Loading...
Loading...
Click here if you don’t see subscription options
James Martin, S.J.July 07, 2019
Wikimedia Commons

Subscribe to “The Examen” for free on Apple Podcasts

Subscribe to “The Examen” for free on Google Play

Join our Patreon Community

This summer, I thought we could expand our conversation on prayer by talking about the kinds of things that people ask after they have been praying for a while.

This week let’s talk about spiritual direction. If you’ve been praying for any length of time, you might have heard about the practice of spiritual direction. So you might wonder: What is it? And is it for me? Essentially, a spiritual director helps you, the “directee,” notice where God is active in your personal prayer and your daily life. A good spiritual director doesn’t offer psychological counseling per se, or even advice about what to do in your life, but rather helps you to see where God is leading you. Normally, a person would meet with their spiritual director once a month, perhaps for an hour or so. I would say that anyone who is serious about living a healthy spiritual life should, at least for some time, seek out spiritual direction. And, by all means, get someone who is trained, not simply someone that you see as a holy person.

As St. Teresa of Avila said, if it’s a choice between someone who is holy or wise for a spiritual director, she’d pick wise. Why? Spiritual direction is a skill, and one that is learned. If you’re looking for director, some good places to start are a local retreat house, a recommendation from someone you know who goes to spiritual direction, or perhaps the website Spiritual Directors International.

Spiritual direction helps you to notice where God is. Why not try it out?

[Don’t miss any of the latest writings, podcasts and videos from Father Martin. Sign up for his newsletter.]

More: Prayer
Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Christine Lukesh
2 years 11 months ago

If only everyone seeking spiritual direction could have encountered the late, great Franciscan sister, Rosemary Napolitano, who journeyed with me for several years. She is with me every day with her probing questions and her snapping, dark brown eyes. She left me so centered and open to the Spirit that I feel no need to seek a replacement. Maybe that's the best indicator of the blessing she was and is to me--wise, holy, perceptive, compassionate, and well-trained--and loving. So thankful to my loving God for her and our time together!
Thank you for everything, Father James!

John Chuchman
2 years 11 months ago

Hopefully not a cleric.

The latest from america

A Mexican soldier patrols outside the Church in Cerocahui, Mexico, Wednesday, June 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Christian Chavez)
The bishops’ statement followed the slayings of two Jesuits and a person they were protecting in their parish—a crime attributed to a local crime boss in a part of the country dominated by drug cartels.
President Truman's envoy to the Vatican, Myron C. Taylor, left, has an audience with Pope Pius XII at Castelgandolfo near Rome, on Aug. 26, 1947. (AP Photo/Luigi Felici, File)
The documentation, published amid renewed debate about the legacy of the World War II-era pope, contains 2,700 files of requests for Vatican help from Jewish groups and families.
A school bus in front of a building; the building has a yellow banner on it that says “imagine a future free of gun violence.”
One month after Uvalde, we are growing numb to gun violence. Even so, we must resolve to comfort the mourners, to beat guns into plowshares, and to say “never again” and mean it.
Britt LubyJune 24, 2022
A man bows his head in prayer before a computer screen showing nine people doing the same
As pandemic restrictions have eased, most parishioners have returned to in-person Masses. But some would prefer the option for virtual services to remain.
Keara HanlonJune 24, 2022