Spiritual direction has been gifted to us by the Church. Pope Saint John XXIII even advocated that a new generation of saints might be formed through the guidance and encouragement of spiritual directors.
At the end of high school and my first two years of undergrad, I wore a rubber bracelet (a fad that came with the LiveStrong bracelets. Do you remember that? Did you wear one??). Mine said: “Seek Holiness.” I was seeking. I knew I needed to go deeper. I knew I was called to something more, but I didn’t know how to put my finger on it. I was nineteen years old; I had been practicing the Catholic faith intentionally since I was thirteen. In some sense, I didn’t feel like I had grown that much since I made the initial jump to live the faith, and honestly, I didn’t know how to keep moving forward or grow.
At the time, my campus minister introduced me to spiritual direction, and she gave me the contact information of a woman who would become my first spiritual director. It was a good fit for a season, but then the relationship faded.
I moved overseas for graduate school, and I needed something, rather someone, different. I met with a Dominican priest for a couple of sessions for spiritual direction, and in all honesty, he was just too handsome! (I hope that made you laugh, but it was true!)
Time went on, and I was introduced to another priest during graduate school. He was an Augustinian, and it was a great fit! We met once a month for about a year until I moved back to the states. After I got back stateside, I met with a director here and there, but nothing fit until I found my current director I have been journeying with for seven years.
Why am I sharing all of this? For three reasons: 1) Spiritual direction is a gift, and when God sends us someone to be our guide, we need to thank God and pray for the director. 2) A spiritual director may be gifted to you for just a season. We have transitions and life changes, sometimes moving us on and into the wisdom and gifts of another. 3) Lastly, my personal experience of spiritual direction has impacted how I serve as a director. My experience of spiritual direction has shaped the way I approach and give guidance.
If I was your spiritual director, here’s what you can expect:
The Spiritual Direction Journey
Our focus will be on your relationship with God.
Our spiritual direction journey will undoubtedly touch on everything in your life, but our primary focus will be on your relationship with God. God wants to have a personal relationship with you. God initiates this! He is always pursuing you, even in this very moment. This is your most fundamental relationship.
God made you and knows everything about you, including your deepest longings, and he wants you to have an even deeper relationship with Himself and others. We will address past and present wounds and pursue freedom. To go deeper into the spiritual life, God needs to heal you first.
We will look first at God’s original design. Why did God make you? And how is God calling you? Who is God, and what, if any, false images do you have of him? What is keeping you from a deeper relationship with God? What do you need to let go of to allow God more access to you?
Our mission in spiritual direction is to help develop and grow your relationship with God and move you into self-gift.
In spiritual direction you will have the opportunity to open your heart, sometimes sharing the most intimate of memories and experiences, including those that involve God, parents, siblings, friends, romantic and sexual relationships, colleagues, and mentors.
This sharing can bring about awareness of God’s movements, greater depth or relationship, forming of your conscience, even transformation and healing. When deep sharing takes place in spiritual direction, you allow yourself to become more known by the director, but ultimately God.
This can provide great healing! This healing, self-awareness, and a greater formed conscience is intended to root you in your original design and point you to God’s intended purpose for you: complete self-donation.
Related: Why I Travelled Across the World to Teach the Theology of the Body
I will help you see God and the Catholic faith as personal and relational.
God is a good, loving, and generous God. He is not a tyrant. But a God who only desires your good and eternal intimacy with you. In line with this, he is personal and has an infinite nature of selfless and life-giving love.
That’s why you were created! He couldn’t contain his love. Starting with the very gift of creation, designing you, etc., he is always offering himself as a gift and is inviting you to respond.
Even when it may seem scary, together, we will explore how he is calling you to respond to his unique love for you. This primarily happens in prayer, a time of intimate communicating with God.
When and how does this take place in spiritual direction?
Spiritual direction is a monthly 60-minute session over the telephone or Zoom. I begin the session with spontaneous prayer. We open up Scripture and pray together a brief version of Lectio Divina.
The first time I read the Scripture passage, I invite you to receive it as a gift. The second time, I invite you to pay attention to any words or phrases that stand out to you.
Following the second time reading the passage, I invite you into 10 minutes of quiet prayer to provide the opportunity for an encounter with God. I will give you three to five questions to reflect on and pray about. After ten minutes of silent prayer, I read the passage one more time and then share a brief reflection.
You’ll share insights from your prayer time, as well as what you brought with you to that session. We’ll discuss, talk through any questions you have, and consider where you’ve seen God in what you’ve shared. I conclude the session by offering you homework, summarizing key points from the session, and leading closing prayer.
Related: Here’s What Can Happen If You Take Time for Spiritual Direction
Do we talk in between monthly sessions?
After our session, I will follow up with you with any significant points we discussed and the homework for the month. Also, every two weeks, there is an option for a 15-minute check-in meeting.
This is an opportunity for you to share how prayer is going, anything of urgency, as well as an opportunity for accountability, to receive guidance and/or resources.
No matter the frequency of our visits, I have the privilege of praying for you. I welcome your intentions. I will even have Masses said for you and your intentions.
Spiritual Direction is a Gift from the Church
Spiritual direction is again a great gift from the Church. Whether you journey with me as your director or God gifts you someone else as a guide for your journey, I pray you will have the opportunity to totally open your heart.
I hope you will experience the self-giving love of God, which will give way to great fulfillment in this life and point to all that you were designed for in the next.