To be a Christian is to have a relationship with God, but it is easy to lose that sense of connection in the complexity of everyday life. Work, human relationships, money problems, and a host of other stressors can make it hard to slow down and listen calmly to the quiet inner voice. Many people find that attending a guided retreat helps them to explore their relationship with God and deepen their spiritual life.
Who Can Attend A Guided Retreat?
Some retreats are open to anyone who wants to attend, and some target specific groups. For example, at cenaclesisters.org, there are retreats for men, women, Catholics, people of other denominations, people with a religious vocation, laypeople, singles, and married couples. Many people find it beneficial to attend a retreat with people who share the same challenges and concerns.
How Long Does A Guided Retreat Last?
A typically guided retreat is scheduled between a Friday evening and a Sunday afternoon to accommodate participants’ work schedules. A weekend allows time for full immersion into the experience. Some groups also offer single-day or weekday-evening retreats as well as week-long events. If you’re considering a guided retreat, chances are you can find one that fits your schedule.
What Happens At A Guided Retreat?
At a guided retreat, each day begins with a presentation on a theme, such as healing, prayer, or recovering from grief. Then, readings on the same theme are shared, and participants will have time for solitary prayer and meditation. Some retreats encourage participants to maintain silence throughout the weekend while others permit conversation at meals and organize some group activities. Most retreats also include religious services, such as a mass and Holy Communion.
Where Does A Guided Retreat Take Place?
Guided spiritual retreats take place at religious centers, such as a monastery or other church-owned facility. Some organizations host retreats at a campground or rent space at a hotel or lodge. Online retreats are an increasingly popular option for people who are unable to or don’t wish to leave home. Online retreats use video, video conferencing, and other online tools to provide spiritual content and a series of steps and activities that guide participants in deepening their relationship with God.
What Are The Benefits Of Attending A Guided Retreat?
Spiritual retreats are beneficial in many ways. For one thing, they offer a break from worldly concerns and help people re-center their lives on God. People who attend retreats return home feeling calm, refreshed, and better able to deal with day-to-day challenges. Another benefit of a retreat is the chance to interact with others who are engaged in the same struggle and feel the same need to deepen their spiritual lives. Whether these connections last for a few days or many years, they can provide much-needed support. Finally, a guided retreat can be a valuable learning experience that allows participants to be better teachers and mentors of other people in their lives.
To get the most out of a guided retreat, it’s important to set aside other issues and bring your whole focus to the present moment. Expect to leave your phone at home or keep it turned off for the duration of the retreat. Instead, bring your favorite journaling tools and scripture readings, and be prepared to engage in more active and intensive prayer life.