What is Spiritual Direction?
Christian spiritual direction is simply one Christian accompanying another on their journey to a deepening relationship with God. Together, we look at whatever is happening in the person’s life, and pay attention to the different ways God may be personally communicating with them, to respond to this personally communicating God, and thus to grow in intimacy with God.
“Spiritual direction is a time-honoured term for a conversation, ordinarily between two persons, in which one person consults another, more spiritually experienced person about the ways in which God may be touching her or his life, directly or indirectly. In our postmodern age, many people dislike the term ‘spiritual direction’ because it sounds like one person giving directions, or orders, to another. They prefer ‘spiritual companionship,’ ‘tending the holy,’ or some other nomenclature. What we call it doesn’t make any real difference…
Although spiritual direction has had a burst of new life, it is really quite ancient. Across both the Hebrew and the Christian Scriptures, we find people seeking spiritual counsel. The Queen of Sheba sought out the wisdom of Solomon. Jesus gave us examples in his conversations with Nicodemus, with the woman at the well, in the ongoing formation of Peter and the other disciples. In the early church, people flocked to hermits in the desert for spiritual counsel. Across the centuries we find striking examples in some Irish monks, in some German Benedictine nuns, in Charles de Foucault, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross, Francis de Sales, and others.”
Marian Cowan, CSJ
Wanting to engage a spiritual director?
“It is important for you to choose a spiritual director who has the training, formation and experience that suits your needs. Sometimes it takes a few sessions to discern whether the person you are seeing is the right one for you. When I sit with someone for the first time as their spiritual director, we take time at the end of the session to discuss whether they feel this is what they are after. If so, we will then agree to dates for once a month for the next three months. After that time, we again review if this is still serving their purposes. It is essential the sessions are in the service of the directee. If it seems this is not quite suiting them, I will help them find someone who may be a better fit for them.” Sally Longley