Finding a Spiritual Advisor

September 7, 2011 under Syllabus 2011-2012

Summary

A Catholic without a spiritual director is like an Olympic athlete without a coach.
To be a Catholic means that you are in a race for heaven. It means you’re trying to become a saint, not just to squeak through the pearly gates. 

The race to heaven isn’t a jog in the park; it’s an Olympic marathon.  If we are to finish this race, we need stamina and skill – which is where the coach comes in. 

Any athlete serious about his game will seek out the best coach he can find. And any Catholic serious about holiness would also do well to think about finding a spiritual director. 

– Catholic.net

Objective

The objective of this topic is to assist in finding the right spiritual advisor. Everyone is different. You want the right advisor that fits your needs.

Remember, it is up to you to choose your spiritual director wisely. Some advisors may go too easy on you. Some may be too rigid.

Bible Readings

1. Proverbs 11, 14

“Where there is no wise guidance, the nation falls, but in the multitude of counselors there is victory.”

2. Proverbs 20, 18

“Plans are established by advice; by wise guidance you wage war!”

3. Proverbs 24, 6

“for by wise guidance you wage your war; and victory is in many advisors.”

Small Group Questions

1. Do you have a spiritual advisor? If so, tell others in the group how it has benefitted you.

2. Have you ever thought of getting a spiritual advisor?

Recommended Resources

1. http://www.sdiworld.org/find_a_spiritual_director.html

2. http://rcspiritualdirection.com/blog/topical-series-and-resources-on-the-spiritual-life/spiritual-direction

3. http://www.catholicspiritualdirection.org/

4. http://catholic.net/index.php?option=dedestaca&id=5558

Accountability

If you think having a spiritual advisor will help you, use the resources provided to get you started!

Author(s)

Tony Heekin

Included Resources

1. How do I find a spiritual director?
http://rcspiritualdirection.com/blog/topical-series-and-resources-on-the-spiritual-life/spiritual-direction#ixzz1Vy2e5Qrp

Finding a spiritual director is a very personal and spiritual quest. We suggest a person seeking a spiritual director contact at least two spiritual directors to interview, if appropriate. Here are some ways to find spiritual directors to interview:

Search the Seek and Find Guide.

Call area theology schools, institutes and retreat centers and ask if they have a list of spiritual directors.

Ask an ordained minister or rabbi or vowed religious for names of spiritual directors they recommend. 

Attend a FREE SDI Teleconference to learn tips about how to seek and find a spiritual director. Click for upcoming teleconference dates and to RSVP.

Here are the kinds of questions that you might consider asking yourself when finding a spiritual directors to interview:

What is your experience with working with a spiritual director? Is this a first experience of spiritual direction? What brings you to spiritual direction at this time in your life?

Would you like to meet with a male or female?

What spiritual affiliation or denomination would be most helpful for you?

What time of day would best serve you for meetings?

The desire and search for the “right fit” is an important part of the process.
Spiritual Directors International publishes Guidelines for Ethical Conduct (in English and Spanish), which provides a framework for a healthy spiritual direction relationship. You may want to ask your prospective spiritual directors about their formation and training, on-going education, if they are in supervision for their ministry and if they abide by the Guidelines for Ethical Conduct. Ask the prospective spiritual directors if they have ever been denied liability insurance due to sexual misconduct or have been barred from membership in a professional association due to ethics violations.
Remember, it is up to you to choose your spiritual director wisely. Let them know what draws you to spiritual direction in this time in your life and notice how comfortable it is for you to tell your faith story. Listen carefully for the way the spirit is guiding you in your selection process.
Each person seeking a spiritual director needs to take reasonable steps to verify the competency of any potential spiritual director.  As a ministry in many nations and many faiths, spiritual direction does not have a centralized certifying body that verifies qualifications of spiritual directors since each faith tradition handles spiritual directors differently.
Spiritual Directors International does not endorse or recommend particular spiritual directors.  We are not a certifying body, but rather a global learning community that supports spiritual directors in their ministry with educational programs, publications and contemplative practices.
Spiritual Directors International recommends you ask each person you interview to become your spiritual director questions such as:

What enrichment, spiritual formation, and theological education do you have in spiritual direction?

What is your personal experience tending your own prayer, meditation and contemplative life?

What is your experience as a spiritual director?  How many years?  In what environments?  What are you most interested in spiritually?

