When we think about spiritual directors, we could picture a person or people who have accomplished a great deal. We can imagine a fearless commander directing us through dangerous terrain or a warrior slaying our foes in front of our eyes. A superb analyzer and teacher of the spirit or a drill sergeant of the soul come to mind.
Before You Continue...
Do you know what is your soul number? Take this quick quiz to find out! Get a personalized numerology report, and discover how you can unlock your fullest spiritual potential. Start the quiz now!
Spiritual directors, on the other hand, are just like you in terms of being human and susceptible. They are humble, prayerful people who accompany us on our journey to improving our spiritual lives and become even more committed followers of Jesus. They are there to accompany us on our path, offering their presence, a listening ear, and practical insight to aid in our spiritual development.
These are all excellent attributes to look for in a spiritual director, but you probably didn't think about the fact that the spiritual director you connect with should also be following your lead in terms of spiritual guidance.
A good spiritual director has their own spiritual director.
A good spiritual director must have his own guide in order to help someone along the spiritual path. The purpose of seeking spiritual guidance is to give oneself with a neutral viewpoint.
A good spiritual director will be known by his pastor.
You may have assumed that your parish priest would be the finest spiritual director candidate based solely on his vocation. While most priests and even religious have some spiritual counseling training, being a well-trained spiritual director may require additional preparation.
Before a spiritual director begins mentoring others, it is recommended practice for him to have permission from his pastor. This allows the pastor to attest to the spiritual director's qualifications while also providing the church with a resource for parishioners seeking spiritual guidance.
A good spiritual director is not there to make decisions for you.
A competent spiritual director isn't the person who makes all of your decisions for you. Look for someone who can advise you rather than impose so you can make an informed decision. The purpose of the spiritual director is not to tell you what to do, but to assist you in discerning the Holy Spirit's promptings and hearing God's voice. In the end, the relationship is between you and God.
A good spiritual director has suffered.
Finding someone who is familiar with suffering is extremely beneficial and virtually necessary, as pain is unavoidable in the life of a Christian who wishes to follow in Christ's footsteps. Someone who has been converted into Christ's image through suffering is a wonderful spiritual director.
Someone who has been shaped by the pain God has allowed in life is qualified to be a competent spiritual director. A person who has come to understand that suffering is not a sign of God's rejection of them, but rather a grace and a demonstration of Christ's faith in them.
A good spiritual director is a person of prayer
Finally, ensure that your spiritual director is a prayerful person with a strong spiritual life. Nobody can share something they don't have.
What does a deep spiritual life entail? Visiting Jesus in devotion and regularly attending mass (perhaps even daily). A good spiritual director makes time for personal prayer or meditation every day. They have studied spiritual masters such as Therese of Lisieux, Teresa of Avila, and John of the Cross. They may also have a close relationship with the Blessed Mother, who is our most powerful intercessor, and may pray the rosary or other Marian devotions frequently. Feel free to inquire about a potential spiritual director's spirituality.
What should I ask a spiritual director?
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.
What does a spiritual director do?
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.
How do you choose a spiritual leader?
Spiritual leaders are not often found in religious organizations. This is more of a distinction than a criticism. People can be liberated from unreasonable expectations of some leaders by distinguishing spiritual leadership from other forms of leadership.
At the same time, making this distinction might aid in identifying who your organization's spiritual leaders are. The following are six characteristics that most spiritual leaders share:
- They inspire others to have their own spiritual encounters with God. One of the most powerful aspects of Jesus' conduct was that He did not shift gears to introduce His disciples to the reality of God.
Interacting with the Father was so natural that people around Him couldn't help but do the same, whether they were standing in the synagogue or gathering wheat along the route. Whether a spiritual leader is onboarding a new employee or working through a difficult issue, his followers will grow closer to God as a result of the experience.
- They help others find their own sense of purpose and identity. Spiritual leadership is marked by a high level of charity. A spiritual leader truly desires for others to fully realize who they were created to be.
Workplace challenges and strategic development become tools for followers to uncover their own identity and overcome roadblocks. People who work in areas where they have developed their own identity and strength will always be more productive than those who are merely striving to fill a position or duty.
