On the front page of the bulletin for St. Mary’s CCM there is a category under “…Ministry Staff” that says “Spiritual Direction” with my name, Aloma Marquis, attached. You might wonder, “What exactly is spiritual direction?” Before personally experiencing it, I wondered as well.
According to New Advent Catholic Encyclopedia, spiritual direction is part of the Churches pastoral ministry wherein it “…guides the faithful to eternal happiness”/ union with God, whether through preaching, teaching, or personal guidance according to their needs and state in life. As author Daniel Burke wrote in his book, Navigating the Interior Life Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God (pg. 3), a spiritual director is a type of “spiritual coach,” who through training, the treasury of Church teachings, prayer, Scripture, the sacraments, active listening, and concrete practices, helps the directee to …”come to better know, love, and follow Christ…” Directors help the faithful to grow in living out the virtues “grounded in love” (Burke, pg. 75), “…until we all attain to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the extent of the full stature of Christ.” (Eph 4:13 NAB)
Also according to Burke, spiritual direction is not, among other things: confession, psychological counseling, self-help, spiritual friendship, crisis management, a one shot deal, or an attempt to avoid active service in the world. It is not simply a “me and Jesus” proposition. The whole Body of Christ and ultimately the world are the beneficiaries of the outcomes of successful spiritual direction as Eph 4: 15-16 states, “Rather, living the truth in love, we should grow in every way into him who is the head, Christ,[g]from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, with the proper functioning of each part, brings about the body’s growth and builds itself up in love.”
Ideally, one should seek a well - trained priest since he would be able to administer the sacraments especially Reconciliation and Holy Communion in addition to offering spiritual counsel in effectively living Christ’s life in one’s particular state and circumstances. When a priest is unavailable a trained lay person is the next choice. The sessions are usually conducted face-to-face (optimum) though in the digital age they are sometimes done via Skype and similar services and by telephone if no other way is available.
In spiritual direction the directee has another set of more neutral eyes and ears to help, with God’s grace, him or her discern the activity and call of the Holy Spirit and listen for concrete ways to act upon what is seen and heard.
In short, spiritual direction can help a person to come to deeper self-awareness and intimacy with God who knows and loves each of us through-and-through. We can begin to discover that “...that we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them.” (Eph 2:10, NAB)
My email is: firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to schedule time to discuss spiritual direction and what it may entail.