How do you continue your education and supervision for your spiritual direction ministry?

What ethical guidelines do you abide by, such as those published by Spiritual Directors International? Have you ever been accused or convicted of misconduct?

What type of engagement agreement will we establish to clarify roles and responsibilities in our spiritual direction relationship, such as samples provided to members of Spiritual Directors International?


– Spiritual Direction

Finding, Selecting, and Initiating a Spiritual Direction Relationship

How do I find and select a spiritual director?

How do I determine if a spiritual director is faithful to the Church?

Finding a spiritual director – watch out for confused sheep

Faithful priests are too busy… what do I do? How can I find a spiritual director?

Concern about seeking out and approaching a spiritual director – Part I – Facing the challenge

Concern about seeking out and approaching a spiritual director – Part II – Getting the first meeting set up

Is it normal to feel apprehension about the spiritual direction process?

The Spiritual Direction Process and Expectations

What are the key characteristics of good spiritual direction?

How should I prepare for a meeting with my spiritual director?

Spiritual Direction Orientation – it takes time and patience

Spiritual direction reading plan

What is a program of life and why is it important to my spiritual growth and spiritual direction?

Other Spiritual Direction Perspective

Why would a saint need spiritual direction – Do I really need one?

No spiritual director in sight – how can I continue to grow in the mean time?

Can I be my own spiritual director? Still no spiritual director… what do I do in the mean time?

Skype and remote spiritual direction – is this ok?

I am new to spiritual direction and need some perspective…

Why would a priest take time for me?

Pope Benedict recommends spiritual direction

2. Ten Reasons to Have a Spiritual Director
http://catholic.net/index.php?option=dedestaca&id=5558

A Catholic without a spiritual director is like an Olympic athlete without a coach.

by Mary Houser, Consecrated woman | Source: Mater Ecclesiae College

A Catholic without a spiritual director is like an Olympic athlete without a coach.
To be a Catholic means that you are in a race for heaven. It means you’re trying to become a saint, not just to squeak through the pearly gates. 

The race to heaven isn’t a jog in the park; it’s an Olympic marathon.  If we are to finish this race, we need stamina and skill – which is where the coach comes in. 

Any athlete serious about his game will seek out the best coach he can find. And any Catholic serious about holiness would also do well to think about finding a spiritual director. 

Here are a few reasons why. 

1. Show yourself you care. If you care enough about a particular sport to have a coach, why not find one for the much more important game of life?  Going to the effort of finding a spiritual director and having spiritual direction will help you remember not to leave your spiritual life on the back burner.
2. Ask the saints: it’s recommended for holiness.  No one says you can’t get to heaven without one – but the saints agree: having a spiritual director makes it easier to reach holiness. 
3. It’s how God works.  Take one example: St. Paul.  He gets knocked off his horse – and God tells him to wait until Ananias tells him what he should do. God likes to speak to us through other people.  He worked this way all though the Bible and the Church’s history.  He does now too.
4. You’re not a one-man show.  Don’t pretend you can become holy on your own. Show God you rely on his help by allowing him to speak to you through someone else.
5. Constancy.  It’s easy to forget a New Year’s resolution tucked away in a drawer somewhere.  It’s easy to remember a resolution you talked to someone else about and are reminded of every now and then. Sometimes you need someone else to hold you accountable. 
6. You can’t even see the end of your nose. It’s hard to focus on something too close to us (like our noses). Sometimes you’re too close to yourself to be an objective judge of your actions, relationships, and plans.  Since a spiritual director isn’t you, they’re able to see things more objectively and help you see that way too.  With prayer and the help of the Holy Spirit, they help you discern what God’s will for you is in the daily circumstances of our life now. 
7. Encouragement.  Living a holy life isn’t easy.  A spiritual director encourages you on this path and helps you keep going. A kind, understanding word can mean the world when you feel like giving up.
8. Expertise.  A good spiritual guide will have some experience in prayer and spiritual life. He or she will be able to give you helpful advice.  And the more they get to know you, the more they can tailor their advice to your particular situation and needs.
9. Peace.  There’s a unique peace that comes from spiritual direction.  Opening your soul to your spiritual director, being known and loved for who you are, and hearing God speak to you through him or her will fill your soul with the confidence and security that only the love of God can bring.
10. Prayer support.  Don’t underestimate the power of prayer!  Having your spiritual director’s prayers backing you up will help you on your path much more than you’ll ever know!

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