“Do you seriously wish to travel the road to devotion? If so, look for a good man to guide and lead you.” — St. Francis de Sales
Let’s just say it right off the bat: finding a good spiritual director is not easy. However, for those serious about advancing in prayer and the interior life, it is important to keep looking until you find a good fit—not necessarily a ‘perfect’ person, but somebody pursuing holiness, knowledgeable about prayer and the Catholic faith, committed to the Magisterium, and deeply desirous to help you grow spiritually and discern the movements of the Holy Spirit in your life.
There is no one right way to go about finding a Spiritual Director, but there are some tried-and-true steps you can take, beginning now, to find one.
2. Ask your pastor. He may not be able to take you on as a directee, but as the spiritual father of your parish (and therefore you!) he is a good person to begin with and may be able to suggest another priest, religious, or layperson from your parish or diocese. Even if your priest can’t commit to long-term spiritual direction, but you really need guidance, he may be able to meet once or a few times to assist with a particular struggle. Don’t be afraid to ask.
3. Look for a recommendation from someone you know and trust. Do you know anyone who is happy with their spiritual director? Ask about their experience. Can they point you in the right direction? Contact your diocese and see where they might suggest starting.
5. Don’t disregard the laity. More and more lay people are gifted spiritual directors, and may have more training than even some priests.
6. Inquire at reputable schools of spiritual direction, including:
- Heart of Christ in Ann Arbor, MI
- The Cenacle of Our Lady of Divine Providence School of Spirituality in Clearwater, FL
- Lanteri Center for Ignatian Spirituality in Denver, Colorado
- Institute for Ministry Formation at St. Vincent’s Seminary in Latrobe, PA.
7. Be open to a spiritual mentor; someone ahead of you on the journey with a pastoral heart who is willing to accompany you in the spiritual life. Perhaps that older woman in your mom’s group or the wise member of your bible study who seems to live a balanced life of prayer and work. Perhaps there is a writer whose words have had an impact in your life. Is there a speaker, retreat master, professor, or teacher whose presentations have moved you? It may be worth asking whether or not they could mentor you, or suggest someone else who could.
8. Seek out healthy spiritual friendships, relationships with others who can walk by your side and join you in the journey. Attend a bible-study or faith-sharing small group and get to know others who desire, like you, to draw closer to Christ. We were created for community, and while it can’t take the place of true Spiritual Direction, it is also a necessary part of the Christian walk.
10. Don’t stop seeking. Beware the thoughts that you should give up, or that no one has time. God has called people to be spiritual directors, and they need to fulfill their mission as much as you need to fulfill your own! Be patient and swat away the lie of the enemy of your soul who would suggest that it is all a waste of time. “Be confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 1:6)
Editor’s note: This article originally appeared on SpiritualDirection.com and is reprinted here with kind permission.
Claire Dwyer – (catholicexchange.com)