Spiritual direction is sacred time set apart to intentionally nurture one’s relationship with God in the presence of another who listens and responds with skill and compassion.
While all dimensions of a person’s life experience are
welcome in spiritual direction, they serve as a resource for the primary
focus―the relationship with God and the activity of the Spirit in
that person’s life. In spiritual direction, that locus of discernment
is found within the directee and his/her interaction with God.
Prayer in its various forms saturates and animates the spiritual direction relationship. The spiritual director (companion) agrees to pray for and with the directee. The person receiving direction covenants to deepen all aspects of their spiritual life. During spiritual direction, some form of prayer is often included.
The spiritual director
is a servant to the process of spiritual growth occurring in the
spiritual direction relationship. While some spiritual directors are
ordained clergy, many are not. The role of the spiritual director can
include prophet, pastor, and teacher but is most appropriately seen as
mid-wife. She/he listens to the other in a receptive mode and responds
creatively, thus assisting in the birth of spiritual insight within the
directee. The direction and responses may include questions, comments,
challenges, images, scripture passages, affirmations, teachings or
active silence. Knowing the spiritual importance of this work, the
spiritual director will also be in a relationship of direction for
his/her own growth and accountability.
Our relationship with
God is always lived out in the context of relationship with one another
and the whole created order. Therefore, spiritual direction is a
personal time apart from others but is never an escape from our
relationship with others and the world. Through spiritual direction, the
unique gifts of the directee are discovered, affirmed, empowered and
offered to God in loving service to others.
© 2002, Brad Berglund
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The spiritual life is a life in which we struggle to move from absurd living to obedient living. The word absurd includes the word surdus which means “deaf.” Absurd living is a way of life in which we remain deaf to the voice which speaks to us in our silence.
Henri J. Nouwen, in Spiritual Direction