Recently, I read a book by one of my favorite historic spiritual directors: Reginald Somerset Ward, Lord and Giver of Life. It’s a collection of retreat talks on the Holy Spirit. I paraphrased some of his practical counsel about fully engaging a personal retreat:
The body on retreat
- Sleep well. Try for eight hours per day.
- Eat well. Three healthy, light meals helps. If you are drawn to fast at some point, do so as an offering to God and not an obligation.
- Set aside a couple of hour blocks for recreation. Be outside if possible. Take a walk. Read something enjoyable. Listen to good music.
Discipline on retreat
- Honor the guideline of silence. Resist the temptation to unnecessary talk or noise.
- Turn your phone to silent mode or, if at all possible, turn it off. A person who is always available isn’t worth enough when he is available.
- Whatever you discern God inviting you to do as a result of your retreat, seek to make it as specific as possible as far as the when, who, where and how long. Simpler is usually better in these things.
Blessing others in retreat
- Find a way to do something loving, kind and good for another each day of your retreat. Write a note. Do something kind. Give a gift.
What practical advice would you have for someone planning to make a personal retreat?