- Not only do they lead others into transformation, but they also lead others into output. Production will always be a natural outcome when the goal is spiritual growth and wellbeing. When people operate from a place of identity, they perform at their best.
Assisting your followers in realizing that their own transformation is possible on the job can increase loyalty and morale. Spiritual leadership inspires followers to be passionate about what they do. The component that transforms people and organizations from production to transformational effect is passion.
- They have an effect on their surroundings. While words alone cannot stop a storm, spiritual leaders realize that they may alter the “temperature” of a room, encounter, or relationship.
Changing the atmosphere is similar to casting vision, only it is instantaneous. When there is tension, anxiety, or indifference, a spiritual leader may restore vision, vigor, and hope by transforming the immediate force of these storms. Even when saying difficult things, a spiritual leader may fill a room with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and gentleness.
- They assist individuals in seeing old things in new light. Many people are caught in their viewpoints and mindsets, not in their situations. The word “repent” implies “to think differently or in a different way,” and Jesus encouraged people to look at old facts with fresh eyes. Meaningful change is always preceded by a shift in mindset.
- They achieve popularity as a result of who they are rather than a job they have. Secular organizations can have spiritual leaders, just as religious organizations can have managers and organizational leaders.
Spiritual leaders inspire rather than instruct, and they influence rather than direct. They have an innate understanding that they are serving somethingand Someonefar greater than themselves and their personal goals.
Question: In your life, who has served as a spiritual leader? What distinguishes this individual from other leaders? By clicking here, you can leave a remark.
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.
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.
Do you need a degree to be a spiritual director?
For the Education portion of the certification process, the CCPC has established the following requirements.
Formal classroom education in the field of spiritual direction is described as the required education. The foundation of information and skills connected with the basic functions must be addressed through education. Every aspect of your schooling must be documented.
A master's degree from a recognized accredited university with an emphasis in biblical, theological studies and a minimum of six courses in spirituality is required for accreditation. Individuals holding a baccalaureate degree in spirituality may be eligible in exceptional situations if they meet all other qualifications.
Can spiritual directors help?
Spiritual Directors International's rules state that spiritual directors should have their own directors, as well as mentors or peers who may give oversight and responsibility. Spiritual direction fees are usually on a sliding basis, ranging from $50 to $150 each 50-minute appointment. For those who cannot afford to pay, some directors provide pro gratis services.
The relationship between companion and seeker is personal, and spiritual directors must establish proper limits, just as they would in any other type of counseling. Some spiritual companions, such as Ms. Pannier-Cass, have social work degrees.
While therapy “may provide expert aid with recovering from mental health problems,” spiritual direction “focuses on your relationship with God or the divine” through prayer or reflection, according to Emily Malcoun, a clinical psychologist in Philadelphia who has worked with a spiritual director.
Some argue that the profession should be held more accountable. In an article published last October in Presence, a journal published by Spiritual Directors International, Andree Grafstein, a spiritual director in Avon, Conn., recalled an episode of sexual harassment from a director nearly 40 years ago. “I look forward to a day when the reality of sexual harassment by spiritual directors is as obvious as other forms of sexual abuse,” she added.
Ms. Grafstein said she has gotten supportive communications from other spiritual directors since the piece was published. She is particularly concerned about the need for spiritual directors to get instruction and assistance if they hear that a directee has been harassed or abused by another director.
Directees can be vulnerable, especially if they came to a spiritual director because of their rejection of organized religion or a previous religious community. Kristabeth Atwood, a spiritual director and former United Methodist minister in Burlington, Vermont, refers to herself as a pastor for individuals who don't attend church. The majority of her subordinates “I just don't feel at home in a traditional or formal religious group,” she explained.
Can a lay person be a spiritual director?
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 directorand 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.'
What happens in a spiritual direction session?
Spiritual direction appointments last around an hour and take place once a month. The director and directee discuss the prospect of having a spiritual direction relationship during the first meeting. They decide on meeting times, locations, costs, and other logistics if they choose to continue meeting.