Spiritual Direction

Spiritual direction is “help given by one person to another within a faith tradition, which enables that person to pay attention to God’s personal communication to him or her, to respond to this personally communicating God, to grow in intimacy with this God, and to live out the consequences of the relationship.” (William A. Barry and William J. Connolly, The Practice of Spiritual Direction)

Life is a gift from God, a sacred journey, and as we walk this earthly path, we walk with God and in communion with others. God is always with us, in the midst of our lives but if God were trying to speak to us, would we always hear? If God were either reassuring us or challenging us, would we be aware? When God has been supporting us, have we always noticed? Sometimes we need the wise guidance, support, and loving challenge of another to help us to make God’s desires for us known. Every faith tradition in the world has seeker-guide relationships. Jesus is the role model for spiritual directors in the Christian tradition. He drew people into relationship, walked with them, and illuminated their lives with the startling revelation of His Father’s Kingdom. Spiritual accompaniment can help us to put our own anxieties and concerns into perspective, to make good life choices and to be more open to the part that God is playing in our lives.

Spiritual direction is concerned with a person’s actual experience of a relationship with God and it presumes that God is encountered in daily life. The religious experience is not isolated, nor does it consist of extraordinary events; it permeates every strand of life. It is what happens in an ongoing relationship between the person and God. Most often this is a relationship that is experienced in prayer in its many forms. We need to remember that the real spiritual director is God. God touches the human heart directly. The human spiritual director does not “direct” in the sense of giving advice and solving problems. Rather, the director is there to help a person respond to God’s invitation to a deeper relationship.

Spiritual direction is a three-way relationship; with the true Director who is the Holy Spirit, the human director, and the directee. God is always the true Director at work in our lives. A spiritual director simply serves as a channel through which God works to uncover and discover the Divine at work in our everyday experiences. Through spiritual direction God is leading the person to deeper faith and more generous service. God touches the human heart directly. The human spiritual director does not “direct” in the sense of giving advice and solving problems. Rather, the director ‘walks with’ the directee without judging, creates the space for God to work and helps the person respond to God’s invitation to a deeper, loving  relationship. In this way spiritual direction is a gift to help the directee to become more aware of God’s presence, encouraging them to see and savour the goodness that exists around them, and for sorting out difficult situations and discerning life choices. The direction process invites the person into this deeper relationship with God and thereby into a deeper understanding of the spiritual aspects of being human. It teaches how to listen and to see how God is already at work.


Related links:

Clifton Diocesan website – Spiritual Direction Network

To contact our Network Coordinator, Sue Thomson, email: network@cliftondiocese.com

Ministry of Spiritual Direction – Spiritual Directors please also contact Sue Thomson (email address above) for further information.

Sacred Journey a website exploring the journey into spiritual direction