Retreating the Retreat

I’m pretty bummed. One of my 2015 goals was to attend a spiritual retreat. It has been something long in the making: I hadn’t taken dedicated time away for that since before getting married.

Last April, we bought the “Pope Package” at the San Juan Diego Catholic High School Gala exclusively because it included certificates for two retreats at the Montserrat Jesuit Retreat House in Lake Dallas, TX. We didn’t realize the twins were coming, so that changed plans quite a bit. With a July 31st, 2015 expiration date, I gave away one of the certificates, saving the latter for myself for this coming weekend.

Alas, Montserrat called today to notify me they’re canceling the retreat due to not hitting the minimum number of 20. The e-mail they had sent had 20 names, with one gentlemen replying to all (as they open cc’d everyone) saying he had canceled and awaiting a refund already. I suppose perhaps others may have cancelled too.

I’ve gone without a retreat for so many years that punting again shouldn’t be that big of a deal. I had been, though, looking forward to it for so long now and knowing that I needed the time away to recharge myself spiritually. I’m pretty drained in that department right now, so it is almost like a mirage. I could see this weekend coming up, blocked it off for months, found a car (as we only own one, so had to find a way to drive there), figured out how the in-laws could balance a workshop of their own with helping Vanessa at home with five kids, only to realize it was nothing.

In the end, it isn’t the end of the world or life and death. It is simply depressing. Surprisingly for a retreat house, they don’t actually offer that many generic retreats. There are only two more men’s retreat weekends this year with one date already impossible and the other would require work (again) to make, ignoring if they’ll honor a gift certificate that would be almost six months expired by that point.

The Need To Retreat

We took a retreat this weekend. The whole family. All four of us.

I like the idea of taking a retreat annually, but have fallen out of the habit. In 2007, I took my last silent retreat at the Montserrat Jesuit Retreat House north of Dallas, TX. I attended a Christ Renews His Parish (CRHP or “chirp”) Retreat in 2010. This year, presented by the ACE Advocates of Austin and Dallas, the retreat focused on the topic of servant leadership.

The need to retreat is essential, whether or not you are religious. A retreat is a great time to step away from the typical grind and reset or recenter yourself. Like a vacation with purpose, the retreat allows you to slow down, enjoy life and remember what direction you want to follow.

photocredit: flickr/haveclipperswilltravel

In religious life, retreats are required. Canon law requires the bishop to ensure candidates for ordination have taken a recent retreat, bounds the religious to take an annual retreat, and dictates that the parish priest’s retreat is not to be taken from their “vacation time”. Read More