Some Things To Consider During a Retreat

Begin believing that the Divine Shepherd wants to communicate personally with you. No matter where you have been in the past all you bring to this process is a generous openness to God.

Silence is one of the important ingredients to quieting yourself, both inside and out. You want to create an atmosphere of hospitality for the Divine Guardian of your soul.

At the beginning of each prayer period quiet yourself, relax and tune out everything but the One who wants to communicate with you.

John Veltri sj, gives this helpful piece of advice: “In an age of noise, activity and tensions like our own, it is not always necessary or easy to forget our cares and commitments, the noise and excitement of our environment. Never feel constrained to blot out all distractions….Rather, realize that the Word did become flesh – that God speaks to us in the noise and confusion of our day.”

When you are relaxed in the comfortable knowledge of God’s unselfish, loving presence in you then pick up the passage of scripture you have selected.

Veltri summarizes the process in “5 ‘P’s’ 1’R’”

Passage of Scripture

Pick one and have it marked and ready.

Place

Where you are alone and uninhibited in your response to God’s presence

Posture

Relaxed and peaceful. A harmony of body with spirit

Presence of God
Be aware of it and acknowledge and respond to it.
When you are ready turn to the selected passage.

Passage

Read it very slowly aloud and listen carefully and peacefully to it….pause…..Listen with your heart as you would a love letter. Read aloud or whisper with pauses and repetitions when and where you are drawn. Don’t be anxious, don’t try to look for implications or lessons or profound thoughts or conclusions. Be content to be like a child who climbs into a caring person’s lap and listens to a story. During the prayer exercise and, certainly just before closing, it is helpful to carry on a conversation with God or with Jesus or some safe wisdom figure concerning what you hear.

Review

After the period of prayer is over reflect upon the experience of prayer just finished. This review will help you notice what God is doing in your experience.

An important part of the process of prayer is sharing the experience (as much as is appropriate) with your friends in the group. It has been my experience that we often find surprises in the telling of what we have experienced of God to a few trusted friends.
Often new truths, emotions, comforts and fears can emerge in the telling. The trusted friends in the group become mediators and reminders of God’s love for you in all of this experience.