Blog Template Theology of the Body: Direction

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


YOU DESPERATELY NEED A SPIRITUAL DIRECTOR... These are the words of the dynamic and amazing Congregationalist Professor John Reist. He was right.

Fr. Paul Helfrich of The Brotherhood of Hope agrees: "every believer has the right to be accompanied."

Spiritual Direction is the old monastic practice of mutual submission and guidance between Religious with regards to their prayer lives (think also, Scripturally, of Samuel and David in the OT... Blessed Mary running straight to Elizabeth after hearing The News... all of the care St. Paul devoted to his apostolic charges... the list goes on). It's now Rather Trendy. Anyone who finds a spiritual director commits to the huge privilege of plopping down in the Director's company at regular times to unveil the secrets and quandries and questions of his prayer life, vocational discernment process, and moral life. It's wonderful. It is not "having an accountability partner," nor is it the "headship" which gets tossed around in various Charismatic circles; rather, it is spiritual self-disclosure to one who is trained to listen capably, prayerfully, and reflectively, and who has a modicum of authority to suggest What You Should Do With Yourself.

I have had a Spiritual Director for the past three years, and dont really know how I survived without one prior.

What you should all do: scurry off and find a good Dominican to be your spiritual director. They will probably take you, whoever you are. Otherwise, NB that the Episcopalians have a really rich and expansive tradition of this sort of thing - the Society of St. John in Cambridge, MA is especially prolific. Methodists do spiritual direction really well. If you are a real Protestant, then you must be careful- say that you are looking for a "mentor" or someone to "disciple you" or something equally non-hierarchical, or They May Think You Are Nuts.

So, who has a Director? And if not, why not, for Pete's sake?