An hour or two of planning the night before the retreat is crucial to the success of a personal retreat. Here are some of the things to consider:
What time are you planning to start your retreat? Hint: a very early start is often a way to make the day seem really special. Watching the sun come up at your retreat site can be an effective beginning.
Where will you hold the retreat? Often, a secluded spot like a park or beach offers fewer distractions. May I suggest that you spend a part of the day walking, because exercise can stimulate thinking like nothing else. It’s OK to walk and pray simultaneously!
What will you do on your retreat? Prayer and meditation are obvious. Reading the Bible or other inspirational books or poems is often a blessing. Elsewhere on this web site you’ll find some other suggestions, but you won’t have any trouble coming up with your own. And, as your personal retreat day progresses, you’ll find wonderful ideas popping into your head, so keep the schedule flexible!
What about a one-day fast? For whatever reason, more moderate intake of food stimulates spirituality and thought. Check out the one-day fast portion of this site for some relatively painless suggestions.
What will you bring? The night before, not the morning of, pack the books, reading material, rosary or whatever else you have decided to include on your retreat. And don’t forget to pack something to eat.
Will you remember your day? I have found keeping a journal (a small notebook) is a great way to capture the many thoughts that come to me during the day, and a wonderful resource for subsequent retreats.
When you have finished your list and checked it twice, take the time to pray for a successful personal retreat. Get a good night’s sleep and be ready for a great day!