Don’t defeat, retreat! Since my Lent Madness brackets continue to fall in (mildly) ignominious defeats, Lenten Fridays seem like the right day to continue introducing the (other) great Lenten disciplines discovered and honed by generations of our Christian forebears. For instance, Lent is a terrific time to take a personal retreat! Get…out…of… Dodge…for….a…little…while. While ECOT’ers are excellent travelers for just about any reason, how many of us have taken dedicated time to leave our homes and take a short, brief private retreat to spend uninterrupted time with God? I contend that a private Lenten retreat may return ten-fold spiritual fruit beyond calculation for the time and energy it takes to get away. 24 hours is good. 48 hours is even better! But even 8 hours somewhere else, with no distraction, no tech and no wifi connectivity, can be enormously beneficial.
Where to go? Cathedral Ridge, our Colorado Episcopalian retreat and conference center in Woodland Park, three hours away. Saint Benedict’s Monastery in old Snowmass, just over an hour away (as I drive). Sacred Heart Retreat House, Sedalia. Franciscan Retreat Center, Colorado Springs. Saint Malo’s, Allenspark. For the more adventurous, both geographically and spiritually, my most beloved site of Christ in the Desert Monastery outside of Abiquiu, New Mexico, five hours due south of us adjacent to Ghost Ranch. We enjoy a convenient treasure trove of nearby provocative locations set up to host us! When? Soon! As soon as possible! Why not a good Lenten retreat to prepare for Holy Week and Easter. What? A silent retreat? A reading retreat with scripture as the foundation? A journaling retreat to reflect and record your insights? A guided retreat with a spiritual director or staff member from these locations, or some help from Denise, Emily, myself or others? A walking retreat, hiking about in several of these locales? A praying retreat, joining the daily worship of these communities at prayer? Or any and all of the above? In Christian life sometimes the best way forward is to take a step back and out! Retreat!!
- Have you ever taken a personal, private spiritual retreat? If so, could you repeat this Lent? If not, would you consider examining your calendar to identify one to two days during which you could?
- Would you research the various sites I’ve presented above to see which one resonates or calls you most provocatively to experience first-hand?
- Would you accept my challenge to schedule and complete such a retreat before Palm Sunday, April 5th? Feel free to call upon me or any of leaders for guidance, suggestions, support or financial assistance to complete this challenge!