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What is the role of a spiritual director?

Savoldo
St Anthony Abbot and St Paul (the Hermit), SAVOLDO, c. 1515 Oil on canvas, Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice
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A spiritual director helps you discern God's voice in your life

The goal of spiritual direction, which has always been a part of the Christian tradition, is to help a person develop a deeper relationship with God and better discern the action of the Holy Spirit in their lives – in short, the goal is help a person become more holy. Is it really necessary to have a spiritual director, one might wonder, if you are already reading the Bible and Catechism, receiving the sacraments regularly, and surrounding yourself with God-fearing friends? While it’s not strictly necessary to have a spiritual director, the extra guidance and accountability are usually needed if one is to advance more quickly in their life with God, especially through deeper prayer. God has designed the human person to walk the path of holiness not in solitude but in the company of others.
 
How does a spiritual director help you? First, it’s important to understand that a spiritual director is not to be thought of as your personal oracle with some secret view of your future, who will be able to tell you exactly what to do in every particular circumstance. They are a companion who helps lead you to the voice of God within – they don’t necessarily know what He is saying to you! God is at all times the true Director.
 
A good spiritual director is a guide who knows the teachings of the Church and always offers you advice through a faithful observance of them. They will help you, through reflection on the current events of your life, and through praying with you, to become more present to your own relationship with God and to the subtle ways in which He may nudging you. They might help you discern which spiritual practices are or methods of prayers are most helpful for you.
 
Spiritual directors can be clergy or laypersons, and either male or female. The qualities that will ensure their ability to fulfill their role are a mature and well-informed faith and prayer life of their own and the ability to listen to, encourage, and challenge their spiritual charge to a greater awareness of God’s action and call in their life.
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