For my retreat this year I spent a few days at Pacem in Terris. Pacem in Terris is Latin for "peace on earth." It is a hermitage retreat center, about an hour drive from Bloomington, 19 miles north of Anoka. If you have never heard of it, you should check it out.
Upon arrival you are assigned a small prayer cabin or hermitage in the woods. Each hermitage is named for a saint. There is no electricity and no running water. You are given to take with you into the hermitage a basket of bread, cheese, fruit, and a muffin – which is surprisingly sufficient nourishment for a day.
Then you sit, or walk, or sleep, or do nothing, passing the time in silence and solitude. In the stillness you become attentive to God in a heightened way. There is deep peace but it also can be spiritually rigorous and agitating at times too. The Holy Spirit does some inner cleansing and adjustment. I always advocate retreats, and times of extended solitude and silence, as essential in the spiritual life.
As I described, the accommodations at Pacem in Terris are simple, but that's probably the central spiritual lesson I gained on my retreat this year. God does not exist to accommodate us or to make everything perfectly suitable to us in this life. I think of how often we expect the Church, and even God, to bend over backward to accommodate our schedules and preferences.
How spiritually beneficial it is when, in simplicity of heart and in a spirit of detachment, we can renounce the demands of our often too particular and overly fussy personal whims and set our hearts on something simpler and purer. In other words, blessed are we when we set aside our demands to be accommodated – for it is then that we become more docile to God and open to the higher gifts.
Take a retreat or some extended time in solitude and silence. God knows we all need it.