What Is Spiritual Direction In The Catholic Church

DEFINITION AND DESCRIPTION OF THE CATHOLIC SPIRITUAL DIRECTION. Christian spiritual direction can be defined as the aid or guidance that a person (directee) seeks and another (director) provides over time as they grow in a loving relationship with God.

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What happens in Catholic spiritual direction?

Spiritual direction has its origins in the early Christian church. According to the gospels, Jesus acted as a mentor to his disciples. In addition, Ananias is described in Acts of the Apostles Chapter 9 as assisting Paul of Tarsus in growing in his newfound faith. Similarly, Paul is described as mentoring Timothy and Titus, among others, in various Pauline epistles. Polycarp, the 2nd-century bishop of Smyrna, is said to have been instructed by John the Evangelist.

John Cassian, a fourth-century theologian, wrote some of the first known principles on the Christian practice of spiritual direction.

In the monasteries, he established mentoring. Each novice was assigned to an elder monk for supervision. Cassian's precepts were incorporated into what is now known as the Rule of Saint Benedict by Benedict of Nursia.

Spiritual direction is common in the Catholic tradition: a wise and spiritually discerned person, generally but not always a priest or a consecrated person in general, counsels a person who aspires to embark on a journey of faith and discover God's will in his life. The spiritual guide's goal is to identify and grasp what the Holy Spirit is telling the person accompanied via life events, spiritual insights gained through prayer, reading, and meditation on the Bible. The spiritual father or spiritual director may give advise, give life and prayer hints, and resolve doubts in areas of faith and morals without taking the place of the accompanying person's choices and judgments.

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What do you talk about in spiritual direction?

People frequently find it easy to answer the first few questions. They do not make people nervous or perplexed. These questions provide a foundation for the spiritual director to learn about the person and his or her spirituality. Leading questions aren't the same as starting questions. When someone wants a certain answer, they ask leading questions. On the other hand, there are no correct solutions to these questions. A person can reply in any way they want without fear of being judged.

How do you ask a priest for spiritual direction?

You may already have a good relationship with your priest and feel comfortable asking him to be your spiritual director, but even if you don't, it's appropriate to ask him.

Because many parish priests are overburdened with responsibilities, it may be more effective to ask, “Is there someone you can recommend to give me spiritual direction if you are unable?”

Not only does this relieve your parish priest of stress, but it also prevents you from being disappointed if he is unable to serve as your spiritual director—and it allows him to consider making a recommendation for you.

When a good friend asked her parish priest to be her spiritual director, he was unable to do so, but he offered her the names of two other priests in her diocese who were available for spiritual direction! She was quite appreciative.

Our pastor or another priest, our confessor (the priest from whom we receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation on a regular basis), a religious (monk, friar, or nun), or an experienced and well-formed lay person could all serve as spiritual directors.

The Catholic Church's Catechism says this about seeking and finding a spiritual director:

For the sake of the common good, which is prayer, the Holy Spirit bestows the gifts of wisdom, faith, and insight on a select group of believers (spiritual direction). Men and women with such gifts are worthy servants of prayer's living tradition.

According to St. John of the Cross, anyone seeking perfection should “take care into whose hands they entrust themselves,” because “as the master is, so will the disciple be, and as the parent is, so will the son.” ‘A spiritual director should be experienced in addition to being learned and discreet… If the spiritual director has no experience of the spiritual life, he will be unable of leading the souls whom God is calling to it into it, and he will not even understand them.'

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Why is spiritual direction important?

Spiritual direction has been a source of nourishment for Christians for millennia.

Spiritual direction is a type of soul care in which a person interacts with another Christian for the sole goal of analyzing his or her personal relationship with God.

The spiritual director's role in the meeting is that of a facilitator, assisting the person in focusing on what God is doing in their life. They may be referred to as spiritual guides, spiritual advisors, or spiritual partners (3), but they are not a spiritual authority figure in the directee's life (2).

It is critical to remain centered in one's faith and understanding of what God is doing in order to be effective and available to others in ministry. When a Christian's life is coming apart or they need a clear understanding of God's presence and action in their lives, they can turn to a spiritual director (3).

Spiritual direction is crucial because it assists the individual on their spiritual path, making it less lonely. It can also increase one's awareness of God's presence in one's own life (2).

When it comes to spiritual guidance, pastoral counseling, and psychological counseling, what's the difference?

Spiritual direction's objective is to assist a person in discovering how God is operating in their lives and facilitating a creative and loving response to God.

Pastoral counseling focuses on living a life that is founded on the Bible. The person is aided and encouraged to have a better understanding of God's grace and love on a personal level.

Psychological counseling aids in the development of increased personal understanding and freedom of choice as a result of improved self-awareness (3).

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The goal of spiritual direction is for the client to encounter God in their daily lives, therefore the spiritual director offers a secure environment in which the client can honestly reflect on what God is doing in their lives while also listening to what God is saying to them. There is no fixed schedule or technique for spiritual direction; it is likely to include talk, quiet, readings, and prayer (2).

