What is Spiritual Direction?
In a word, spiritual direction is co-discernment. We learn to “see what the Father is doing (John 5:19),” not just in that moment, but over the months and seasons of a person’s life. The goal is to deepen the relationship with God by growing in attentiveness.
A Few Contemporary Definitions
“We define Christian spiritual direction, then, as help given by one Christian to another which enables that person to pay attention to God’s personal communication to him or her, to respond to this personally communicating God, to grow in intimacy with God, and to live out the consequences of that relationship.” – William A. Barry and William J. Connolly
“What is the purpose of a spiritual director? His (or her) direction is simply and clearly to lead us to our Real Director. The spiritual director is a means of God to open the path to the inward teaching of the Holy Spirit.” – Richard Foster
“As a spiritual director, I see myself as a companion to people on their journeys. As a companion, I accompany others who become more fully who they have been created to be, sinking their roots deep into the living waters of God’s grace and bearing fruit in the world.” – Susan Phillips
“Spiritual direction is the pastoral work that is historically termed the cure (or care) of souls … The cure of souls, then, is the Scripture-directed, prayer-shaped care that is devoted to persons singly or in groups … (it) is cultivated awareness that God has already seized the initiative. God has been working diligently, redemptively, and strategically before I appeared on the scene, before I was aware there was something here for me to do.” – Eugene Peterson
“The whole purpose of spiritual direction is to penetrate beneath the surface of a man’s life, to get behind the façade of conventional gestures and attitudes which he presents to the world, and to bring out his inner spiritual freedom, his inmost truth, which is what we call the likeness of Christ in his soul.” – Thomas Merton
What is the Work of the Spiritual Director?
Let’s first say what it’s not: It’s not “being told what to do in my spiritual life by an expert.” It is not an accountability partnership, focusing on avoiding sin. Spiritual direction is not counseling or inner healing. The director’s job is not to fix something that’s broken or make something happen. We insist that something is already happening, and that God is already doing a good, beautiful, and holy (even if hard) work in the lives of those who come for direction.
Consequently, the director’s role is simply to help the directee to notice God’s work accurately and respond to it vigorously, joyfully, and habitually over the months of a person’s journey. The director comes alongside the directee to dust for the fingerprints of God. While spiritual direction is journey-centered and not healing-centered, the growing awareness has healing and sanctifying affects in the directee’s life. Under the pastoral care umbrella, spiritual direction is a focused ministry of accompaniment and discernment.
Offering Spiritual Direction at Peaceful Pause
Spiritual direction can be a helpful tool alongside other rhythms practiced on site (silence, solitude, liturgy, fasting, work, Eucharist, Sabbath). It is available to individuals or groups who come to spend time with us. Space available, spiritual direction is available from a distance via Zoom or similar platform. Message us for more information using the form on this page.