Thursday, July 27, 2017
St. Ignatius Retreat House: A Week For Reflection

Four years ago I went on an Ignatian retreat at the Society of St. Pius X’s retreat house in Phoenix, Arizona.  The retreat was a very spiritually energizing time and one that left a mark on me.  As a Third Order Dominican, a retreat of at least 3 days is highly recommended in our Rule of Life – and for all Catholics, not just Dominicans, there is a plenary indulgence available to those who go on retreat for at least 3 days.

Yet over the past four years from work to my graduate coursework, I could not find time to go on a retreat.  This year I made it a personal resolution to go on retreat and I’m happy to share my experiences from my recent Ignatian retreat at St. Ignatius Retreat House in Ridgefield, CT.  This retreat is structured just as the one at Our Lady of Sorrows in Phoenix as it follows the Ignatian spiritual exercises and is led by SSPX priests.

My retreat began on July 10th (just a two weeks ago) and lasted through the subsequent Saturday at midday.  It was admittedly, a very difficult time.  As we are all accustomed to busy-ness and noise, I welcomed the opportunity to disconnect and pray.  Yet, for the same reason, it was by the end of the 2nd day, a very difficult endeavor.  It really helped me improve my patience, perseverance in trial, and helped me better restructure my life to the Lord’s will.

The retreat generally runs daily from 6 AM until 8:30 PM.  Retreatants rise at 6 AM and assemble for Prime at 6:30.  Meditation follows and then Mass at 7:15.  Breakfast is at 8 AM and then conferences until lunch time at 12:30 PM.  Then a series of afternoon conferences until Rosary at 6 PM.  Dinner is served at 6:30 PM and then one final conference at 7:30 PM.

The conferences follow the Ignatian Spiritual exercises which I have written on in the past.  For those who do not have a copy of “Christian Warfare,” the book is a must-have.  Not only does it contain the text of the Spiritual Exercises but it contains numerous prayers, the Mass prayers, devotions, Confession resources, and much more.  It is truly a book for those who wish to engage in the fight against the powers of darkness.

Some of my main takeaways from the retreat include:
  • Needing to better align my life to the Lord’s will
  • Making time each day and evening for meditation
  • Making time for 10 – 15 minutes of spiritual reading daily
  • A true acknowledgement that the devil is real and we are in a battle. He constantly fights us and tempts us.  Let us recall this to mind every single day and in all temptations.  He is real and he is really seeking to destroy us at every moment in the day.  Be vigilant and fight!
  • Heaven is hard – very hard.  Hell is real, and many souls go there forever
  • Confession requires true sorrow.  Don’t turn the Sacrament into a revolving door every month or week.  It is a real battle and it’s hard but we must fight temptations.
These were some of my insights from the meditations that followed each conference.  I am very grateful for the opportunity to have gone and prayed for everyone that reached out to me and requested special prayers.  I ask for your prayers that despite great difficulties, I better conform my life to the Lord’s will and fight the good fight.

For those who wish to learn more about going on retreat, please click here for the SSPX retreat site.  The site lists the many benefits of the retreats.  Find this time to spiritually recharge – your soul’s salvation may depend on it.

Photos From My Trip:

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