Is spiritual direction really all that important?

On a natural level, it's evident that we all depend on one another. Man can't exist or sustain himself without the help of other men. In order to form and develop humanly, we rely on what others have studied and discovered.

This also happens in the spiritual life. Just as a child needs his mother in order to be born, to grow and learn, souls need "spiritual mothers." Normally, God guides souls through other people, whom He places on their path, so that, with their help, they might be saved and reach holiness.

The Holy Spirit says, “Woe to him who is alone!" Therefore, the help of a guide is convenient for the soul, because, together, they will more easily resist the devil, joining together in order to know and to act according to the truth.

The majority of Christians do not usually know much about the secrets of the spiritual life or how to advance in it.  To not have a spiritual director because of laziness or self-reliance results in a spiritual stand still, or even deterioration, in addition to the loss of many graces which God grants in correct direction.

Frequently, one easily deceives oneself: "No one is a good judge of his own case." An objective opinion is necessary, one which judges the actual situation of the soul from without and applies the appropriate remedy. In addition to the obstacles that arise from ignorance and subjectivity, in the spiritual life one must also count on the deceptions of the devil.

Spiritual direction fosters various virtues: interior vigilance, humility, sincerity of conscience, a clean heart, obedience, awareness of God's work within us, a spiritual delicacy, etc.

Spiritual direction isn't always possible, due to the lack of competent directors or other serious reasons. We can't forget then, that the true director is the Holy Spirit. Therefore, it's not an absolute necessity, but rather a relative and conditional necessity. This doesn't take away from the fact that we should try to have a good spiritual director, looking for one by all possible means, and above all, asking God for one in prayer, knowing that it is a great gift from God, through which many graces will come upon us.

Spiritual direction isn't in fashion right now. It's true that sometimes we hear expressions like "My spiritual director told me that…," but many times it’s just a desire to look good in front of others and maybe before themselves as well. Authentic spiritual direction goes through moments of crisis.

-Fr. Angel Ma. Rojas, S.J.