The World of Spiritual Direction
What is Spiritual Direction?
Spiritual Direction is a specialized ministry in the Church. It is a graced way of serving another believer, helping the other to grow in intimacy with God and to live out the consequences of this intimacy. The focus of spiritual direction is the directee’s (man/woman of. prayer) experience of God and how communication happens between God and the directee. Trained spiritual directors have a background in ministry, communication skills, personality dynamics, and various resources in prayer, spirituality and scripture. While some directors may be trained pastoral or psychological counselors, problem solving or therapy is not the focus. Rather, both director and directee agree to meet regularly so the the directee might pay closer attention to the action of God.
Why would you need a Spiritual Director?
The need for a Spiritual Director comes when you want to develop a deeper relationship with God, when your search for God seems to be at a crossroad, when you want to explore new methods of prayer or prayer becomes difficult, when you feel the need for someone to assist you in discerning the call of the Spirit, or when you feel the need for a companion on the spiritual journey to walk with you and listen. We are not made to walk the spiritual journey alone!
What happens in Spiritual Direction?
The person coming for spiritual direction should try to describe for the director what’s going on in the everyday events of life. For example:
- when you pray and how often
- how you pray and what you use to assist you in prayer
- you may share your anxieties, fear, struggles, day to day worries
- how you get along with others: patience, tolerance, cooperation In spiritual direction, the directee is far more active than the director.
What can I expect in Spiritual Direction?
The director assists you in becoming more aware of who God is for you, in helping you notice God’s movement in the events of your life, and in your prayer as they listen to your story. You can expect the director to listen attentively to God’s invitations, urgings and confirmations, and to help you recognize resistance and roadblocks by feeding back to you what they heard you saying. The spiritual director is not judgmental but assists the directee to objectify his or her experience. The director can assist the directee by gaining insight into oneself by trying to name the experience and to hold the conversation in reverence by savoring the experience with God. The director will keep the focus on the directee’s relationship with God. Contemporary direction presumes that God communicates through ordinary human experience and in that experience is found God’s invitations and urgings. The director is a companion on life’s journey, asking reflective questions and pointing out resources that may help along the way.
In summary, Spiritual Direction is about a desire to learn and a call to deeper understanding of three primary relationships, our relationship with ourselves, others and God. Incorporated within these relationships is the mystery of how they relate one to the other.
The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius A Retreat in Everyday Life
Every day men and women are called to deepen their relationship with God. How often have you asked yourself the following questions?
- What does it mean to deepen your relationship with God?
- In what ways are you being challenged or invited to risk what you know for something beyond your wildest dreams?
- When was the last time you shared your desires to know God with
- Does your curiosity move you to seeking a path that will open up a way to God?
- “My way of praying doesn’t seem to move me anymore.” Does that ring a bell!
If it does and you are already on the spiritual journey, which means that you already have spiritual disciplines built into your everyday experience, then perhaps the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius – The Retreat in Everyday Life is for you. Call the Renewal Center Office for further information – 631-273-1187 x 411
What are the Spiritual Exercises?
The Spiritual Exercises are a structured way of praying with the Sacred Scripture. It is also called the Retreat in Everyday Life because it is a way of integrating your daily life with your prayer life. Observing the action of God in all the circumstances of your life is an amazing experience.
The pray-er or retreatant makes a commitment to pray for an hour each day on a specific scripture passage, keeps a journal of the encounter with God (what happens in your prayer) and meets with an experienced spiritual director once a week for thirty weeks. This sounds like a long time but when you are engaged in your prayer, life takes on a new perspective.
We offer this very unique experience to those whose hearts are open to experience God in a deeper, more personal way. If you would like to explore this possibility for yourself, call 631-273-1187 x 411.
Preparation for the Discernment on Becoming a Spiritual Director Three Year Training Program in the Art of Spiritual Direction
Many men and women active in Church ministry today are being asked to listen and to be present to those in need. Whether the need to be one of listening or one of presence, the contemplative heart is what gi es u the awareness needed to be able to listen and to respond to the persons desire to get to know Jesus. You are invited to discern your call to be a Spiritual Director.
We sponsor a three year process to assist you in your discernment. If people are asking you to listen, perhaps you have received the call. Are you aware of your gift?
Beginning in the fall, in year one, you are invited to experience the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola in what is called the 19th Annotation Retreat.
You will walk with Jesus in your own everyday life experience, over a period of about eight months. ·Aware that not everyone has the luxury of thirty days, this retreat is designed to afford you the luxury in everyday living. Your commitment is to pray with a specific scripture passage each day, meeting with your director once a week and journaling your experience in prayer. What you share within the direction session in your response to the question: “What is God saying to you as you pray with the Sacred Word?”
The second year of preparation will be a once-a-week input session (set up in a fourteen week semester both in the fall and the spring) on the many faceted world of spiritual direction. We will experience the inter-relationship of Theology, Spirituality, Psychology of Human Development and how they interface with our Religious Experience.
The fall semester of the third year, you will explore the dynamics of spiritual direction and supervision. In the spring semester you will participate in an internship which involves a time of directing men and women in prayer, as well as your participation in a peer supervision group and in individual supervision with an experienced supervisor.
Recognizing we are all busy people, let us enter one step at a time, the 19th A notat,on Retreat of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius and allow God to direct your call to be a contemplative listener.
An Invitation to Participate in Spiritual Direction Internship
The Internship in Spiritual Direction takes place in year three of the training program. During year three in the last semester, each student is asked to practice their skills, within a period of time called an Internship. If you are interested, it would mean taking time for prayer each day, keeping a journal about what happens in your prayer and meeting with the student intern for ten weeks, once a week. I realize that you are all very busy; however this is an opportunity of a lifetime. The time you will be meeting with your student intern is at a mutually agreeable time. There is no cost for this experience. The person you will be seeing during these ten weeks will also be in supervision. Supervision is for the director; it assists them as they walk with you.
Spiritual Direction is all about companioning men and women on the spiritual journey. It is an opportunity to speak with someone who will listen attentively to you and not give you advice. Your conversations are held in strict confidence. The answers to all our struggles and questions come from inside out. Spiritual Direction is a means of walking along the way with a companion who is also on the journey.
The Internship begins on January 20. If you are interested in this experience, call the office at 631-273-1187 x 411 and ask for an application. Thank you for your generous response, your time and your desire to deepen your relationship with God, others and within yourself!