What is Spiritual Direction?

Suhail Stephen

Categories: Spiritual Direction

What is Spiritual Direction?

Spiritual direction is an ancient practice – which "most generations of Christians have agreed is essential" (Eugene Peterson) – intended to facilitate personal awareness of God's presence, voice, and activity. At its centre, spiritual direction holds two main convictions. First, that God is Immanuel which means that he's always present, communicative, and involved. Second, that the typically frenzied and cacophonous nature of our lives numbs our spiritual sensitivity to this reality. In other words, "The world is charged with the grandeur of God" (Gerard Manley Hopkins) and we need help attending to this grandeur.

Spiritual direction offers this help. We often don't know what we are experiencing – especially as it relates to God – until we're given a safe opportunity to reflect, are asked precise yet gentle questions which invite sharing, and are compassionately listened to. In spiritual direction, a "director" provides such an opportunity so that a "directee" may more deeply understand how God is at work in their life and subsequently decide how they want to respond.

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