Here are some thoughts from my priest on retreating:
But if we don't run from the penetrating silence we will see what needs to be seen. We will experience the redemption that will come with listening contemplation. We will receive the embrace of self-acceptance and the rest of God's embrace, or maybe it's first the rest of God's embrace and then the embrace of self-acceptance.
When preparing for retreat, try to get in touch with your desire for a more intimate communion with yourself and with God, for a freer and richer interior life. It's the difference between living in a bachelor's pad and dwelling in a richly and elaborately decorated old mansion with lots of fascinating and mysterious rooms that have still to be discovered.
It was not a silent retreat, but God still used the time away to communicate with me viscerally, just as He did at the last one. Once again He put me in touch with the ache of being separated from Him. Last year the pain was that of a separated lover, with the strength of mourning. This year it was more like the pain of a young child away at camp for the first time; my soul cried out to go home. It was tinged with a sense of abandonment, a bewildered hurt at being intentionally left behind. My heart begged "Please come and get me, please take me home..."
He made me look at myself in bright light, and I didn't like what I saw.
I feel abandoned to my own weakness.