Tag Archives: ACTS retreat

ACTS Retreat: Over a Year Later

20 Dec

It has been over a year since I was active on my blog. I’ve had a lot of life changes, and for 2015 I want to make it a point to become more active. I had completely forgotten that I had ever blogged about the ACTS retreat over a year ago, and ironically, my husband just got back from the retreat this month. My husband is Catholic, but aside from Sunday mass, he was not very active in the church. Since coming back from the retreat, he has made friends at church and looks forward to going to events more. So now, after having had both of us go on the retreat, and having a year to reflect on my own experience , here are my thoughts:

PRO: You meet and become friends with a lot of people in the parish who you may have never otherwise had the opportunity to get to know. This means that you have “friends,” at mass and do not get lost in the sea of people rushing about. For the first time ever, we do feel like we are part of a community of believers.

CON: If you do not go on the retreat, you may never get this sense of community. That could lead a lot of people in the parish to feel “left out.” The ACTS community (where I live at least) could do a better job of reaching out to everyone, not just those who went on the retreat.

PRO: Because this is a retreat, you get the opportunity to pray and think about your relationship with God. You come face to face with your own sinfulness and are humbled by the experience.

CON: Depending on the group of people on your retreat, you may learn or hear more than you are comfortable with. I think that the retreat needs to incorporate more “joy,” and more talk about the redemptive act of salvation. That’s just my opinion

PRO: Because of the fact that the retreat is kept a secret, you feel “safe” talking to people and are able to let your guard down.

CON: When you get back from the retreat, you don’t know if you are still able to talk to people about things or there is no opportunity to do so. The community encourages small groups, but with many different schedules, it is difficult to maintain them.

To my visitors: What other pros and cons do you see after experiencing an ACTS retreat?

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Reflections on ACTS retreats and Overcoming a really bad attitude

10 Aug

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After completing my Daniel Fast, I stepped away from the blog-o-sphere for a while. When I began this blog, it was with the intent of documenting my journey through the fast, and I wasn’t really sure to go after that. Truthfully, I am still not quite sure, but I’ll give it a shot anyway.

For all of you Catholics out there, I am sure you have heard of the ACTS retreat program. Women and men throughout the parish leave usually on a Thursday night and come back for Sunday morning mass much louder than they were before and much more engaged in parish activities. If you have never been, you probably wondered what it is all about and what to expect.

If you have asked someone what it is about…they probably didn’t tell you. Before I went on my ACTS retreat, I dug around the Internet, asked parish members and still couldn’t find answers. “I can’t tell you exactly what we do, but I can tell you that you should definitely go and experience it,” was the canned answer I got from everyone.

Still somehow, when I saw the retreat advertised in the bulletin, I felt compelled to go. I registered, packed my bags and on Thursday night I boarded a bus of about 40 other women who I didn’t know and ventured off.

The first night of the retreat, I had the worst attitude you could ever imagine. Really. I felt like a cartoon character with a little devil sitting on my shoulder. “Why are you here? Don’t you have something better your could be doing? This is stupid. You’ve never been on a retreat, and you shouldn’t have come this time because there is no point. If Jesus wants to talk to you, he can do that at home.”

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Somehow, in the midst of this horrible self-talk, I realized that I was so busy listening to the voice of the enemy, that I couldn’t hear Jesus speaking through the noise if I had wanted to. I’ve heard it said that the devil doesn’t put much effort into those whose attention he’s already got, but rather he tries to distract those whose attention God has already got.

“Help me, God,” I prayed. “I am allowing my attitude to prevent me from opening up to you.” And help He did.

Though I have promised not to talk about the rest of my retreat or give away the secrets, this is what I will tell you about it:

  1. There was an amazing team of people who were there to help, guide, feed and serve us from a place of genuine love.
  2. I was brought into a much more regular practice of my faith that has continued. No longer do I “just go to mass,” but I have become an active participant. I find myself praying the Rosary, Divine Mercy Chaplet, reading the Magnificat, studying scripture and really engaging with God in a deeper way.
  3. I met people who were real believers, not just ‘cafeteria Catholics,’ but women with a real living relationship with Jesus Christ. These women were not perfect and many have struggles, just like me, but they were beautiful.

So, what happens at an Acts Retreat anyway?

I can’t tell you exactly what we do, but I can tell you that you should definitely go and experience it.