Having a trusted spiritual director can make a profound impact on a person's life.
In the Catholic tradition, spiritual directors can be a priest, member of a religious order, or lay person who meet individually with a person for the purpose of sorting out spiritual questions, and providing guidance in the growth in holiness. By default all priests perform a limited amount of spiritual direction in the sacrament of penance, but typically don’t have enough time to adequately address issues in the time allotted.
Here is how the John Paul II Center for the New Evangelization describes spiritual direction.
Spiritual direction is meeting with a trained and experienced director to reflect on how God is present and active in your life right now, and how God might be calling you into deeper relationship. God is the Director; the human director serves as the vessel through which the Spirit works to uncover and discover the Divine at work in your everyday experiences. The content of the direction session is simply your life: whatever aspect, story, or experience you feel moved to bring to prayer and reflection. You the seeker, your director, and the Holy Spirit meet in holy conversation so “you may have life and have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10)Above all, your spiritual director listens and helps you to come clear about the hints and guesses, the invitations, and the “nudgings” of the Spirit in your life.
Spiritual direction is not psychotherapy or counseling and the best spiritual director will normally not tell you what to do. Instead, a good spiritual director will help you find the Holy Spirit in your life and give you tips on how to discern the best course of action.
Nearly all of the greatest saints of the Catholic Church had a spiritual director, who guided them and helped them reach the heights of perfection. The call to holiness is not easy in a fallen world, and it requires an attitude of humility, open to the wisdom of others.
The best way to find a spiritual director might be to first ask your parish priest. If he is unable to provide spiritual direction or link you to someone in the parish who can, then contact your local diocese, as they normally have a list of trained spiritual directors in your region.
Spiritual directors can help us look at life through a different lens, and often that is all we need to progress along the narrow road to our ultimate goal of Heaven.
Without this spiritual director, Teresa of Avila may have never become a saint
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