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Why Retreat?

retreat imageMy dear brothers and sisters in Christ, how long has it been since you last went on retreat?  Perhaps for some readers, you haven’t been on a formal retreat since your high school days.  While for others, a spiritual oasis once per year is as necessary as taking medication whenever cold symptoms arise.

Whether you are a seasoned retreat participant or a pilgrim who has wondered far from any retreat experience, I write this blog with both ends of this spectrum in mind.

As Christians, we retreat because we desire to seek a closer connection with Christ.  Family life, work and our daily unplanned distractions can serve to do two things: draw us closer to the heart of Jesus or away.  For most, I would argue that the above life situations, more often than not, draws us away from our growth in holiness.  So a retreat at least once a year is a very wise idea even if we feel like we are in a good place spiritually.

Retreats are a chance to listen more to the voice of God in the midst of our human journey.  Is there anything more important?  Sometimes, we need to remind ourselves that, in truth, there really is nothing more important than our collective seeking of that “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:13).  It comes in many ways and forms for sure, but one thing is for certain, rarely do those words come to us when we fail to create the time to listen.  So we must intentionally seek an opportunity whereby we can better hear the gentle whisper of the Lord.  None of us want to be counted with those unfortunate souls that St. Stephen excoriated  as being “stiff-necked” and “uncircumcised of heart and ear”  (Acts 7:51).St. Stephen  By no means do we want to hear the eternally regrettable words “depart from me” from our Lord on our personal judgment either. (Matthew 25:41).

Tragically, there are many who will ignore the promptings of their heart and the Holy Spirit and lull themselves into thinking that God’s words are not applicable to them in this day and age.  For those of us who desire to grow in our understanding of God’s will in our lives, we must retreat for a little while.  We must escape from our everyday to seek a sacred experience whereby we can more intently listen and experience the peace which comes when we seek an encounter with Christ.

At The King’s Men apostolate, we are offering 10 retreat opportunities this year.  We have planned 7 Into the Wild retreat weekends  and 3 Samson healing retreats.   Note: there are 6 ITW weekends and 2 Samson retreats left in 2014.

Perhaps it is time to consider a departure from the cell phone, Facebook, twitter, and yes, even family and work life so as to better get acquainted with our Heavenly Father, our brother Jesus as well as our blessed and holy mother Mary.  This is our true family with whom we must get to know in this life in order to be forever happy with them in the next.  Many of us don’t reflect on this fact, but we have a home awaiting us.  There is a heavenly reunion and banquet which is worth contemplating and familiarizing ourselves with in the here and now.

May the Holy Spirit prompt our manly hearts to go on retreat soon!  May the Holy Spirit encourage you dear sisters in Christ to consider the benefits of taking time to discover your gifts to the world through a retreat encounter also.

Happy retreat hunting!

Yours in Christ,

Mark Houck