Spiritual Direction: A Help to Grow in the Spiritual Life
Compiled by Fr. Rene Schatteman
A. Direction will help you:
– to grow in your spiritual life.
-in the struggle to overcome your faults.
-to correspond more fully to God’s call to holiness.
-follow Christ more closely.
-if you feel the need not only for the extraordinary graces of Confession; but also some guidance on how to draw closer to Our Lord.
B. Spiritual Direction is one of the means Christians of all ages have used to get to know themselves better and to get to know God: “It’s good for you to know this doctrine, which is always sound: your own spirit is a bad advisor, a poor pilot to steer your soul through the squalls and storms and across the reefs of the interior life. That’s why it is the will of God that the command of the ship be entrusted to a master who, with his light and knowledge, can guide us to a safe port.” (St. Josemaria Escriva: The Way, n. 59)
-“You wouldn’t think of building a good house to live in here on earth without an architect. How can you ever hope, without a director, to build the castle of our sanctification in order to live forever in heaven?” (The Way, n. 60) There is a way, a path, a road to follow that leads to growth in holiness.
-“The ‘stuff’ of saints. That’s what is said about some people – that they have the stuff of saints. But apart from the fact the saints are not made of ‘stuff,’ having ‘stuff’ is not sufficient. A great spirit of obedience to a director and a great readiness to correspond to grace are required. For if you don’t allow God’s grace and your director to do their work, the sculptured image of Christ, into which the saintly man is shaped, will never appear. And that ‘stuff’ of which we have been speaking will be only a rough, unshaped log fit for the fire – for a good fire if it is good ‘stuff.’” (The Way, n. 56)
-Keep in mind that the Holy Spirit is the one to direct souls. Any other human being only can help you to discern God’s Will and to second the inspirations of the Holy Spirit.
C. A good spiritual director will consider this a serious work, a supernatural work, a work of love for souls, a mission. Spiritual direction is more than going to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Even though spiritual direction often takes place at the same time as Confession: before or after, it is most effective when distinct from confession. If you are interested, speak to your confessor about it.
D. More specifics about spiritual direction:
1. Freedom: each individual is free to choose his/her spiritual director, and remains free to begin and/or to terminate that spiritual direction.
2. Frequency: ordinarily not less than once a month; at times once every two or three weeks, or even every week.
3. Matters to be covered: problems and progress in the spiritual life
4. More specifically: a dialogue about the various areas of life in their spiritual dimension:
-A bit of background is very helpful to get started.
-Prayer life: How much and how often do you pray each day, each week?
-Do you have a daily plan for prayer?
-In what does it consist?
-Are you faithful to it?
-Are you making good use of your time?
-Are you making an effort to fulfill well your daily duties at home, at school and at work?
-Do you strive to sanctify your work i.e. do it for God?
-Which virtues do you live well?
-Which virtues do you lack?
-Are you making a concerted effort to uproot some defect or to acquire a particular virtue?
-How well do you relate to the persons around you: spouse, children, parents, friends, and neighbors?
-Are you concerned about the spiritual wellbeing of the persons around you?
-Are you doing apostolate with them?