Is a Silent Retreat Impossible?

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"Is a silent retreat impossible?" by Meg Herriot (CatholicMom.com)

Image credit: Pixabay.com (2014), CC0/PD

I remember when 20 years ago, I first heard of going on a silent retreat. I thought that would be impossible for me. I’m not sure if I was an extrovert who became an introvert, or always been some type of combination but back in my young adulthood I thought it would be impossible for me to be silent. Now I long for it.

If you’ve ever considered a silent retreat, or been scared to do one. I have a word of advice: DO IT!

I did my first silent retreat about 8 years ago. It was difficult, but surprisingly refreshing. I’ve done a few more since then. In this time of XM radio, DVRs on our TV’s, podcasts, easy access to phones and Facebook and messaging, it’s important for us to slow down, and attempt silence.

Now, while my lips may not have spoken during the silent retreat, my brain certainly did. I think it took about 30 hours on the retreat before my brain stopped the constant dialogue in my head. There are often talks, music and other noises you hear on retreat — it’s not like you are locked in a dark room with silence. Doing retreats in natural settings can also be great; my retreat was in an urban setting with some natural spaces.

I am a person who both as a mom and as a professional, typically needs to multi-task. My brain has to be processing multiple responsibilities, questions, and problems at the same time. Much like other moms, I’m sure. Just like we are often the last to go to the dentist, or to the doctor, we are often the last to take care of ourselves. Whether time and money allow you to take a silent retreat at a place separate from your home, or it’s a matter of leaving your kids in front of the TV so you can have a few minutes of silence, remember and try to put silent moments in your lives. Even if it’s driving in the car to pick up the kids, turn off the radio occasionally to retreat to silence. I’ve found that silence is not really silence, but an invitation to listen and invitation to give gratitude to our Creator.

Have you considered or done a silent retreat? What do you think?


Copyright 2019 Meg Herriot

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About Author

Meg Herriot is a veterinarian and Third Order Dominican. She enjoys spending time with family, friends, and pets and blogging at All Creatures Great and Crazy about being a veterinarian, mother, wife and most of all a Catholic trying to grow closer to God in a chaotic world.

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