The symptoms of spiritual weakness are not easy to discover in the hurly-burly of daily life. Marie Bernadette suggests how a retreat might be the answer.
THE REALISATION of the needs of our soul is not easy. When our body is ill we notice through the signs of pain and sickness, so how can we know the state of our soul when it has no physical existence and therefore no physical signs of its ill health.
Failing of the spirit is recognisable if we dare to look, praise is replaced by sadness on the slow road down to nowhere — the spiritual doldrums no less. It is a time of great suffering, a time of great anguish, it is a time of powerlessness with no way out. Yet it can often be a time when God reveals himself to us in a 'great moment'.
One needs the courage to wait, one needs confidence to carry on the spiritual quest, but above all one needs honesty with oneself. Without honesty there can be no realisation of the state of our soul and its needs. If we are not honest with ourselves are we likely to be honest with those who can help us?
What we need is to find ourselves again, but how? Increasingly we see young Catholics turning to gurus, to anyone or anything which can give them a solution, an answer.
Does Catholicism therefore have no answer? Or is it that there is an answer; the way out, the release from the spiritual doldrums that is so close that we cannot see it?
We need to sit down quietly with God to be able to experience his overpowering love for us. We can do this, we have the facilities to do this and the special environment to do this in, simply by going on a retreat.
We can choose to do this in the environment of a retreat house by ourselves, or we can be guided by one who knows, the retreat giver. So choose help rather than isolation, guidance rather than frustration and retreat to move forward.