Skip to content

The Importance of Spiritual Direction

By Andrew Tucker

“If we wish to grow in spiritual excellence and moral accountability in all areas of our lives (professional and personal), a spiritual director will play a fundamental part in that journey.”

Table of Contents

You think you are quite important: your studies, your research work, your publications, your social standing, your name, your political activities, the positions you hold, your wealth… your age: you’re no longer a child. Just because of all that, you, more than others, need a Director for your soul (St Josemaria Escriva, The Way, No.63).

In most areas of life, we are used to turning to mentors and experts. Whether this be to aid with personal development, to learn a particular skill we lack, or to find an expert such as a plumber, lawyer or fitness trainer, we recognize the need for help in order to grow in some way.

Spiritual direction is the same. It is a means to enable us to develop our soul, without which growth in all other areas will potentially lack depth and consistency with our faith. It helps you work out at a deeper level what you are called to do in each area of your life.

Amongst other things, spiritual direction used well will remove from us any illusions of grandeur we might have, and to ensure we never fall prey to letting ourselves off the hook – to go easy on ourselves when we could have done better. It will encourage that fundamental tenet of leadership: humility. An honest relationship with a spiritual director where we allow ourselves to be accountable, without fear of appearing as we truly are, will shine a mirror on us in a way that is difficult to do without the feedback it provides.

If we wish to grow in spiritual excellence and moral accountability in all areas of our lives (professional and personal), a spiritual director will play a fundamental part in the journey.

“The key is finding someone who has a spiritual wisdom and maturity and recognizes the confidential but open nature of the relationship.”

How to find a spiritual director

Finding the right director requires effort. In the same way that you wouldn’t choose just anyone to be your spouse or business partner, you should exercise prudence and care in who you pick. They should be someone trustworthy, objective, and of virtuous character.

It is sensible to seek advice, and possibly recommendations, through your local church, a trusted friend, or a family member. A lot of Catholic organizations offer spiritual direction from people who have been instructed in how to do so.

The key is finding someone who has spiritual wisdom and maturity and recognizes the confidential but open nature of the relationship.

What do you do and talk about in spiritual direction?

It is perhaps easiest first to state that spiritual direction is not counseling or therapy – its focus is on spiritual growth and development. The specifics of what you talk about may vary and to a large extent should be determined by you and the circumstances of your life, but it is essential that you be completely transparent in your conversations.

It is very likely that you will want to focus on a particular area that needs improving – perhaps a particular fault that is holding you back. Discussion of your prayer life (or lack of it) can be very useful to help ensure continued focus. Particular situations from our work can be very helpful to talk about – but remembering the director is not there to guide you professionally, but to help you work out for yourself what an appropriate moral response might be. And it is very sensible to leave each session with one or two resolutions – a particular defect or virtue to focus on, or a practical step you need to take to address what’s stopping your growth. Discuss these at your next meeting.

Spiritual direction is a valuable tool in ensuring we live unity of life, to ensure our faith infuses all aspects of what we do.


Check Out Our Sponsors:

Alere Group

Catholic Association of Latino Leaders

Catholic Cemeteries & Funeral Homes

Catholic Cemeteries & Mortuaries

Catholic Community Foundation

Catholic Education Arizona

Desert Diamond Casino

Divine Mercy University

Exodus 90

EWTN Global Catholic Network

Home Light

Notre Dame Federal Credit Union

Obria Medical Clinics

Pietra Fitness

The Diocese of Phoenix

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul

Latest

Are You a Catholic Conservative or Progressive?

Are You a Catholic Conservative or Progressive?

In my work of forming lay Catholic leaders for civil society, I am often asked whether my Catholic apostolate or myself as a Catholic are conservative or progressive. But I reject the premise that there are two types of Catholics. I am not writing here about the multiple Charisms the

Members Public
Workplace Conflicts & How to Resolve Them

Workplace Conflicts & How to Resolve Them

“A new commandment I give unto you: That you love one another, as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you have love one for another.” (John 13: 34-35). By these words, we are commanded

Members Public
Sacred Heart: Compassion and Empathy in Professional Relationships

Sacred Heart: Compassion and Empathy in Professional Relationships

The Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is centered around Christ’s overflowing love and compassion. We are called to integrate empathy, compassion, and servant leadership into our professional relationships.  The Sacred Heart symbolizes the profound and unconditional love of Christ for humanity. Empathy allows us to understand and

Members Public
Building Spiritual Structure Into Your Family Life

Building Spiritual Structure Into Your Family Life

Every Catholic, and every Catholic family, should have a “plan of life” — specifically, a plan for spiritual life, what we might call a PSL. We might understand the idea of a PSL better if we think of priests or consecrated religious. We know they have structured prayer, such as the

Members Public