One of the many inspiring messages from praying with the Sacred Scriptures is that God creates us to be in community. We are not intended to be isolated. We need to depend on, seek council from and encourage one another. In fact, this is the underlying assumption of why the New Testament was written. St. Paul mentors Timothy and Titus. He writes to the churches throughout Asia Minor encouraging and calling them to share community with one another. He simply follows the example of Jesus as he mentored his Apostles every day for three years.
God does not expect us to be alone on our spiritual journey. He calls us to communion with himself, as well as with one another. This is why Jesus teaches the two greatest Commandments — love God and love your neighbor. They are great because they are intimately related. The old saying “two heads are better than one” is just as true in the spiritual life as in the natural life. For this reason, God calls us to seek wise counsel on our own individual spiritual journey. This is why we need to find a competent, spiritual mentor or director for ourselves.
A spiritual director guides us along the path of wisdom and righteousness for our journey to heaven. A person truly under the dominion of the Holy Spirit is the primary spiritual director. The word spiritual refers to the life lived in and through the Holy Spirit. A director refers to a leader who will offer a plan to follow. This journey is, of course, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
The difference between a director and a mentor for this process differs on three issues:
The level of theological training of the one directing or mentoring.
The amount of experience of the one directing or mentoring.
The needs of a person seeking mentorship or direction. If one is just beginning a spiritual journey and has never had a director, perhaps the need is for someone to offer suggestions for cultivating good habits such as: frequenting the sacraments; spending time in mental prayer; making and keeping daily resolutions, etc. A spiritual mentor can offer this guidance.
Next Time – Necessity of Spiritual Direction