INDIVIDUALLY DIRECTED RETREATSIndividually directed retreats involve three parties, the Lord, the retreatant and a spiritual director. They are based upon the principles of St. Ignatius’ Spiritual Exercises. The Lord desires to draw closer to each of us in a relationship of love, and invites and inspires us to come aside to a secluded place and rest a while for that purpose (Mk 6:30-32). The retreatant is seeking a more intimate relationship with the Lord and perhaps the Lord’s will in some particular area of life. The retreatant responds willingly under grace to God’s call. She or he sets aside the normal occupations and preoccupations of daily life, and takes the time to grow quiet, to center, and to listen for what the Lord will say. Retreatants need experience in prayer, the ability to enter into silence, enough self-awareness to recognize his or her inward movements and feelings, and moments of consolation and desolation in prayer. Retreatants also need enough openness and trust to share these experiences with the director. The spiritual director is the “spiritual companion on the journey” with the retreatant . . . the journey being led by the Lord. The director listens to and encourages the retreatant in daily meetings to give voice to his or her experience in prayer and to come to a deeper understanding of that experience. Together they try to discover the movements of the Holy Spirit, to discern the direction God appears to be leading, and to choose topics for prayer that seem the most appropriate at that moment.
The Sacred Heart Court (Photo: Dave Brockman)