Wednesday, March 24, 2010

101 Wednesday--Spiritual Direction

Dawn used to host 101 Wednesdays to encourage discussions on matters of faith. I will continue for a while because I can.

A couple of years ago at my parish the flavor of the week was Spiritual Direction.  Among the ladies using the phrase, "My Spiritual Director said...." gave weight to the remark.  It made that person seem smarter, more spiritual, somehow closer to God.  Not that a really large contingent actually went for Spiritual Direction.  I personally know about 6 women who go to a spiritual director and all things considered that is quite a few women and not very many.  A couple of years ago when spiritual direction was "going around" I couldn't imagine what I would talk to a director about.

Then some stuff happened.  I found myself on the receiving side of some ugly stuff last summer. It is nobody's business but my own and my hubby's exactly what happened.  And if you are reading from the Lou and you think you know all about this, I have to say that truly my hubby and myself and one other person are the only ones who know what the real ugliness was all about.  Unless you were one of the three of us, you can't imagine what transpired.  I found myself in a difficult place spiritually due to the circumstances surrounding the issue. This issue brought up a whole lot of other things that had been hiding in my heart.

It became clear to me that if I were ever to get past what happened and to be whole and holy again, I needed direction, a spiritual director.  So I called one and started the journey of direction.  I have pulled out the line, "My Spiritual Director said...." a couple of times and I could kick myself.  Because truly, I know that I go to direction because I seek to grow closer to the Lord.  Going to my director doesn't really mean that I am any farther along than anybody else in that journey.  In fact, I think I go because I am the same as everybody or worse maybe and yet I have many roles where I am called to lead, to teach about the Lord.  It is really hard to do that if I ache inside and question the things I am saying. My director has helped me with that.

I wondered what we would talk about in direction before I ever went.  I worried about that.  So in case you are thinking of finding a spiritual director I thought I might tell you something about mine.  We pray together.  She has helped me work through the incident that I found so devastating and plan a course of action.  We have pulled out some past hurts and looked at them for what they were and then I have put them away. Well, I am trying to do that.  She has helped me with some of the teaching things I am doing at church.

If you are trying to find a spiritual director, I suggest that you ask in your parish for some names.  Most diocese have lists of people who are trained directors.  Usually they have degrees in counseling.  They charge varying rates.  You can set that before you begin.  I see my director once a month at her office.  There are some priests who serve as directors.  But I think most directors are not priests these days. In fact the list I got from the Archdiocese included several people who weren't even Catholic.

At my last visit with my director I talked about going for the long walk and praying and she concluded that I am Augustine in philosophy--all things are solved through walking.  That has me reading St. Augustine's Confessions.  I conclude so far that he would have been a very good blogger. I would have liked to read his blog. Thus concludes my thoughts on spiritual direction.


abroadermark said...

I've always wanted to know what happens in spiritual direction. I'm glad you wrote about it. It sounds a lot like secular counseling, (which is what I had imagined) but with the added benefit of your director coming from the same spiritual background. I'm glad you found someone to give you the help you need, Mary Augustine of the Lou. :D

Tami said...

Thank you for sharing about spiritual direction. I have heard about it, and wondered how it all works.
I think one day I would like to get a spiritual director. I think the input would be helpful. Like you said, I have a lot of work to do.
Speaking of which, I'd better get back to it. Time for spelling.

Mary said...

Go for it ladies when you are called. My director and I had an appointment today that we had to cancel because she is sick. I am praying for her. This month I have decided to go to Adoration since I won't be seeing her.

Tami said...

Adoration, now that is some serious spiritual direction! May He speak clearly to your heart.

Amanda said...

I am glad that you acknowledged that not all the spiritual directors are not Catholic, lol.

Indeed, it is a wonderful blessing when a follower of the Lord can get perspective and healing via one who is a mature and Spirit-filled servant of the Lord. I know I have had this privilege on more than a few ocassions.

The Holy Spirit working through a person, is one of the most precious gifts and honours He gives to His people.

I am glad you found such a one to help you on your journey Mary.

Mary said...

Amanda, of course, there are spiritual directors at Protestant churches. My point was that in my diocese, many of the spiritual directors to which they send Catholics are not Catholics. (All are Christian, of course).

Anne said...

Mary, your blog is lovely! I had never heard that St. Augustine said that all things are solved through walking-I like that because I love to walk and pray! In fact, many times when I go for Spiritual Direction, my friend and I walk while we talk and pray. Those are the visits that I like the best and feel that I benefit the most from. I think it's easier to talk about difficult things when your feet are moving.

Amanda said...

I understood you perfectly Mary ;)