Retreat

Do you ever want to disconnect from the world for a week–or longer–and go somewhere far from civilization? That’s me. My husband has expressed this to me as well.

I often find myself wondering how I’d adapt to living in a cabin in the woods, or a cave in the side of a mountain. Perhaps it’s wishful thinking, but I’d like to at least try it for a short time and see what happens!

I feel so bombarded with work and life in general. My brain is foggy, I’m exhausted and in pain from sciatica, and I’m procrastinating on certain things. I am mentally and physically drained lately. I think this is why I want to hit the road and find peace somewhere. I want to escape. Yet, responsibilities and family keep me where I am.

I think about Jesus’ 40 days of fasting in the desert, when Satan tempted Him three times.

Then Jesus was led by the spirit into the desert, to be tempted by the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterwards he was hungry. And the tempter coming said to him: If thou be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. Who answered and said: It is written, Not in bread alone doth man live, but in every word that proceedeth from the mouth of God. Then the devil took him up into the holy city, and set him upon the pinnacle of the temple, And said to him: If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down, for it is written: That he hath given his angels charge over thee, and in their hands shall they bear thee up, lest perhaps thou dash thy foot against a stone. Jesus said to him: It is written again: Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God. Again the devil took him up into a very high mountain, and shewed him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them, And said to him: All these will I give thee, if falling down thou wilt adore me. Then Jesus saith to him: Begone, Satan: for it is written, The Lord thy God shalt thou adore, and him only shalt thou serve. Then the devil left him; and behold angels came and ministered to him.

Matthew 4:1-11 (Douay-Rheims)

Because Jesus is both human and divine, He experienced hunger. Any human would be severely hungry after 40 days of fasting. Satan tried so hard to get Jesus to succumb, but he failed every time. What’s amazing to me is He knew He’d be tempted because the spirit revealed it to Him, and He went anyway.

I think Jesus shows us in these verses that Satan can and should be resisted. Satan had the audacity to tempt God himself, and was defeated. As humans it’s only inevitable that we succumb to temptation. But if we call on God to help us, we can certainly get through it every time and know that we’ll be forgiven. Confession makes that possible.

Satan hurls our sins at us, but when we then confess to a priest and renounce our sin, we can start over. I’m thinking of the popular phrase, “If life gives you lemons, make lemonade”. Along a similar vein: If Satan makes you look at your sins and despair, give them to Jesus and find peace.

I want my desire to disconnect from the world to coincide with Jesus’ departure into the desert. He was getting ready for His mission during this time, as this was right after His baptism by John the Baptist. I can’t say I want to be tempted by Satan, but I do want to grow in holiness. It feels so impossible right now to make any significant progress. But that very well could be Satan already whispering in my ear.

I can grow in holiness right now. I must, if I want to teach my child about the faith. It would be nice to go on a retreat when those are available again. At some point, I’d still love to disconnect at least for a little while with my husband and child, where we spend our days growing as a family and spending time in prayer. In a sense, it’ll be like preparing for our own mission with the help of God.