What should my attitude be in spiritual direction?

A sincere desire for a serious spiritual life is necessary in order to decide to have spiritual direction, and this doesn't happen too often. One has to overcome laziness, which impedes many who, although they have many good desires, are ineffective. They begin by not speaking with their director on a regular basis, which is the same as not having one.

It's necessary to have an open conscience, without hiding anything. Many people complain about how hard it is to do a good examination of conscience and to confess their sins to a priest, and it's any easier to correctly use spiritual direction, which requires a profound personal examination and a sincere openness about the state of one's soul.

Also, one has to obey. What many do, more or less without realizing it, is simply unload, talk about their problems, and feel understood. There are those who do it with a psychiatrist, but it's expensive. On the other hand, a spiritual director is free. But, there’s a long road between simply having a spiritual director and actually following his advice. They go to speak, not to listen, and this isn't spiritual direction. They confuse spiritual direction with a counselor. Looking for a spiritual director is not about finding someone who’s going to tell me what I want to hear or a friend whom I can complain to or even for the most intelligent, but rather for someone who can effectively guide me on the journey towards holiness.  We can also add that many have problems with self-reliance and a lack of humility; when they have a spiritual problem, don’t go to their director because they believe that they are capable of fixing it themselves. 

For all these reasons, many are frequently deceived, they think that they are doing fine because they have a good spiritual director, but because they don’t participate correctly in the direction, it’s just as if they didn’t have one.

For some, spiritual direction is like the photo section of shops where it says: "Develop your photos in an hour!" (As if spiritual direction consisted in meeting with your director, talking-a lot-just to hear yourself, and then leaving with a good image.)

- Fr. Angel María Rojas, S.J.