Ok. Admit it. Sometimes as Catholics we can start feeling like we’re stuck in a rut in our spiritual lives. Going to mass every Sunday becomes a weekly ritual of the same old thing, but with minor variations. You already know most of the stories in the gospel by heart. And, after listening to your pastor’s homilies every week, you may already have a pretty good idea where his homily is leading to, this week as well. Maybe your prayer life has become dry, or non-existent? And if you go to confession at all, it may have become more of a laundry list than a true disclosure of the state of your soul. Let’s admit it. The spark of the Holy Spirit is gone. Practicing your faith has become more of a chore, than the life giving blessing it was meant to be.
If this is all true, then what can you do about it?
A one day or weekend retreat might just be the thing you need, to renew your faith, calm your soul, refresh your body and open your heart to the Holy Spirit at work in your life again.
The ultimate spiritual retreat in Indiana can be found at St. Meinrad Archabby in St. Meinrad, Ind. It’s a bit pricey for a weekend retreat, but the deep sense of holiness, of peace, healing and connection with other Catholics is well worth the expense. While you learn about a topic that interests you, you will also be able to participate in the monks prayers and daily mass. A private chapel offers ample opportunities for some quiet prayer time in front of the tabernacle, and is an excellent way to prepare for confession with a Benedictine priest, later during the retreat. The monks give guided tours of the church in the afternoon and the beautiful grounds at St. Meinrad encourage time away for silence, solitude, prayer and contemplation. By the time you leave St. Meinrad, you will have found a deep sense of peace and healing, renewal of your Catholic faith, and a profoundly deeper relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ.
A one day road trip to The Shrine of Christ’s Passion in St. John, Indiana, is a great way for couples or friends to have some bonding time together while driving to the shrine, but the really unique experience is the shrine itself. The passion story is vividly brought to life as you walk through the different stations that portray the events in Jesus’ life, from the last supper to his ascension into heaven. It makes you feel almost like you were really there in person. The life sized statues are very realistic and moving. Each station tells a story about the scene, but with some new facts that you may not have ever heard before. The whole experience feels so profoundly real and gives you an entirely new perspective on the story of Christ’s death and resurrection from what you’ve always known. And if you make a quick stop in the large gift shop on the way out, you can purchase some unique religious items that are not usually found in stores near your home.
For frazzled young mothers or stressed out office workers, that need to take a break and regroup spiritually, but do not have a lot of time or money, Fatima Retreat House in Indianapolis is the perfect place to step off the treadmill and relax for a day. In addition to their normal retreat programs, Fatima Retreat House offers a one day, silent, non-guided reflection day. Relax in your own private room, read a book, walk the grounds, pray the labyrinth or the stations of the cross, or pray in their beautiful chapel. It only costs $30 for the day and includes a continental breakfast and lunch.
If you really don’t have the money for a retreat right now, but would like to experience a deeper renewal of your faith, a self guided retreat at home on the weekend is a good solution. A nun from the Divine Mercy Chapel in Indianapolis recommends this book for a spiritual retreat at home and it really is wonderful: ‘Consoling The Heart of Jesus,’ by Father Michael E. Gaitley. The book only costs about $15 and is very simple and easy to use, to transform your own home into your own personal retreat center in just one weekend.
This weekend is the perfect opportunity to try something new, rejuvenate your faith, and strengthen the bonds of family and friendships in your life. May the peace of Jesus go with you, on this new journey toward a deeper relationship with God.