It’s been more than a year since I took a retreat away from home. Lots of us miss the silence, the prayers and the feeling of being cocooned in God’s love.
The spiritual exercises of Ignatius of Loyola are the framework for many retreats. At least two books offer an “at-home” version that would allow you to enjoy a retreat in safety.
“Journey with Jesus: Discovering the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius” by Larry Warner is the newest, published in 2010. It comes from a Protestant perspective. No matter our stage of faith or age, this one helps us experience Jesus. Warner even includes a part in the beginning that asks “Is this book for you?” Some of those indicators include:
- Do you have a strong desire to know Jesus more intimately, love him more fully and follow him more wholeheartedly?
- Do you want to live with an internal awareness that God is in you as you live, move and have your being, and to find God in all things?
- Are you willing to follow Jesus in good times and bad?
- Are you open to having your theology and image of Jesus challenged and expanded?
Warner’s retreat includes daily exercises for at least four weeks. He also suggests that you have a spiritual director. Many are doing Zoom meetings in the pandemic. So you can find one by asking your church leaders or searching online by typing spiritual direction and your town. Be sure the director shares your faith.
The second choice is a classic: “A Do-It-at-Home Retreat: The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola” by Andre Ravier, S.J. First published in 1989, the book has been republished regularly, so the cover may look different. The four-week daily retreat comes from a Catholic perspective, containing background on prayer types.
At the time he wrote this, Fr. Ravier had been conducting retreats for more than 30 years. He designed the book for “those who want to sincerely place themselves face-to-face with God so as to order their lives along his loving designs.”
We can use the time at home as fall deepens to deepen our own spirituality. Try a retreat!