Last week I was on retreat. It’s something I look forward to every year. Sometimes while talking with friends prior to retreat, I’ve been known to say that I hunger for retreat. What I mean is that my spirit longs for the prolonged time of silence and solitude that I don’t have in my day to day life. I know that this extended time for prayer and resting in God’s merciful love feeds my spirit as food feeds my body.
Not everyone can go away for a weeklong retreat. But everyone is invited to moments of solitude, which is not the same as loneliness. My wall calendar has a thought for each day. One recent day said “Each life needs its own quiet place.” My dad, who was not a religious man, loved to visit me when I lived in Santa Rosa. There are open spaces around the convent buildings and he would walk them quietly and say to me, “A man can think here.” That was his way of saying that in the quiet and solitude of nature he could let go of the cares of daily life and listen to what’s inside, in his heart . . . to God. He would return home refreshed in body, mind, and spirit even after a short stay. That’s how I returned from my week of solitude in the Wisconsin countryside ~ refreshed and renewed in my commitment to God and to joyfully living out my Ursuline vocation. Give some thought to how you might accept the invitation to solitude in your life. Whether a week or 15 minutes, the richness of your inner life with God will feed your spirit.