Desiring a closer union with God, I attended daily Mass, enrolled in a Bible study, helped with programs at my parish. I prayed daily rosaries, made regular use of the Sacrament of Confession. Still I thirsted for more. God seemed far from me, and I felt like I needed to present myself in a certain fashion in order to be worthy of a closer relationship with God.
I work in a time-consuming job and have an engaging family life that would not permit an extended time away for a retreat. I came across an article about something called a Retreat in Everyday Life, and it seemed a possibility. This retreat, based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola, centered on structured daily prayer, with occasional small group meetings and several one-on-one meetings with a guide, over a nine-month period.
I applied to attend the retreat, but was unsure if I could find the hour a day for prayer. I considered myself a prayerful person, but was unsure where another hour could be found in my seemingly full days. I prayerfully brought my concern to God, and with all the trust I could find, I asked that if the retreat was the best choice for me, and if so, that the time would open up.
As I proceeded into the retreat, I found myself with the time necessary for prayer and in the company of people like myself, who hungered for a deeper relationship with God. We moved along, taking in different forms of prayer and encountering Jesus through scripture in ways totally new to me. As we shared our journeys, we were also individually guided, which further brought us into deeper union with our Creator.
I found myself more peaceful. I had an awareness of my purpose. I began to find God in places I never suspected, in fact in all places. I received tools that enabled me to make better decisions. My life is still trying at times and can be filled with difficulties, yet underneath joyful, for God is near.
Now, I ask: could you find an hour a day? For more joy, more peace, a sense of purpose, an ability to make better choices, a better understanding of yourself?
For retreat information and applications contact Gini Schultz at 837-6020 or Joseph Ritzert at 627-5530.