There are people who are trained and are competent to assist us as we journey in conforming our lives to God’s perfect will. We should seek wise counsel because the challenges are too numerous for us to journey alone.
In the Gospel of Mark 10:17, a role example of director/directee takes place:
- A man runs up to Jesus. (the necessity of spiritual direction)
- He kneels down in front of Jesus. (humility)
- He asks Jesus’ assistance. (docility)
- “Good teacher,” he says. (recognition of the primary director of the soul)
- “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” (desire to obey)
- Unfortunately, the rich young man goes away sad because he is unwilling to undertake the necessary task of self-denial that Jesus offers to him.
Thomas Merton wrote, “The spiritual director is concerned with the whole person, for the spiritual life is not just the life of the mind, or of the affections, or of the ‘summit of the soul’—it is the life of the whole person … a spiritual director is, then, one who helps another to recognize and to follow the inspirations of grace in their life.”
The role of a spiritual director/mentor is focused on a person’s growth in holiness. The spiritual director/mentor is a voice of objectivity, a neutral set of eyes and ears to help a person discern God’s will and to grow in virtue and faith. Once these principles become integrated into a person’s heart and soul, the faith journey becomes the path to a deeper relationship with God bestowing endless grace and blessings. A good analogy is that of a piano teacher: the pupil may feel burdened by the rules and regulations governing their instrument. The teacher may seem authoritarian at first, but as these rules become integrated into good musical habits, the pupil is freed to become an artist!
What spiritual direction is not
Dealing with moral and spiritual matters are the proper domain for spiritual direction. It is not the proper arena to deal with or seek to resolve relational, psychological and mental issues. These cases should seek assistance from therapy and counselling.
Next time — Qualities of a spiritual director