A retreat is a withdrawal from ordinary activities for a period of time to commune with God in prayer and reflection. Jesus spent forty days in the desert in prayer and fasting before entering his public ministry. A retreat refreshes and revitalizes, gives the opportunity for more time spent in prayer and contemplation.
A retreat rekindles and deepens one’s relationship with God. One may take this opportunity to more clearly hear God’s call and to seek God’s healing grace and thereby attain a degree of spiritual renewal. The purpose of a spiritual retreat, as an addition to daily spiritual activities, is to temporarily leave behind the usual distractions we all face for a time long enough to allow relaxation and for an inner change to occur: the ongoing conversion of mind and heart that is critical to deepening faith. The Catholic Encyclopedia describes the necessity of such retreats: “In the fever and agitation of modern life, the need for meditation and spiritual repose impresses itself on Christian souls who desire to reflect on their eternal destiny, and direct their life in this world towards God.”