PRLog - Aug. 1, 2014 - CLEVELAND -- Spiritual direction. This is a phrase that is often thrown about in Catholic circles, but can be confusing to some, and intimidating for others. What exactly is spiritual direction? It is a form of spiritual mentorship - most often from a priest or religious - meant to be a process of formation and guidance. Spiritual direction is open to all Catholics, whether they are discerning a religious vocation, struggle with a particular sin or obstacle, or simply want guidance in growing in their faith life. Many of the saints regularly consulted their spiritual directors!
A spiritual director can provide valuable formation for our spiritual lives.
Often, the real question is, how do you find a spiritual director? And more importantly, what make a good spiritual director? Three questions stand out when it comes to finding a good fit:
1. Is this person qualified to do the job? This question is the most important one! A good spiritual director should have four qualities present. He should be
Educated - Has this person studied theology and philosophy? Do they understand what the Church teaches, and why the Church holds those teachings? Are they familiar with the call to holiness and the struggles and obstacles that come with it?
Prudent - Will they make wise and thought-out decisions? Do they offer sound advice? Do they think things through in a practical and logical way?
Experienced - Whether or not they have offered spiritual direction before, they must be experienced in living their own faith life as a practicing Catholic. Do they pray daily and receive the sacraments?
Holy - Does their life reflect Christ? Are they faithful to the Church? Do others see them as a joyful witness to Catholicism?
Finally, if you are seeking advice for a religious vocation, your spiritual director should also possess interior freedom, a freedom of the mind and heart. A person with interior freedom is able to give unbiased advice, free from pre-conceived notions or attachments.
2. Will they do the job? Although priests and religious are often willing to help individuals grow in the faith, their schedules are very busy. Therefore it's important to make sure that it's practical for the person you choose as your spiritual director. You don't want someone who never has the time to meet with you! Distance and existing commitments should be taken into account when asking someone to serve as your spiritual director.
3. Is this a good team fit? Obviously, you must get along with your spiritual director, and different personality types fit better than others. Some questions should be taken into account, such as:
Is there a sense of mutual understanding?
As the saints learned, a good spiritual director can help us understand God's will, root out recurring sins, provide support, and help us grow in holiness. If you are discerning a religious vocation, spiritual direction is a beneficial tool for better recognizing and interpreting God's calling! This helpful criteria can point you in the right direction to speak to a priest, religious, or lay person who can act as your spiritual director.
Based on an article by Fr. Scott Kallal.
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