Within each of us dwells the desire
to find meaning beyond the moment…
to discover our true selves…
to grow closer to God and to one another.
A Spiritual Director can help you satisfy that longing.
What is Spiritual Direction?
Spiritual direction is a process of accompanying people on a spiritual journey and helping them grow closer to God. Spiritual direction helps people learn how to live in peace, with compassion, promoting justice, and as humble servants of God. Are you seeking a closer relationship with God? Are you interested in deepening your spiritual journey? This may be a good time for you to explore Spiritual Direction.
Gifts of Spiritual Direction
You might come to spiritual direction for a variety of reasons, including to:
Identify and trust your own experience of God, Integrate spirituality into your daily life, Discern and make difficult choices, Share your hopes, struggles and losses, Develop a sensitivity for justice and concern for the poor, Live the essence of your spiritual affiliation with integrity, Continue your path of spiritual formation, Discover more ways to grow closer to God, Have a guiding partner through your life journey.
Spiritual direction is really not about being directed.
The Real Spiritual Director is GOD.
Discerning God’s Presence
In spiritual direction, you are invited to reflect deeply on the experiences of your daily life. Gradually, as you contemplate, you may begin to recognize God’s presence and grace in your life. You may see God’s fingerprints and God’s guiding hand as you look back over your life. You may come to realize how God’s spirit is truly with you every day and everywhere. You discover that God has been waiting for you to seek this closer relationship.
Spiritual direction has a very rich and deep history in the Christian church and is very much about being encouraged to grow closer to God. Spiritual direction invites you into this relationship with God regardless of your faith history and relationship to a church. God seeks you where you are.
“The whole purpose of spiritual direction is to penetrate beneath the surface of a person’s life, to get behind the façade of conventional gestures and attitudes which one presents to the world, and to bring out one’s inner spiritual freedom, one’s inmost truth, which is what [Christians] call the likeness of Christ in one’s soul. This is an entirely supernatural (spiritual) thing, for the work of rescuing the inner person from automatism belongs first of all to the Holy Spirit.”
Thomas Merton, Trappist monk, USA
Meeting with a Spiritual Director
Spiritual directors have extensive training and formation and a God-given gift for the art of spiritual direction. The privilege and responsibility of a spiritual director is to journey with you as you deepen your relationship to God. The journey takes place in the context of a confidential one-on-one session with your spiritual director. You and your spiritual director will agree on a convenient location and time for meeting, usually once a month for a hour. Many spiritual directors request a fee, while some receive your
free will donation.
The primary focus of the session is the directee’s relationship with God as it is reflected and challenged by all aspects of that person’s life. What is shared by you is held in confidence. The directee assumes responsibility for his or her life with God. This means that the person coming for direction is trying to be serious about some form of intentional prayer and reflection on the God-currents of everyday life and prayer. God touches the human heart directly. The human spiritual director does not ‘direct’ in the sense of giving advice and solving problems. Rather, the director helps a person respond to God’s invitation to a deeper relationship. The director is there to help the directee discern God’s touch and invitation is his/her life.
The primary responsibilities of the director are prayer for the directee and openness to God for what is truly called for on behalf of the directee during the sessions. This assumes that the director is taking seriously her or his relationship with God through intentional prayer, attention to solitude time and regular spiritual direction.
After three or four sessions, you will have the opportunity to evaluate the relationship. Whether your relationship with the spiritual director continues for many years or only for a short period of time, it is very important to be comfortable with the spiritual director you choose.
Spiritual direction is “help given by one Christian to another which enables that person to pay attention to God’s personal communication to him or her, to respond to this personally communicating God, to grow in intimacy with this God, and to live out the consequences of that relationship.”
William A Barry and William J Connolly, The Practice of Spiritual Direction
“The greatest teacher is silence. To come out of interior silence and to practice its radiance, its love, its concern for others, its submission to God’s will, its trust in God even in tragic situations is the fruit of living from your inmost center, from the contemplative space within. The signs of coming from this space are a peace that is rarely upset by events, other people and our reactions to them, and a calm that is a stabilizing force in whatever environment you may be in. God gives us everything we need to be happy in the present moment, no matter what the evidence to the contrary may be. A good spiritual director helps us to sustain that trust.” -Father Thomas Keating