What's on your list of things to do or accomplish in 2012? If "go on retreat" isn't on there, you really should think about adding it to the bottom of the list. Or, actually, to the very top. There's nothing like a retreat, especially a silent retreat, to get your spiritual house in order and reinvigorate your prayer life.
If you need a little inspiration, check out this "Personal Journey" article about a five-day retreat at the Jesuit Center in Wernersville, Pa., in the New York Times. It's a beautiful reflection on the power of silent prayer and a little spiritual direction to set even the most chaotic and complicated life on a better track. Click HERE to read the piece by Susan Gregory Thomas.
Over on Huffington Post today, there's another helpful article on "Reviving Your Religious Life in 2012." Among the contributors is Jesuit Father James Martin, who offers these words of wisdom:
The best way to jumpstart your spiritual life is with the examen. Popularized by St. Ignatius Loyola, this quick prayer helps you find God in your daily life. Normally done at the end of the day, it has five steps. First, remind yourself that you're in the presence of God. Second, remember things for which you are grateful today -- anything from a good breakfast to a phone call that lifted your spirits. Savor them and thank God. Third, see where you failed to be loving. Fourth, ask God for forgiveness. Fifth, ask for the grace to see God tomorrow. The examen helps you see where God was active in your day. And once you see where God has been it becomes easier to see where God is.
Read the rest of the tips (from people of various faiths) by clicking HERE.
I was lucky enough to spend a long weekend praying with the Trappist monks of the Abbey of the Genesee out near Rochester, N.Y., this fall. You can read about my experience with silence over at my own blog, Not Strictly Spiritual, by clicking HERE. You can also find yesterday's post about my avoidance of New Year's resolutions in favor of long-term, broader "goals." Click HERE to read that.
Do you have any spiritual goals on your 2012 list? Any retreat plans? If so, what are your favorite retreat centers?