“Life is a journey, enjoy the ride”. Sometime ago a TV advert promoting a particular make of car used this slogan to help sell the vehicle. A catchy phrase, wouldn’t you say? After all, the car that they are trying to sell will take one from point a to point b, that’s the journey, and along the way, well, one will enjoy the ride!
Have we ever stopped to think, though, that if life is a journey, what are we doing about the journey of our life? From the 8th to the 13th and then from the 16th to the 20th of January respectively, 14 ladies and 7 men made a five-day retreat according to the method of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Whilst on this retreat they had plenty of time to think about the journey of their respective lives. Fundamental questions came to the fore: where do we come from? where are we going to? how are we going to get there? what are we doing to get there? what have we done in the past to hinder or help this journey?
The spiritual exercises being a journey of the soul, the retreatants were able to look into the journal of their soul i.e. their life. The retreat instructions are intense but deeply spiritual and if we want to “enjoy the ride” (a phrase I don’t like but I’ll use in this case anyway) then an extremely important question is asked at the very beginning of the retreat. This question does not apply to those on the retreat only, but to every single one of us and that is, why are we here on this earth? The reply, (and here the journey of our soul is to be found) is “to know, love and serve God in this life thereby saving my soul so as to be happy forever with Him in the next”. Simple, isn’t it, simple, straightforward, and sublime. I come from God, I go back to God, that’s the journey. How I live my life so as to ensure that I go back to Him…..well? Read on.
Retreatants were able to look into the journal of their soul and see how they had been faring. Were they still on track or had they veered off? A good and profound confession helped them to come back on to the straight and narrow path that Our Lord speaks of in the gospels or at least to confirm them in their perseverance on this road.
St. Teresa of Avila says that Our Lord is not loved because He is not known. The journey of our life is a journey of knowing Him, loving Him, and this so as to be the better able to serve Him. Our true home is heaven, here on earth we are but pilgrims, we are passing through only. The journey of our life thus must be for the salvation of our souls and for the greater glory of God. It’s all a question of conversion, that is back on to the right track, resolutions to help us stay on the track and finally perseverance to help us with our conversion and resolutions.
More retreats will be help in the future. For those who have never been on a retreat before we invite you to come along, open the book of the journal of your soul to see where you are with the journey of your life.