Sep 19, 2016, 10:17 AM
It has become a weekly occurrence during the Season of Lent that Christians go on retreat. Retreats are special days and times that are set aside for people to go away from their homes to places of prayer and renewal.
Jesus Christ as stated in the Bible, took time off to retreat from his work of preaching, healing and feeding the hungry to go and reflect and pray. Sometimes he took along his disciples and enabled them to experience going away from work to a prayerful experience with God.
Before Jesus took up his public ministry as stated in the Bible, Mt. 4: 1-11, Mk. 1: 12-13 and Lk. 4: 1-13, he entered into the wilderness for forty days. The wilderness or desert is known in biblical terminology as place of isolation, fasting and prayer. In fact in Christian terminology, there is a phrase called, “desert day”, meaning day of prayer and fasting.
Jesus also in these texts of the Bible, Mt. 17: 1-8, Mk. 9: 2-8 and Lk. 9: 28-36, took along with him Peter, James and John up a hill to pray. While there he prayed and the miracle of God was manifested as Jesus was encountered by two great prophets of God, Moses and Elijah.
The essence of Jesus going up the hill was always to be in prayer which is one way of communicating with God, the Father. Another Christian or biblical phraseology states, “on the mountain the Lord will provide”. God is associated with the mountain as in experience of Moses the prophet, Ex 3.
From the foregoing references in the bible and what happened in the life of Jesus, Christians emulate and take time to go on retreat for the purpose of prayer for their needs and the needs of their families.
Lent is a time of renewal of one’s faith and so going on retreat enables the Christian believer to experience renewal. One of the activities of retreats is the listening to spiritual talks based on the bible given by priests. Most of these talks are means of inspiration for the Christian believer as they bear references of biblical teachings which the Christians study to practice in their lives.
The spiritual talks motivate the Christian believer to be strong in faith to resist temptations that come their way. Many testimonies are given after retreat experiences where Christians talk about their strength and joy in the Lord. They normally feel greater prayer experience and cherish the Lenten season more.
Last weekend, groups like St. Joseph Ex Pupils, Marie Rivier Associates, Sang Marie Vous, the Lectors Group, Catholic Women Association of St. Therese’s, Association of Sierra Leonean Catholics, were all on retreats. The retreats took place in Shalom Fajara, Kunkujang Mariama and in many parishes of the Greater Banjul Area.