“Huh? What does that even mean?”
“Don’t worry, it’s good,” he said reassuringly, with that slight laugh he gets when I look at him like he’s speaking a lost language.
I’ve had the same Spiritual Director for about 2-1/2 years. He’s the person I trust the most with the care and feeding of my soul.
Three years ago, I started praying for a Spiritual Director after reading what Catherine Doherty said about spiritual direction and the importance of having a Director. She advised that it’s important to pray for a spiritual director and to pray for your spiritual director, even if you don’t know who he/she is yet. So I did. For months, I asked our Blessed Mother to find me a Spiritual Director.
After awhile, the same name kept popping into my head every time I prayed. I had heard him preach and had gone to him once for confession. I decided to approach him even though he had no idea who I was. Unfortunately, he wasn’t easy to contact and I almost gave up. I told Mother Mary that she must have made a mistake (I know, I know. I can’t believe I did that!) Giving it one last shot, I became a little bolder in my effort to track him down. After some detective work, I managed to get his work email. To my surprise, he agreed to have a first meeting with me, probably to see if I was sincere.
Wise Friend has guided me through some very rough patches and has tried to keep my mind and heart on the Lord. He has broadened my spiritual reading and even taught me some Latin phrases. Each month, I come armed with questions and he does his level best to answer them, sometimes rolling his eyes and chuckling. I look forward to my regular visits. I know he’s “got my back.” He has become someone I care for very much.
Spiritual Direction is a grace. It’s so easy to become confused and distracted in our spiritual life. We need someone to filter out what’s wrong and what’s harmful; someone who will encourage our questions and tell us when we’re being silly or just plain stupid; someone who will steer us on the right path. And we need someone to tell us we’re doing OK. A good relationship with a Spiritual Director will do all that.
Here’s what I’ve learned about good spiritual direction:
- on the way to your appointment, ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart as well as your Spiritual Director’s heart
- ask the Holy Spirit to be present at your meeting
- be completely honest, even if it’s embarrassing
- trust him/her with your life and soul
- don’t waste his/her time
- it’s OK to question, but do what he/she says
- pray for him/her constantly
- your Spiritual Director is not your buddy
If you don’t have a Spiritual Director, take Catherine Doherty’s advice. Pray for one. Leave it in the hands of Mary and listen to the promptings of your heart. Be patient; it could take some time. Having the guidance of a good Spiritual Director makes all the difference in your spiritual journey.