Sunday, 04 October 2020 16:51

Apostolate of caring for the souls of others, part 3

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Spiritual directors and spiritual mentors can mistakenly assume they must have all of the answers before engaging others in their apostolate. This is not true for the following reasons:

  • • The Holy Spirit guides the spiritual director/mentor and bestows grace not always detected as they listen to the directee/mentee. The Holy Spirit only needs the opportunity to work through the director/mentor and be given an “open window” through which to function.

  • • Truth has power even when not explained well. Truth needs only to be heard to do its work. “… so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I propose, and prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” (Is 55:11)

  • • As a spiritual director/mentor, example speaks the loudest. Being a living witness of the message gives the ultimate argument for words. The quote attributed to St. Francis says it best, “Preach the Gospel, and when necessary use words.”

  • • Do not forget that the spiritual director’s/mentor’s own peace and joy are the most profound argument. They cannot be duplicated by mere human effort alone or by the evil one. Peace and joy are genuine proof of God’s work.

  • • Remember we are all created for union with God. The directee/mentee are searching for him, although they may not know it. A spiritual director/mentor can count on this deep yearning placed in the heart by God.

  • • We all have angels who see the face of God. Pray to the directee’s/mentee’s angel for assistance.

  • • If the spiritual director/mentor listens carefully to what the obstinate person is saying two further truths may be discovered.

  • ○ The root error is often revealed by the Holy Spirit.

  • ○ The real cause of hard-heartedness may be attachment to sin, emotional scars, lack of love or bad example. In these cases, intellectual arguments will not convince, no matter how logical and eloquent.

Spiritual directors and mentors must know the Catholic faith if they are going to guide others on their spiritual journey. St. Peter states in his first letter, “Always be prepared to make a defense to anyone who calls you to account the hope that is in you ... .” (1 Pet 3:15) However, they need not be concerned to have all of the answers before they engage others in their apostolic work.

Next Issue —Mission field

(final DJH column)