It is critical to listen in order to improve one's relationship with God. People seek spiritual direction for a variety of reasons, one of which is to enhance their listening abilities, as it is through hearing that we discover what God is up to in our lives. This understanding will then assist a person in spiritual growth (2).

Spiritual direction is open to anybody seeking a deeper relationship with God, but because the focus is on reflecting on one's faith journey, it will be more beneficial to those who are not new to Christianity.

In fact, for Christian leaders who want to improve in their relationship with God, it can be a useful tool. C.S. Lewis is claimed to have met his spiritual director once a week for 11 years, with their relationship ending only when the spiritual director died.

Spiritual direction can benefit Christians in leadership roles because of the loneliness and isolation they may feel; it allows them to focus on their life and God while also allowing them to privately partner with the spiritual director on challenges they may be facing. Furthermore, it allows the leader to be accountable to someone for what is going on in their spiritual life (2).

It's worth noting that spiritual orientation is moving away from simply talking about God and toward meditating on one's experience with God. Individuals report improved awareness of God and spiritual growth as a result of spiritual direction; many report greater freedom in their relationship with God, enjoyment of God, understanding of God, and clarity of what God is doing. They also express a deep sense of calm in their life as a result of their spiritual direction experiences (2).

It's crucial to understand that spiritual direction is not the same as discipleship, counseling, or preaching.

In a nutshell, spiritual direction is a ministry of support in which one person goes alongside another on their faith journey.

Spiritual direction, a focused ministry of listening, prayer, and conversation, is a refreshing, pleasant experience in our contemporary “introspective individualistic age,” where many believe they don't need anyone to accompany them on their journey (1).

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B Th (Hons), M Counselling, Dip Youth Work, Dip Youth Justice, Dip Couns, Dip Pentecostal Theology, Dip Ministry. Author: Corey Human, B Th (Hons), M Counselling, Dip Youth Work, Dip Youth Justice, Dip Couns, Dip Pentecostal Theology, Dip Ministry. PACFA and CCAA member.

In both English and Afrikaans, Corey Human has nearly 20 years of experience giving counseling to teenagers, adults, couples, parents, and families. His goal in relationship counseling and teaching is to equip each couple with the tools they need to heal themselves when their relationship is at a crossroads.

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How do you prepare for spiritual direction?

As a prayer preparation, do whatever you've found to be effective in the past. You may take a few calm, deep breaths, gaze out the window, journal, or read scripture to relax. Then, ask God to reveal you what would be beneficial to discuss in a spiritual direction session.

Is spiritual direction Biblical?

So, if you're wondering whether Spiritual Direction is Biblical, the answer should be a resounding yes. When beginning to engage and guide a person, spiritual direction takes into account their spiritual experiences, prayer life, relationship with God, and faith tradition.

What should I ask a spiritual person?

  • What do you imagine occurs after we've lived here for a while? What do you believe it takes to get into heaven?
  • What are your thoughts on the Bible? Have you ever taken the time to read it for yourself? What were your thoughts on what you read?

How often should you meet with your spiritual director?

How frequently should we gather for spiritual guidance? The standard meeting schedule is once a month, although there may be periods or seasons when meeting twice a month or every other month is more appropriate and beneficial.

How do you ask a spiritual question?

I rapidly understood that this mindset was a rabbit hole, and I started to pursue other ideas about the meaning of existence.

Looking back now, 8 years later, I understand that documenting my perspective at the time would have been intriguing. I would have been able to analyze where I came from and better comprehend my personal progress if I had kept a spiritual diary.

I recently came across a set of 20 questions that eloquently accomplish this goal. These questions were presented to major spiritual leaders of today, including Deepak Chopra, Ram Dass, and the Dalai Lama, and were featured in the 2005 documentary film One.

As much as a yoga session or profound meditation, I recognized that answering these questions myself would provide a snapshot of my current ideas. And who knows what insight these polaroids will bring if I repeat the exercise in 5 years, 10 years, or 25 years?


In a blank document or blog post, copy and paste the questions below. Answer each question as completely as possible, then post your responses on your personal blog.

1. What causes the world's poverty and suffering?

2. How do science and religion relate to each other?

3. What is causing so many individuals to be depressed?

4. What is it that we are all so terrified of?

5. When is it acceptable to go to war?

6. What would God want us to do if we were confronted with hostility or terrorism?

7. What is the best way to achieve true peace?

8. What does it mean to be present in the moment?

9. What is our most significant source of distraction?

10. Is today's religion fulfilling its mission?

11. What happens once you pass away?

12. Explain how to get to paradise and how to get there.

What is the purpose of life?

14. Write a description of God.

15. What is the most important attribute that people have?

16. What holds people back from reaching their full potential?

17. Act out what you perceive is the current state of the world nonverbally, using just motion or gestures.

18. What is one wish you have for the world?

19. What does knowledge entail, and how do we acquire it?

20. Are we all the same person?

How much should I pay my spiritual director?

What is the expense of spiritual direction? An hour of spiritual direction costs roughly 50-70 dollars on average. If the expense is onerous, many spiritual directors may make exceptions.