Vacations and trips are amazingly helpful to development and happiness but rarely leave me as charged and ready for action as a retreat. Many people take a yearly retreat but it can be hard to find the right fit and time. As a DIY-er, I love a Homemade Retreat. This retreat doesn’t cost anything, is totally tailored to what I’m currently going through, complements my family life and is easy to transition back into regular life.
Here are some ideas on how to make your own Homemade Retreat:
Before you Go:
- Carve out 5+ hours for a few days in a row to spend time with God. Most people need support in order to do this. Someone to heat up the meal that you made ahead of time, someone to drive the kids places, patience in your not responding to e-mails or texts. Also, having a friend or two praying for you for those few days helps. Clearly establish when the beginning and end will be.
- Determine your goal. Or maybe a few goals. What do you want from God? What do you want to give to God? What do you need in order to equip yourself for service to your family, job, community? Who needs your prayers? What are you wondering about? What would be good to learn about God or the church which would effect the way you would live? What internal hurdle would you like to climb? How have you changed in the last year? What direction are you headed in?
- Collect the tools you will need to help you on this retreat- bible, spiritual books, backpack, food.
- Determine a few places you where you can have the peace to pray and reflect (church, a nearby beautiful shrine or Cathedral, the library, a park, an empty house)
- Find a spiritual book that parallels something you are going through or would like to grow in. Read it intensely.
- Try to go to Mass everyday of your retreat. (This may be difficult as timing often conflicts with when kids need you in the morning).
- Go to adoration or pray by a tabernacle.
- Do many of the good things you usually do for your own soul but do them all in one day.
- Going to the Sacrament of Reconciliation as part of your retreat is a big big help.
- Relax, rest and enjoy. Go with God like the two of you are on vacation together.
At the end of your retreat:
- Write down the graces you received on retreat.
- Write down the resolutions that you are making.
- Within a few days, share some of these graces and resolutions with a few people who care about you.