* This announce was originally published on 7/2/ 2009.
Dear Father John, What are the key characteristics of good spiritual direction?
There are three ways to answer this question, depending on the point of view.
From the point of view of the person receiving it, spiritual attitude is an extremely useful( many would say crucial) help for growing in holiness, which is the same thing as growing in one’s communion with God, which is the same thing as growing in genuine profundity and happiness. Having a spiritual director is like having a coach: they keep us objective and accountable, forewarn us of pitfalls, hearten us when we feel weak or intimidated, help clarify distractions and disbeliefs, and make sure we are working intelligently in our efforts to know, enjoy, and follow Jesus Christ more each day.
However, spiritual counseling is no substitute for grace and religion. God’s grace, which normally contacts us through the sacraments and through prayer, is the root cause and nourishment of the Christian’s brand-new and shocking soul in Christ. Faith is our docile and active agreement of, and collaboration with, God’s grace. Grace is supernatural nourishment, but faith is the exercise that turns that nourishment into growth. From this, we can infer the key characteristics of good spiritual direction 😛 TAGEND
Regularity: We should meet or connected to our spiritual director on a regular basis , not just when we are in a crisis, or when we feel like talking. Monthly spiritual tendency is a good periodicity, though for some seasons a short spiritual tack every fifteen dates is useful.Sincerity: A case going to the doctor because of stomach questions “wouldve been” ludicrous to talk simply about his headaches and backaches. Merely so, by holding back from the spiritual director our moral, feelings, relational, and spiritual strifes or failures, we are handcuffing the chairman and wasting everyone’s time.Docility: We need to work hard to follow the spiritual director’s guidance. Otherwise, again, we are wasting everybody’s time.
From the point of view of the spiritual director, this interaction is an opportunity to share the experience and gumption that their own go with Christ has given them. It is too a chance to marvel at God’s work in the lives of genuine Christians. The spiritual director is not just a consultant, but two brothers or sister in Christ, a fellow saint-in-the-making. The raptures and sorrows, accomplishments and lacks of the directee are felt deeply by the director, but at the same time, the administrator knows that he is only an assistant coach — the Holy Spirit is the primary protagonist in everyone’s spiritual growth.
Good spiritual directors appreciate their work as curing identify obstacles- behavioral or mental garbs, perplexed themes, undetected lures- that are keeping the directee from moving more quickly towards greater passion for God and neighbour. But the chairman cannot remove the obstacles. Only God and the directee can do that. This is one of the reasons that it is not necessary for our spiritual directors to be perfect. They time have to be good instruments.
From the point of view of the Holy Spirit, spiritual tack is a cause of huge exhilaration, because it pays him more area to work. God understands human nature- after all, he developed it. And so he understands how much we need human companionship in our spiritual tour. When St Paul had his life-changing vision on the road to Damascus, the Lord said to him, “Get up now and go into the city, and you will be told what you have to do”( Acts 9:6 ). Sure enough, God sent Ananias to visit St Paul on Straight Street, and Ananias began to help St. Paul understand what God was doing in his life and how he should respond. That’s how Jesus does things, because that’s how we need him to do things. And so, when someone takes the humble stair of religion to receive guidance from a spiritual director, the Holy spirit goes up his sleeves and gets to work.
This third dimension is what prepares spiritual direction so much more than mere personal coaching. If self-help is like loping sips around an indoor road, rise in holiness is like hiking through the Alps. Jesus has a lot more he wants us to see and do than we can imagine. By deciding to let ourselves be leader in spiritual direction, we are telling Jesus that we really do want to want what he wants.
Yours in Christ, Father John Bartunek, LC
Art for this post on the key characterisitcs of good spiritual direction: Feature Image: Ein ernstes Gesprach( A Serious Conversation ), Ludwig Johann Passini, by 1902, PD-US author’s life plus 100 years or less, Wikimedia Commons.
Editor’s note: This article originally appeared on SpiritualDirection.com and is reprinted now with category assent.
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