The May retreat offerings at my spirituality center filled up quickly. It tells me that people are eager to enhance their relationship with God and, subsequently, their relations with others. These sessions will be a general, though brief, introduction to retreats through prayer, scripture, discussions about faith, and spiritual exercises. Starting in June, we will dive deeper into specific areas, e.g., exploring mystics and prayer styles, handling grief, dealing with forgiveness, exploring spiritual themes in popular music and literature, discussing controversial topics in religion from spiritual viewpoints, being a synodal church guided by the Holy Spirit, stretching our spirit/body/mind, embracing second-half-of-life blessings, etc. I will expound on some of these retreat themes in this blog post.
Those who are fifty years or older might appreciate a retreat that ponders how the second half of earthly life offers us a more grace-filled vantage point than the first half does. Through the experience of years and wisdom garnered along the way, we see our religion, faith in God, and impact on those we love from a broadened and enlightened view. Influenced by Catholic scholars and spiritualists, Richard Rohr and Ronald Rolheiser, as well as author David Brooks’ writings on character, we will contrast resume virtues from eulogy virtues, compare ego-driven and soul-driven realities, and reflect on our transformation of wanting the world to give us a better life to wanting to make the world better by our contributions to it.
Other sojourners may find their faith strengthened by discussing, debating, and discerning disputed religious issues through Christian conversation. These retreats will tackle frequently divisive issues such as viewing one religion as right and others as wrong, ascertaining whether Jesus’ ministry was primarily to accompany people or primarily to convert people to certain behaviors and attitudes, making sense of hierarchical obsession with sexuality and condemnation of non-traditional attitudes, probing a synodal mindset that trusts the Holy Spirit more than magisterial, corporate, bureaucratic, or individual thinking, etc. These conversations done through prayerful discernment can help us come to greater understanding of what it means to think with the mind of the church while seeking union with the mind of Christ.
For those who have suffered the death of loved ones or cope with deep sadness, loneliness, or pain of other loss, we will have a retreat dealing with grief. For those who want to be able to forgive another or others for something that seems unforgiveable and/or some act that haunts and tortures them, we will offer a time to consider paths of forgiveness that bring freedom from hurt and self-punishment. For those who want to learn more about particular spiritualities, we will have one that explores the teachings of popular saints and mystics who provide paths of transcendence or methods for daily prayer. For those who want to find deeper meaning in music, literature, art, or nature, we will have others that study popular works to examine the presented message of the author, personal message to us, and divine message from God. In these offerings, we will embrace the idea of seeking God in all things.
If you are interested in participating in one of these upcoming mini-retreats (two-three hours), visit our website by clicking here to learn more or to reserve a spot.