"In those days, Jesus went out to the mountain to pray, and He spent the night in prayer to God." Luke 6:12
This weekend I was on retreat with other deacons and deacon wives at the quiet and scenic Loyola on the Potomac, an event I have looked forward to each year.
In military warfare, retreat is the turning away from the enemy in the face of perceived possible defeat, but to regroup, get reinforcements, and fight again.
In business and other organizations, a retreat is going away to a different environment to assess operating results and make a plan for the future.
A spiritual retreat, on the other hand, connotes a retreating from the hustle and bustle of one's ordinary world into a place where one can spend ample time communing with God, so he can be energized when he goes back to the world he has temporarily left behind.
Loyola Retreat House overlooking the Potomac River and Virginia on the other side is a perfect place for a spiritual retreat. The view is picture perfect: the serene waters of the River and Virginia on the horizon under the clear blue sky beautifully framed by green lawn and trees.
God is definitely present in His creation around the Potomac. But more palpably so is His presence in the tabernacle in the chapel where His Real Presence is exposed for us to adore, and at Mass where we receive Him as Food for our souls.
Not everyone is afforded the luxury of communing with God in a formal retreat setting like Loyola's with a retreat master where a disciple can sit at the foot of the Master, learn from Him and commune with Him. But everyone can commune with the Omnipresent God at any place and time. For God is present in our hearts especially when we invite and welcome Him there:
In the privacy of our room, in the quiet of our car as we drive alone, or walk to work or recreation, in the company of our children and grandchildren who Jesus Himself calls the greatest in the kingdom of heaven . . . God Himself is there . . . We can commune with God there.
I have looked forward to a retreat each year. . . I am also looking forward with longing to be on my final retreat, when I hope to be communing with God . . . to be in "com unio," "union with" the Lord of the Universe . . . forever.
Isn't that what we all hope and long for?#
Rather, as it is written: “- No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no heart has imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him.” 1 Cor 2:9