Spiritual Directionby Liz Kerwin, CSJ
When have you last experienced an hour of being listened to, affirmed, encouraged, invited to go deeper? When have you had someone listen to your questions and doubts, to your intimate experiences of God or of the Holy in your life? Spiritual Direction is this sort of experience. God takes initiative in your life. You need to notice God's action in order to grasp God's desire and respond to it. A spiritual director is trained to guide you to recognize God's initiative in your life. A spiritual director assists you to see how you are responding to God's invitation.
During a typical session of spiritual direction, you might speak about your life in an intimate way: the quality of important relationships, your attitude toward work or career, your hopes and worries, your struggles and goals, your joyful memories and regrets. In all of this the focus is on your spiritual life or religious experience: feelings or shifts of feelings, thoughts, possible inspirations which come to you as you consciously stand before God in all aspects of your life. Such awareness may happen during prayer or anytime if you are aware of living in relationship to God. Spiritual direction helps you to taste your life a second time and relish it and deepen your gratitude for all that has brought to this place - the present moment.
The practice of seeking a spiritual guide dates back to the third and fourth centuries when people sought the wisdom of the desert mystics. St. Ignatius and his followers renewed the practice in the sixteenth century. During the past fifty years there has been a resurgence of interest in spiritual direction.