1. Intention: Open yourself up to the experience
Open yourself to the retreat and to God, make an act of surrender, trusting God and inviting him to guide your prayer as He wants it to be. Offer him this time and yourself, allow him to use and guide all your thoughts and imagination, feelings and affections. Ask him for the grace of prayer, bring to him what you wish and desire.
2. Recognition: Give thanks for God’s love
Reflect and give thanks for the love that God has for you. If God’s love feels like an abstract concept, so big and beyond, a retreat is a chance to recognize the moments of grace we take for granted, the times I’ve experienced his healing and presence, to recognize that God lives within me, and know that he comes especially in each of my daily, personal relationships.
3. Meditation: Silent prayer with his word
Slowly read from a gospel passage or reflect on the talks, paying attention to what stands out or resonates within you. Silent time praying with the Word of God is a means of hearing that Word as spoken personally to us today. Meditate on the truths present, ponder them with love, and your heart will move to embrace them with a greater love and desire.
4. Reconciliation: Move closer to God
A retreat is time to close the gap caused by sin between ourselves and God, by experiencing His forgiveness. Reflect on times God has forgiven us, on people we may need to forgive, and those from whom we may need to ask for forgiveness. Consider how we must accept and incorporate His forgiveness in our lives: resentment and shame hold us back from loving more fully.
5. Resolution: Give yourself to God
As the fruit of your surrender and thanksgiving, your meditation and reconciliation, you are invited to offer something to God. You could write a prayer or an expression of love for God and set an intention for how to embody this love in your life. Our encounter with God in prayer calls us to act on and share what we have received, for love is expressed in deeds, not just words.