Posted by: Thomas Richard | April 26, 2012

Taking Time to Prayerfully Listen

From Pope Benedict XVI, in a General Audience 4/25/2012:

“Prayer, nourished by faith and enlightened by God’s word, enables us to see things in a new way and to respond to new situations with the wisdom and insight bestowed by the Holy Spirit. In our own daily lives and decisions, may we always draw fresh spiritual breath from the two lungs of prayer and the word of God; in this way, we will respond to every challenge and situation with wisdom, understanding and fidelity to God’s will.”

Looking Glass Falls in the Pisgah National Forest of North Carolina (photo – Looking Glass Falls  – R. Thomas Richard © 2010)

A retreat is a time away from the usual busyness of life – a time to listen to God in quietness, in moments alone (and sometimes with others who are also listening and seeking for God). How we need such time in silence and peace to reach out, interiorly, for His wisdom and guidance! During such a retreat now many years ago I heard Christ calling me, and I knew in my heart that my life had to change. I knew that unless I became His disciple I would die to face His final judgment. I did resolve to become His disciple, and everything changed for me. A few years later during a different retreat I met Deborah, who first became my true friend in Jesus and later became my wife in Him: our marriage was a gift from His hand.

Clearly, Deborah and I have reason to believe in the importance and power of retreats! We can meet God in the quiet times, the times apart. We can hear Him, and He can change us; He can heal us. He can renew us. In the following years Deborah and I have participated in, and have led, a good number of retreats. We have always been blessed to do so. I am saddened, frankly, that many Catholics have never experienced such times apart! Many do catch a moment here and there of resting in Him, of listening for Him, of sensing His holy Presence! But then the world too soon recalls them, and they rush back to busyness and hurrying and noise – wondering, perhaps, why it must be this way in life.

A different kind of retreat

Deborah and I know the value of taking time apart – for prayer, for listening, for recollection in a place of beauty that offers solitude and quiet. We are thinking about possibly offering a somewhat different kind of retreat – and we wonder if we offered it, would any Catholics come. Suppose we selected some place of beauty, like a state or national park where camping is allowed, and we offered a retreat there! People would need to like to “camp” – whether in a camper, or RV, or (for those young enough!) a tent – but such a place would offer much natural beauty, opportunity for quiet walks alone or for walks with others having a focus on the things and truths of God. And in such a place we could gather at scheduled times in the day for Bible study, for prayer, for spiritual talks and discussions – with free time as well for just being in the beauty of God’s creation.

Please help us as we pray about offering such retreats! What are your thoughts about such a thing? Do you think any would come to such a retreat? Would you come? Leave a post – or email us at

Blessings, Thomas


  1. Dear Thomas,

    Thanks for posting the beautiful quote of Pope Benedict XVI on our need for prayer, and for your own words on the true value of taking time to listen prayerfully — especially on a retreat! It is a tremendous joy to remember all the blessings of our past retreats: personal blessings to us, as well as the many persons who have shared their blessings on retreats with us.

    I hope we will hear from those who will read this blog entry. May the Lord work in all our hearts the great good He desires for us, (cf Rom 8:28), as we open ourselves, by His Grace, to make more room for Him!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: