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  • Rick Akins

Why do they call it a retreat?

A few weeks ago, I went to a spiritual retreat, put on by a wonderful group of men within the Joliet Diocese called Fishers of Men (stay tuned for more information about FOM!).

This weekend-long event was lifechanging in many ways. And it left me wondering - why do they call these events 'retreats'? The seventy men who attended the event certainly did not 'retreat', we left the event 'all-in' and fully dedicated and active in our faith. Strengthened by the power of the Holy Spirit, the forgiveness we received through Christ, and the comradeship of our fellow Catholics.

Three men jumped out at me. Two were a father-son dynamic duo. One lived locally, the other in Texas, and from what was set it was clear there had been issues within the family in the past. But they two did not 'retreat' into their own corners and live separated in the dark bowels of shame and guilt. By the end, the father stood and, before many weepy eyes, called down God's blessings upon his child, leaving the rest of us desperate to rush off to do the same.

The third man stood up and apologized for not having the same type of deeply moving story. "I'm doing pretty well," he said. And yet he, too, understood that God does not want us to just 'do pretty well'. We are not to retreat into complacency and our wealth. God wants to bless even those he's already blessed with overwhelming strength to progress further and deeper into the faith, and into the greater family of God on earth.

A 'retreat'? Hardly. A call to go on the offensive. To serve the Lord with all we have.

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