Early monks, both in the East and West, made Lent a modified
retreat where more than the usual prayers and fasting took place.
The 5th Century Monks retired into the desert for periods of prayer,
fasting and other penances.
In modern times, the retreat is most often geared to helping a
person put into practice the requirements of the state of life which
he/she has already chosen.
It has become a time for renewal and
rededication to one's values, regardless of religious preference.
Retreats are viewed in the military
as special opportunities
for soldiers and other special interest groups to focus on issues
that affect their lives. The soldiers of today live hurried, frantic
lives and a retreat may offer a genuine change of pace and time to be
alone with oneself.
What exactly is a retreat?
In the military environment it may
include the following:
A planned spiritual encounter.
A time to experience, actualize, or embody truths of the
An experience of community in which the intent is renewal.
A time and place of conversing and
oneself, God, and fellow retreatants.
A time to withdraw oneself from the routines of daily
living, to devote oneself to God in exceptional communion,
and to fellowship and
share life and experience with
A time to engage in a special spiritual discipline for a
specified period of time.
An attempt to discover the true meaning of faith and to
prepare for a renewed witness and service to people of the