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Can any Christian become a spiritual director?

Woman talks with priest

SeventyFour | Shutterstock

Philip Kosloski - published on 03/04/24

Being a spiritual director is not something that anyone can simply jump into, as it requires more of a calling from God than pure skill.

While spiritual direction may be similar in some ways to counseling, a true spiritual director relies more on God’s grace than on any particular skill.

This does not mean that spiritual directors do not need to learn various techniques. They certainly should increase their abilities through education and practical experience.

However, spiritual direction is much more than counseling or therapy, as it is more of a gift given by God.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church affirms that spiritual direction requires grace from God:

The Holy Spirit gives to certain of the faithful the gifts of wisdom, faith and discernment for the sake of this common good which is prayer (spiritual direction). Men and women so endowed are true servants of the living tradition of prayer.

CCC 2690

This is the beauty of the Church, as not everyone can be “the hand.” St. Paul goes to great length to describe this concept in his letter to the Corinthians, “there are many parts, yet one body” (see 1 Corinthians 12:15-26).

St. John of the Cross details even more requirements for spiritual directors, as the Catechism explains:

According to St. John of the Cross, the person wishing to advance toward perfection should “take care into whose hands he entrusts himself, for as the master is, so will the disciple be, and as the father is so will be the son.” And further: “In addition to being learned and discreet a director should be experienced. . . . If the spiritual director has no experience of the spiritual life, he will be incapable of leading into it the souls whom God is calling to it, and he will not even understand them.”

CCC 2690

If anyone wants to become a spiritual director, they should pray about it first and ask God if he is calling them to such a difficult ministry.

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