What is Spiritual Direction?
Spiritual direction is an interpersonal relationship in which someone encourages you to reflect on your life in the light of the Gospel and Christian wisdom. Through this process, you are led and encouraged to discover a more conscious experience of God’s presence and love.
Spiritual direction should not be confused with counseling or psychotherapy. While spiritual direction often includes issues with which you are struggling, the emphasis is on your faith journey. Spiritual direction is about growing in faith rather than solving problems.
Is Spiritual Direction for me?
Not everyone is in need of spiritual direction in every phase of life. You might come to spiritual direction for a variety of reasons, including:
- Identify and trust your own experiences of God
- Integrate spirituality into your daily life
- Discern and make choices
- Share your hopes, struggles and losses
- Develop a sensitivity for justice and concern for the poor
- Live the essence of your faith with integrity
What is the role of a Spiritual Director?
The privilege and responsibility of a spiritual director is to accompany you as you deepen your relationship with God. This relationship takes place in the context of confidential one-on-one or group sessions with a spiritual director, who listens, encourages, challenges and prays with you – who freely shares the movement of the Holy Spirit in your life.
A spiritual director can help you express your struggles, pains, joys, and gratitude, and to share these with God; to notice God’s presence in your life and prayers; to savor, re-live, and respond to your experience of God; and to notice interior changes and the effects these changes have on your relationships and your life. Such a task is not easy, even though God is present and active in spiritual direction. Indeed, God is the primary spiritual director.
You and your spiritual director will agree on the frequency of meetings.
Usually a sliding scale is considered in the setting of a fee, or a free-will donation is given; in some cases there is no expectation of remuneration.
After three for four sessions, you will have the opportunity to evaluate the relationship. Whether your relationship with the spiritual director continues for many years or for only a short period of time, it is very important for you to be comfortable with the spiritual director you choose.
A Sacred Gift
Spiritual directors offer a sacred gift by being a companion and fostering a contemplative presence. If spiritual direction is done well, you will receive the support you need to pay attention to, and respond to, God who is already present and active in your life. What’s more, it is very likely that your relationship with God will grow — and that’s a very good thing!
To make an appointment with one of our spiritual directors, please contact:
Fr. Barry Langley, OFM, 212-736-8500, Ext. 308