that you don't even have enough time to do what is required of you, let alone take time away for a retreat!

Maybe you are so busy you do not even have time to pray regularly, much less go on a retreat. I say, that is all the more reason to make a special effort to do it.

There are many types of retreats. Retreats can be a day, a weekend, a week, or longer. Even a few hours in a quiet place can do wonders for one's spirit.

Some retreats have talks and time for prayer, reflection, and sharing. Others are comprised mostly of prayer and quiet time.

There are weekend experiences like Cursillo, Christ Renews His Parish, Antioch, Teens Encounter Christ (TEC), and a multitude of others. There are usually retreat opportunities available in most dioceses.

Too busy?

Let's face it, most of us claim to be busy, but we can usually make time for the priorities in our lives. If any of us won a great trip, I would wager that we would find the time to take advantage of it!

And I know that getting away can be a hardship for those with young children, especially for single parents. One way to solve this problem might be to have a friend or relative watch them for you in exchange for watching hers when she needs to get away or make a retreat. You probably can think of other creative ways to get away even for a short time.

There are others who say that they cannot possibly take time off from work. (Oh, to be so indispensible!) What would happen if, God forbid, you got sick and were not able to function for a while? If it is important enough to you, you can use some of your vacation time.

Spiritual enrichment

No matter what our circumstances, we all need to build time into our lives for spiritual enrichment. We need to take the opportunity to get to know God better.

I know a man who said that for years a good friend of his kept asking him to make a Cursillo weekend and he always had an excuse for why he could not.

Finally, the thing that changed his mind was when his friend said, "What are you going to say to Jesus when he asks you why you were not willing to spend three days with him?"

Hopefully, you will make the time to schedule a vacation with God. It may not be easy to get away, but I think it will be worth your effort. Who knows, you might like it so much that you decide to schedule one at least once every year or so.

And if you don't have the money to go to a retreat house, perhaps you can build a few hours of pray when the rest of the family is out of the house. You might have to be creative.

Sr. Margie Lavonis, a freelance writer, is a Sister of the Holy Cross, Notre Dame, Ind.