Spiritual Direction focuses on one's relationship with God and prayer.
Spiritual Direction is “help given by one Christian to another which enables the person [a directee] to pay attention to God’s personal communication to him or her, to respond to His grace, to grow in intimacy, and to live out the consequences of that relationship” with Jesus Christ, God's Self-revealed.
The Practice of Spiritual Direction by Barry and Connolly (p8).
Spiritual Direction in the Catholic Tradition
In recent years interest has increased among believers for someone to companion them in deepening their experience of God. This desire for spiritual direction is not new. It has its deepest roots in the Gospels where we find Christ investing significant time with His disciples, teaching and modeling how to live. out His Father's love in daily life. The dessert fathers (Abbas) and mothers (Ammas) of early Christian centuries, having drawn apart to enhance their intimacy with God, were sought out by persons wanting to know God in a similar way. This practice of seeking spiritual guidance from holy men and women rooted in a contemplative experience of God is still carried in today. - not just by those called to the ordained or consecrated life, but also by lay persons seeking oneness with God
Ignatian Spiritual Direction
Ignatian Spiritual Direction addresses what is in one’s daily life as they pray their way through life’s complex decisions and interpretations of their spiritual experiences in those everyday life's circumstances.
Fr. Joseph Tetlow, SJ paraphrased from Handing on the Fire
Ignatian Spiritual Direction helps one discern their own way to find who God means for them to become and what is the best action to take. An Ignatian trained director supports "the whole person in prayerfully discerning the next good thing as they try to find God in all things." This process of discernment is coming to a decision after prayerful attention to heart, head, and hand on what will bring an increase of faith, hope, and love.
“Few people understand what God would accomplish in them if they were to
abandon themselves wholly into God’s hands and if they were to allow
God’s grace to mold them.”
The Role of a Spiritual Director
A director helps the retreatant to notice the presence and call of God in the circumstances of their everyday lives, and to help find the words for talking about the encounters which deepen the experience of being in a relationship with one’s Creator. The director also guides one in sorting out the various interior ‘voices’ within and around them to listen for discerning God’s will.
Spiritual direction focuses on religious experience. It is concerned with a person’s actual experience of a relationship with God.
Spiritual direction is about a relationship. The religious experience is not isolated, nor does it consist of extraordinary events. It is what happens in an ongoing relationship between the person and God. Most often this is a relationship that is experienced in prayer.
Spiritual direction is a relationship that is going somewhere. God is leading the person to deeper faith and more generous service. The spiritual director asks not just “what is happening?” but “what is moving forward?”
The real spiritual director is God. God touches the human heart directly. The human spiritual director does not “direct” in the sense of giving advice and solving problems. Rather, the director helps a person respond to God’s invitation to a deeper relationship.