There are many different ways to make a retreat (spiritual exercises), but it is helpful to know that the custom dates back to the time of Our Lord who, on occasion, would take His apostles and disciples off to some remote place to rest a while in prayer and contemplation (see Lk 5:16 and Mk 1:35). St. Paul also made a retreat in Damascus after the Lord knocked him off his horse and blinded him (see Acts 9:7-20).
Today, Catholics have many opportunities to make retreats: alone in silence, directed with a group, or even weekend retreats for couples. Some programs that come to mind are the Retreat Hostels hosted by Carthusians, Benedictines and Carmelites; Jesuit Ignatian retreats at various retreat centers around the country; Christ Renews His Parish retreats; Cursillo retreats; TEC (Teens Encounter Christ retreats); or even retreats sponsored by Opus Dei at various retreat centers around the country. Besides these, many dioceses have their own retreat houses for the use of the faithful.
If you have never been on a retreat, do not delay. It is a good practice for every adult Catholic to make a weekend retreat each year. Why? To get to know Jesus Christ better and love Him more deeply.
Rev. Francis Hoffman, J.C.D., is Executive Director of Relevant Radio.