Friday, September 14, 2012

What is Spiritual Direction?

“Spiritual direction is a relationship between two people that allows one to assist the other in discerning God’s activity and presence in his or her life.” (Adele Ahlberg Calhoun)

“A spiritual director listens with one ear to God and the other to the directee, always encouraging the directee to recognize where God can be found throughout the journey.” (Calhoun)

“At its core, spiritual direction attends to the faithfulness and initiative of God. The Holy Spirit is really the Director of the time together as both parties pay attention to God’s movements and call.” (Calhoun)

Spiritual direction is an interpersonal process in which two people work together toward the goal of a deeper, more explicitly intimate and mutual relationship of the directee with God. (William A. Barry and William J. Connolly)

"For us, spiritual direction is concerned with helping a person directly with his or her relationship with God. It may well be that in each of the human problems . . . the most fundamental issue is that relationship and its underlying questions: 'Who is God for me, and who am I for God?'" (William A. Barry and William J. Connolly)

Here is a helpful illustration to distinguish between spiritual direction and other helping relationships. When seeking help with one’s marriage:
▪     A friend listens and shares joys and struggles about marriage.
▪     A teacher tells what the Bible and wise Christians have to say about the subject.
▪     A disciple-maker develops a biblical plan for growth in marriage.
▪     A counselor identifies problems that affect the marriage and seeks to change behavior.
▪     A mentor models a healthy marriage and builds a relationship with the person.
▪     A spiritual director helps the person discern God’s presence and listen for God’s voice in the joys and sorrows of marriage. (Adapted from a piece by Hallie Cowan)

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