Why get a Spiritual Director?

Dear Beginner,

I think that I have mentioned it already a few times, but here I want to talk more about what is a spiritual director.

Imagine that you are going on a long trip.  You know where you want to go, and you may even have some idea about how to get there.  But even so, you look it up on google maps or your GPS to know exactly, because you need to arrive at the destination.  There are difficult roads and dangerous neighborhoods, and you don’t know how much time you have to get there, so you want the quickest, safest, most direct route.  

Have you made the spiritual application yet? I’ll explain just in case: you want to get to heaven, you’ve already heard a few things about what you need to do, but you’re not sure of the traps that the devil puts before you, nor are you familiar with the shortcuts, like devotion to Our Lady.  A spiritual director, someone you can see is a very prayerful person who lives for Christ and not for the world or himself, will help you on that way.  Normally, a priest or religious sister or brother would be ideal for this position, as they have dedicated their lives to the Lord.

Why do you need a spiritual director? Similar to confession, it is good for us to talk out loud to someone else.  In confession, Jesus gave priests the power to forgive sins, but it helps us grow in humility as well as receive consolation when we say our failures and sins, and hear the words “you are forgiven.” We are human and the Lord, who made us, knows what we need.  Many times, even just saying what is going on inside of you helps you to clear out the clutter that’s piling up.  It helps you to understand and explain yourself— many times even just after admitting a temptation or shortfall you’ve been having makes the whole thing disappear.  

Whatever your state of life, it is good to have someone there to help you to discern what you need to do and how to do it.  Someone experienced in the spiritual life will help you to distinguish the voice of God in what He is telling you.

After reading the Rules of Discerning spirits, I hope that you can understand how spiritual direction is a great weapon against the devil.  He who fell due to pride, can’t stand to see someone admit their faults to another, ask for advice, or—dare I mention it—obey what they say.  Also, a spiritual director will usually be able to spot the devil’s doing amidst the chaos, and point that out.  When that happens, you can take the measures to foil his plan and he’ll suffer another downfall.  

A spiritual director will never force or obligate you to do anything.  He will respect your freedom and certainly has no desire to run your life, but rather is there to point out the right path and advise you about the things he sees necessary.

How to choose a spiritual director? Unfortunately they aren’t found in the yellow pages.  First ask the Lord for light and to help you find one.  Then, calmly, look around you.  Do you think you could speak with your parish priest? Maybe just ask to meet with someone and talk for a while, asking advice would be better than going up to ask them, “will you be my spiritual director?” If you are a girl, I’d suggest going with a religious sister, if possible, and if a guy, with a priest.  It makes things a lot easier.  See if it’s someone you can trust and open up to.  Continue praying to make sure that it is the person that God wants for you, and not just someone that you get along with well.  That helps, but the most important is that this person is going to help you to do God’s will and be a saint.

Good luck!

Another beginner, but with really good teachers