Holy Week 2018 – Retreat in Daily Life

Image of the Crucifixion of ChristIs right for you?

The fact that you are reading this suggests that Jesus is probably already calling you to spend more time in quiet with him. Jesus’ first words to the disciples in St John’s Gospel are:

‘What are you looking for?’

(John 1: 38).

  • Are you tired, and simply need to rest with Jesus? 
  • Are you facing a life-changing decision and need to reflect and sort it out?
  • Do you long for some spiritual ‘peace and quiet’, or is it that you are feeling drawn more deeply into prayer and need some special time to allow it to develop?

Jesus is asking you:   “WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING FOR?”…..

….This may be a first step.

Why join this retreat?

  • No cost.
  • You set the pace
  • No experience required
  • Relaxed and confidential
  • Fits around your life

What is a retreat?

‘Retreat’, means ‘to withdraw, to drawback.’ Throughout the ages, the Christian tradition has understood Retreat to be an important part of life. Time consciously set aside for God, a change of focus, a deliberate act of stepping outside of normal routine by withdrawing (not running away) from the noise and pressures; the immediate and insistent claims of our social, domestic and workaday responsibilities in order to be in a quiet place where all our senses are open and ready to listen to God. Evelyn Underhill spoke of this as ‘loitering with intent.’  Very few of us have the time nor indeed the money to take time out of our family and work lives. 

But this retreat is different! 

Retreat is all about Prayer

Not in terms of asking God for stuff, but prayer understood as becoming aware of God in all of life. The goal of our retreat is to be as fully present as we can be to God, ourselves, and the moment – not elsewhere, so that in ‘keeping company with God’ we take the opportunity to give quality time to re-collect, re-member, re-examine – that which is important and central, so like ‘humpty-dumpty’, we can be ‘put back together again’…. holy week is a good time to do that and without needing to leave our normal life this is an opportunity to step outside our every day life without affecting our families and commitments.

Retreat is all about Pilgrimage

As followers of Jesus we are all part of an ongoing faith journey from ‘captivity to freedom’, which takes place in the ‘landscape of the heart’. Retreat is pilgrimage because it is ‘the symbolic acting out of an inner journey’. We begin to take stock of our lives and look for that which really counts.

Hence retreat is a journey to the centre of the spiritual world of our own inner life, just as Holy Week is a journey to the centre of our Spiritual world in following Jesus.  To stop, to withdraw from the pace of life, allows stuff to come to the surface. So, to truly open our hearts to God often means that we discover what Thomas Merton called ‘the inner contradictions’ and ‘chaotic forces’ that are happening all around us/within us.

So, in taking a retreat we must bear in mind that God is at work, and that the inner journey stuff is not always pretty. We can also see that the purpose of retreat is to dispel illusion, set aside distraction and to walk with Jesus through Holy Week.

Retreat is all about Perspective

This is the greatest benefit of retreat as it gives fresh ways of seeing; opens new possibilities, enabling ‘familiarity to no longer breed contempt’. Perspective gives the ability to see a situation objectively, stepping back to gain a bigger view like seeing a circus parade from an upstairs window rather than through a hole in the fence at ground level. It is to see things as others do; and especially as God sees it!

This is our principal aim in going on the retreat – to stop, listen, reflect, pray, share so that we see with new eyes, think with new minds, so that even though we have to go back into the very same situations, the same set of circumstances, the same roles, responsibilities and relationships that we left behind to come to the place of retreat, we do so having changed inside.

In summary

To quote Henri Nouwen we ‘can be preoccupied with being occupied.’ To be too busy, on the go all the time not only brings exhaustion without, but also a fragmentation within. This results in a disconnection, (with self, family, church, God) leading to compartmentalisation, resulting in ‘a vague discontent where our lives stagnate in a resigned acceptance’ preventing us from actively seeking new discoveries of God.

The Holy Week retreat can help dispel this murkiness of discontent by supporting us to look honestly at ourselves in relation to God. In this we need to be gentle with ourselves & others, as sometimes tired and battle scarred, we simply need the healing of space to be, to rest and be restored. To be aware of this is to seek out Jesus so as to rediscover God’s grace.

The bottom line is this – God is worthy of our time – all else is a bonus. It’s not about success, achievement or anything else other than being open to God, the God of surprises and those moments of serendipity. The measure of what you sow in diligence and discipline will be the measure of what you reap from Holy Week.

Expect to know self better.

Expect to be more aware of a sacramental world;

Expect to be content with God alone;

Expect to be changed from the inside out.

But above all remember the principal purpose is to seek God for herself as the ‘one thing necessary’ so as to learn to ‘love God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength’.


There are only two set services that we ask you to make sure you attend  and they are the opening retreat service on Palm Sunday at 3pm and the closing service on Holy Saturday at 3pm. Everything else is up to you to do as little or as much as you want.

Daily Prayer each morning at 9.30am

Evening Prayer each afternoon at 4.30pm

Daily Eucharist Mon / Tues / Wed at 7pm

Compline (night prayer) is provided for you to say at home if you wish.

Maundy Thursday Service at 7.30pm

Good Friday Service at 2pm

Easter Vigil 8pm

(This leaves you free, if your home church isn’t Spondon, to worship wherever you want on Easter Day.)

If you want more information then either email Fr Julian directly on fatherjulian@btinternet.com or use the contacts page.