How to go on retreat without leaving your house

By: Lindsey Kettner, Relevant Radio®


We can’t always drop everything and go away on retreat when we need to refuel our spiritual lives and ourselves, so what are our options? “We need to create for ourselves a fueling station”, says Marge Fenelon, author and regular contributor to Morning Air®.  We think of a retreat as going away to a special place for an extended period of time and possibly spending quite a bit of money in the process, but Fenelon says that isn’t the only way to go on retreat.

How can we create a retreat setting in our own home? “You can do this because it’s a frame of mind,” says Fenelon. The key is “finding time amid what you have going on, to carve out time to just stop.”

She and her husband have done this, setting aside half a day or even an entire weekend to be on retreat. “The phones go off, the television goes off, and we don’t even look at the mail. We leave everything alone. Sometimes we even leave the shades down just to mentally shut off the outside world.” This helps them to create an atmosphere for silent time with God in their own home.

There are a few things that can help you to get into the right mindset to retreat into your spiritual life. You need something to focus on, which is of course, God. It can also be helpful to have something to get you started. Fenelon recommends some spiritual reading or devotion. It can also be helpful to have a goal, something you want to accomplish or direct your retreat time towards. “Perhaps you just want to feel God’s love, and so maybe you’ll read some passages from scripture or some special devotions that help you to meditate on God’s love for you.  Maybe you have a specific question that you need answered, so start reading some things or praying about things that might help you to reach that answer or at least be able to request an answer from Our Lord,” explains Fenelon.

It’s possible that the goal you set won’t be what you actually accomplish with your retreat. “God may, in the middle of it, say ‘nope, that’s not what I want you to do; I want you to do this other thing.’ And that’s fine, but at least it gets you started.”