Yesterday, we had an informal monthly gathering of priests. Father Joseph Soria, an Opus Dei priest, gave us a beautiful talk on Spiritual Direction.
Father Joseph Soria was the physician of St. Josemaria Escriva, the Founder of Opus Dei. He was with the saint, when the saint died on June 26, 1975.
This talk is intended to be the 1st of a series of talks to be given Father Soria on Spiritual Direction. The next talk will be on November. God willing, I shall post all the talks by Father Soria on Spiritual Direction.
ON SPIRITUAL DIRECTION (TALK ONE)
Spiritual Direction is a stable relationship in spiritual life.
This topic is not often taught in many seminaries.
Father Thomas Dubay's book: Seeking Spiritual Direction: How to Grow the Divine Life Within sheds light on the subject.
Spiritual Direction, though not absolutely necessary for sanctification, is very helpful.
It is very easy for people to rationalize their own defects. Hence, we need someone to point them out for us.
Also Spiritual Direction helps us to:
1. recognize possible obstacles on spiritual journey
2. set goals for spiritual life
3. overcome spiritual tiredness & discouragement
4. combat sins (both mortal & venial)
5. open to new ascetical horizon
If you Google "Spiritual Direction", you will find that many people's ideas of spiritual direction have to do with "Pop Psychology" (i.e. to help ones feel good, to raise one's consciousness, & to get rid of one's sense of guilt).
But the target of Spiritual Direction is not just human maturity, but to grow into spiritual maturity according to the vocation of each one (i.e. Sanctity through ordinariness).
DISPOSITIONS OF THE ONE BEING DIRECTED:
1. Faith (supernatural outlook)
if this disposition is lacking than spiritual direction is reduced to the mere exchanging of opinions. We seek spiritual direction, not just because we need someone to listen to us, but because we desire to grow and to be guided.
The ultimate Spiritual Director is the Holy Spirit. The priest is the instrument of God.
If the one being directed is not sincere, then the hands of the director is tied.
Sincerity means that we should admit our defects & wrongdoings. We should tell both the shadow & light of our life with true sincerity.
A sign of insincerity is being too "generic" when accusing one's sins. Examples: "I lack charity", "I was overcome be laziness", & "I am too proud".
Docility is the art of knowing how to be corrected.
Lack of docility leads to resistance to the Grace of God. For God often gives us light through our spiritual guides.
In general we should obey the spiritual director. The exception to the rule is when we are asked to do something that conflicts our conscience.
If we are asked to do something difficult, not something that is offensive to God, then we should talk the matter over with our spiritual director. But we should obey his final decision.