Even though they be not in a religious Order, it would be a great thing for them to have someone to whom they could go, as many people do, so that they might not be following their own will in anything, for it is in this way that we usually do ourselves harm. They should not look for anyone . . . cast in the same mold as themselves who always proceeds with great circumspection; they should select someone who is completely disillusioned with the things of the world. (Teresa of Avila: Third Mansions: Book Two)
Sustained spiritual progress requires a spiritual director. Stories of spiritual abuse cause some of us to recoil at terms like “spiritual director” or “obedience”. After all, not following our own will put us into a spiritual mess in the first place. But spiritual direction, properly practiced, prevents, instead of causes, spiritual abuse. Think of a spiritual director as a spiritual coach. They help you become better, not someone who manipulates you.
Here are five reasons to use a spiritual director:
- Our risk of self-deception.
- Few people give us candid feedback; consequently we don’t make efficient progress.
- Without another set of eyes the devil exploits our vulnerabilities, our context, and the weaknesses of others to sabotage our spiritual growth.
- Some of our friends, family, and co-workers tend to advise based on what keeps them comfortable.
- We tend to ignore wise and objective friends, family, and co-workers. “Prophets are not without honor except in their home town, and among their own kin, and in their own house.” (Mark 6)
I encourage you to have a spiritual director (or at least a spiritual direction plan)*. This will solidify your spiritual progress and prepare you to go deeper into the Interior Castle.
*When I talk about spiritual directors, I’m talking about wise people with a holistic approach to life. “Spiritual leaders” unable to function outside the bible, church, or pulpit concern me. Unfortunately, good spiritual directors providing one on one mentoring are hard to find. But with some creativity we can cobble together a spiritual direction plan.
For Spiritual Direction Part Two: Click Here
For Spiritual Direction Part Three: Click Here
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