Plug in to the living God
Taking time our for a retreat can help us to reconnect with God in a powerful way . .
I haven’t gone on a retreat in a while, but I think this is my year. There’s a lot of wisdom in stepping out of our fast-paced world where instant communication — and gratification — are part of our everyday experience.
Don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing wrong with instant communication. It helps make life in the 21st century one of the most exciting times in human history. It enables us to spread the Good News around the world in a microsecond. Nor is there anything wrong with most kinds of instant gratification. My handy microwave, for example, allows me to have a hot lunch in less than a minute.
However, the instantaneousness of our culture can be all-consuming. It can also be a distraction from the things that matter most. Many of us — I dare say, most of us — don’t take enough time alone with God. My hand is raised because I’m in that camp. I’m quick to ask God for the things I need and to say “thank you” for prayers answered — but the truth is, my prayer time is inadequate.
One thing that taking quiet time for prayer does — especially on retreat — is help us recognize who we are in relation to God. With every year that goes by — or even with every nanosecond, for that matter — we are each closer to our final destination. The Church teaches very clearly that we have two options: heaven or hell. (Purgatory is just a pit stop along the way to heaven.) The choice is ours. We either choose Christ and his Church to the best of our ability or we walk away from it and do our own thing.
That might seem a little black and white, but Christ taught in pretty clear terms. He didn’t say, “I am one of the ways.” He said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you know me, then you will also know my Father” (Jn 14:6-7). I love this passage because Jesus is very clear in his final discourse to the disciples before his passion and death. His mission was to make God the Father known and open heaven to a fallen human race. How do we achieve the end for which we all were created? By knowing Jesus. Knowing Jesus means more than knowing about him. It means taking the time (prayer) to cultivate a relationship with the One who knows us best. Backed by Jesus himself, our mission to evangelize is made so much easier.
I’m looking forward my retreat later this year. I’m not sure where or when, but I know that God will provide the opportunity. One of my other resolutions for 2011 is to take more time away from my laptop, desktop and iPhone. If I unplug from my electronics a little more, I’ll have more time to plug in to the One who is my ultimate destination.
Patrick Novecosky is Legatus Magazine’s editor.