Theology for Millennials: Spiritual Retreat Important

In Face of Today’s Chaotic World

Teología Millennials retiro espiritual
Spiritual retreat © Cathopic

Today, Monday, September 20, 2021, in “Theology for Millennials,” Mexican Father Mario Arroyo Martinez shares with Exaudi’s readers his weekly article entitled “Spiritual Retreat,” in which he talks about his experience in this regard, an opportunity not to be wasted in today’s chaotic world.

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A retreat is a needle in a haystack, as rare as one in a million, an opportunity not to be wasted in the midst of our helter-skelter and chaotic world. On writing these lines I am having an interval in my silent spiritual retreat, with the need to share the profound spiritual experience I’m living and, together with me, 28 other people.

It’s not only about the place, a farm in the middle of a peaceful and silent field, it’s not only eating well, calmly, unhurried. Sleeping excellently thanks to the redundant silence, it’s a whole climate, a spiritual atmosphere, which is rarely found and is valued in a world where what is important is the instant and running, not knowing well where one is going. The silence and atmosphere of spiritual recollection make a difference and offer a very rare product: hence they are very valuable in our stressful and competitive world.

I’m writing these lines in the hope of encouraging those that hesitate to attend a retreat — there are always things pending, understandable excuses –, and to encourage to seek this wonderful opportunity for those that don’t have it close at hand. The effort to disconnect from the world for some days is worthwhile, and to discover, amazed, that the world keeps turning perfectly, for good or evil, without us. But that we, instead, come out of a retreat enriched and strengthened by absenting ourselves for a few days, in order to return with new spirits to society’s gymnasium, culture, work, family which we don’t want to desert, but want simply take a breath to return with more clarity of mind and more energy to make our dreams and, what is more important, God’s dreams, a reality.

What is this experience like? It is, forgives the redundancy, to withdraw to an isolated and tranquil place, if possible without connection to the network or with poor connection to it — as is my case –, because otherwise, we continue to be in the world in half the field. To go to a tranquil, silent place, without connection, is no small thing! To park our pending things and problems, as we will return soon enough to face them; we are not becoming Carthusians, our course is brief, a weekend or, if you have the opportunity as I do, weeks disconnected to recharge interior batteries.

Silence is the caretaker of life within. It’s the opportunity not to look outside, but to look within ourselves, to rummage in our interior to see what we find or, rather, Who we encounter. It’s a journey to the depth of our inner self, but not to satisfy our curiosity or to believe we are the navel of creation but – and  –here is part of the wonder and the secret, to encounter God deep inside of us. In this connection, a good retreat converts the necessary introspection into dialogue.

To discover God in the depth of our soul and to see how He manifests Himself discreetly in our life. How a spring gushes out from there where those spiritual strengths emerge to tackle the arduous battles that the outside world presents to us, that world that waits for us, that needs us and that offers us resistance. If many invest time and money to have a fit body, few, instead, invest time and money to have a fit soul. But Saint Augustine already said it, if I remember correctly, “the soul drags the body, even if the body is destroyed,: It’s worthwhile to invest in the soul, as our body deteriorates gradually and is limited whereas, without falling into any sort of dualism, the soul can mature little by little.

Great works usually don’t fail for lack of means, but for lack of spirit. Let’s give our soul a breath; let’s demonstrate to it that it’s important for us, for our lives, let us trust that if it’s good it will redound to our benefit, personal, family, and social benefit. Let’s give ourselves the opportunity to undertake a spiritual retreat in silence. Thus we will rediscover the peace, joy, and smile within us, which the world tries to snatch from us.