St. Francis of Assisi tells us, “Where there is peace and meditation, there is neither anxiety nor doubt.” Sometimes, though, we need help getting to that place of peace. If you are seeking a fuller life in God, spiritual direction may be a useful tool in your faith journey.

What is Spiritual Direction?

Spiritual direction is ministry of conversation between two people, where one believer has been trained to use “holy listening” and help the other learn to pay attention to God’s personal communication and to live out the consequences of that intimate relationship with God. Spiritual direction focuses on how we encounter the Holy One in our lives. Through one-on-one sessions, the spiritual director helps the directee to look closely at their life to discern God’s presence and direction, engage in prayer, and move more deeply into relationship with God.

Who is Spiritual Direction For?

Spiritual direction is for anyone seeking a greater intimacy with God. It may be particularly useful for those who wish to:

  • Explore new ways to pray or reenergize your prayer life
  • Integrate spirituality into your daily life
  • Learn to identify and trust your experiences of God
  • Discern God’s will in your life and direction in important decisions

What happens in Spiritual Direction?

Spiritual directors meet with a directee periodically, usually in a one-hour session. During those sessions, the director will ask reflective questions and listen attentively to help you notice the ways God is acting in your life. You will learn to see the connections between your life and God’s action, focus on the experience of being in contact with God, and reflect on your interior life as the Holy One moves within and around you.

How is it different from pastoral counseling or psychotherapy?

While all three begin with one person seeking help from another and happen in an atmosphere of trust and confidentiality, the purpose of the sessions is different. As William Barry, SJ, notes, “Counseling and psychotherapy focus on the difficulties people have in their personal and professional lives… Spiritual direction focuses on what happens when a person attends to the relationship with God.”

How can I learn more?

If you feel called to explore spiritual direction, please contact Gladys Whitehouse at sfaspiritualdirection@gmail.com.

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