Friday, August 26, 2011
Recently I was reading Dr.Alex Tang's post on Face Book (FB) about a personal retreat he had taken in the middle of August. I asked him on FB where did he go for his retreat. To my surprise he had it at his home. Usually people go away from home for a retreat, but Dr.Tang stayed at home. He said he has done retreats this way several times before.
People from different religions take retreats, and I have read some by Christians like Pastor Kenny Chee of Singapore on his blog called blogpastor.blogspot.com. It is always interesting to read what others did during the retreat. Dr.Tang said he read Gospel of John and Gordon Macdonald's Buiildiing Below the Waterline during his retreat. Beside these reading materials, he sang hymns on each day of the retreat.
Personally, I feel one of the main aim of retreat is to get closer to God because in our daily existence we are usually busy and may neglect our spiritual needs. In retreats we are usually away from home, and we have specific time set a side to communicate and listen to God. Dr.Tang said we take retreats may be to seek God in making an important decision, or we are on a cross-road, seeking Him before entering a certain ministry, also to reflect on what has happened and to enjoy the presence of our Lord.
According to Dr.Tang there are two types of retreat, a) non guided retreat b) guided retreat. In non guided retreat you conduct the retreat yourself and it is advisable to use this method when you have more experiences in retreat. The guided retreat is for novices, here a director guides you in reading the Words, discussion and centering your thoughts on God.
Silent seem to be a key in retreat. As I read some blogs about retreat usually after a initial instruction from the director, one is to keep silent in prayer, meditation, reflection and reading the Words. At the end of the day members may meet up for meals and fellowship.
One day I would like to go to a guided retreat.
There are certainly many retreats all over the world. In Chiangmai, Thailand there is one called Seven Fountains retreat (www.thesevenfountains.org). It is run by the Jesuit.
To read Dr.Alex Tang's blog click on the title of this post.
Seven Fountains Retreat, Chiangmai.
Jesuit Retreat House, Cleveland Ohio.