Here is your invitation to retreat –
Dear Beloved Child of God
Your presence is requested in my Presence.
You are invited to come away with me.
This time is my gift to you – being together with your Creator, Savior, and Spirit.
This time is also my summons, a necessity for your soul-health.
Come. Be. Retreat.
The spiritual practice of going on retreat is a discipline I have experienced and believe is one of the most essential tools for nurturing my spirit. I have written about this practice in the past on several blog posts such as How to Prepare Your Heart for Spiritual Retreat and 5 Ways Spiritual Retreats Transform Your Life.
I even wrote a book called Spiritual Retreats in response to a friend’s questions about my practice.
I was thrilled to hear about a new book on this topic by one of my favorite authors. What a great combination! Ruth Haley Barton just released her latest title: Invitation to Retreat – the Gift and Necessity of Time Away with God.
“Going on retreat is like a boast entering into the lock in order to rise to new heights…
There is simply no substitute for this,
Nothing I could do for myself even approaches what God can do for me in the context of retreat.“
Ruth Haley Barton
I find this statement so true in my experience. Have you?
You can learn much about a book from its chapter titles. Here is a sample from this book:
- Strategic Withdrawal
- Finding Your Rhythms on Retreat
- Letting Go of Your Grip
- Space for Discernment
- In Returning and Rest You Shall be Saved
Barton includes practical tips and inspiration to prepare you. Whether this is your first time on retreat or you are seasoned, this book will add depth to this experience and time with God.
One new aspect about this practice I learn from her writing comes from the chapter titled “Remember the Signs.” She shared a quote from Emiliee Griffin:
Whatever the spiritual benefits of our retreat time, we must always remember that these blessings are not only for ourselves but for the sake of the communities we belong to – our family, circles of friendship, our churches, society at large. The experience of God pours loving energy into us, qualifies us to serve others with charm and delight.
This quote freed me. Often, I feel guilty leaving my family for this time alone with God – considering it more selfish. After I shared some of my lessons from my last time away with our church council, several people commented that my attendance at retreats feeds their spirit too. I never recognized how the circle of blessings – from God to me, then to others encircled outward.
Still not sure if the practice of retreat is for you? Think about this: The book shares two purposes of going away for time with God: “to become more deeply grounded in God as the ultimate orienting reality of our lives and to return to the life God has given us with renewed strength, vitality and clarity about how we are called to be God for the world.”
A great resource for those interested in the practice of retreat AND for those of you in faith formation leadership in congregations.
How you do practice retreat with God? What have you learned?