Canisius Centre of Ignatian Spirituality

02 9488 4524
102 Mona Vale Rd Pymble, NSW 2073

Why Go On Retreat

Today more and more people are taking advantage of retreat centres around Australia to step back for a while from the busyness of life.

Sometimes it is just the need to stop and be still for a while; to refresh oneself so that life is not just running me, but that I have a sense of purpose, or direction. Taking time out in quiet, restful surroundings, with opportunities for prayer and guidance, can help me attain this.

At other times it may be that I feel that I have lost direction and need space, refreshment and help to decide upon a new choice of direction. For many people it is more a question of how to deepen their growing relationship with God. Maybe they are just retired and have a bit more space for themselves, and so the opportunity of learning a bit more about Christ, his life and way of living, is appealing. Getting to know Jesus and his presence and action in my life is a never-ending journey. And from time to time I ask myself what is the next step on this journey. It is then that a workshop topic or a retreat theme catches my eye, and I feel drawn to participate or experience this.

Finding and knowing God and learning what He asks of us in our lives is important. In fact, until we experience Godís personal love, his forgiveness and his dreams for us, we will never be free enough to move into life and make those
choices that will benefit ourselves and those we care about. A retreat, whether it be for a day, a week-end or a bit longer, can be an excellent way of discovering God, his love and care for me, and how that love energises and impels me to share that love and care for others. God is always reaching out to me, offering me the fullness of life.

A retreat sharpens our attentiveness so that we are ready and open to receive Godís gifts; it also helps us to desire the wisdom and judgement to know when and how to share those gifts fruitfully. We are called to be co-creators with God, working with him to become a better person, working for a better world. The Spirit of God is always active, but a retreat is a nourishing and relaxed environment for the Spiritís action to be fruitful. Retreats are for laity, not only for priests and religious. We can all profit from them, young, middle-aged or older. And retreats can and are being tailored for individuals or groups, and for a variety of needs, challenges and opportunities. You will know when to make one.

Fr Michael Ryan, sj
Assistant Director
Canisius Centre of Ignatian Spirituality
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