Canon Anthony Writes:
For most people life is very busy with little opportunity for silence, or to be still, quiet or reflective. I was able to make a retreat recently and to enjoy eight days of silence, prayer and reflection. I’m very conscious that I’m very fortunate to be able to have such an experience.
The thought of going on a retreat is a very attractive one, it’s something to look forward to, but almost inevitably as the day approaches there can be a little anxiety at the thought of being away from what is familiar, even the unending routine, and the thought of being quiet! It’s one of the, all too many, experiences where it seems I have a short memory because once the retreat begins all is well, and the silence, peace and time to myself are much appreciated.
The purpose of a retreat is not simply to have a rest but it is a time to be with the Lord, a time to deepen our relationship with Jesus Christ. Deepening our relationship with Christ is something that we all have to be pro-active in doing, it is down to each of us to take the initiative. Why, it might be asked, do we need to deepen that relationship which began for us at Baptism? Quite simply it is like any other relationship that we might be a part of; if we want the relationship to grow, to become stronger, then we need to give time to it, we need to work on it.
Christ gives us many opportunities, more than we can imagine. If we are aware of them, and we may not always be, we have a choice whether we use them or not. Christ gives us such opportunities so that his life may grow within us, and so that we may follow his ways ever more closely. We follow his ways, not our own or those of our secular society, because we recognise what they offer, the way to real contentment and true happiness, the way to that unique fullness of life.
Not everybody will be able to get away on a retreat but that doesn’t take away the need to make some time to be silent, still and to reflect on our relationship with Christ. It’s important to have such space, and to give that priority in our busy lives. It’s important to do that in order to consciously build that relationship, and so that we don’t simply know about Jesus but we truly come to know Jesus.