Way back in March, I read an article in the Los Angeles Times about retreats. The focus was on helping people find retreat experiences where they could get away from everything, have some quiet time, and get recharged.
What surprised and saddened me was the fact that there wasn't a single reference to Christianity or Christian retreat centers.
Of course, I'm biased in this direction, and I also know that for over 2,000 years, Christians have made their way to the desert, the mountains, beaches, and quiet urban places to encounter God. For centuries, Christians have practiced meditation, mindfulness, and silence.
In our fast-paced world, we all need to take a break from time to time. From their earliest beginnings, places like Old Mission Santa Barbara have opened their doors to those seeking a retreat from their daily life. There are over thirty Jesuit retreat centers in the United States, and their offerings range from Spiritual Direction, daily and weekend retreats, to St. Ignatius' own 30 day silent retreat using his Spiritual Exercises.
While I was in Washington DC this spring for my doctoral studies, I found out that the Franciscan Monastery there had recently built a hermitage for anyone wishing to make a silent retreat.
This simple building was built in the midst of the monastery's 42 acres, all just minutes away from the craziness of downtown Washington.
I can only image how popular this place must be. Sadly, this little hermitage is only for one person, and they only have one on the property.
Even though most of us live fast paced and sometimes frantic lives, I'm grateful that just about everyone reading these words can find a quiet, inexpensive, faith-based retreat center to visit, whether it's just for an hour or thirty days.
I hope you'll take advantage of their offerings sometime soon. Don't you think you're ready for a little retreating just about now?