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).
Christian Spiritual Director
"We define Christian spiritual direction as help given by one Christian to another which enables that person to pay attention to God's personal communication to him or her, to respond to this personally communicating God, to grow in intimacy with God, and to live out the consequences of the relationship"
The Practice of Spiritual Direction, William A. Barry S.J & William J. Connolly, S.J.
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.
Ignatian Spiritual Direction helps one discern their own way to find what God means for them to become and where is the best action to take. Ignatian director supports "the whole person in prayerfully discerning the next good thing as they try to find God in all things." This is the process of discernment is coming to 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
"Spiritual direction is the ministry of helping people notice where God is at work in their prayer and their daily life... (one) listens attentively to your experience of God and tries to 'direct' or encourage you to notice things you might have overlooked. He or she will also invite you to try new practices in your prayer, to challenge things that need challenging, and to affirm things that need affirming." Learning to Pray by James Martin, SJ (page 13)
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.
At times spiritual direction sessions may enter into the other forms of spiritual companionship in order to assist the directee in finding God’s call in their life. Depending upon the circumstance the human spiritual director accompanies the retreatant/directee as a Spiritual Counselor, a Companion, a Facilitator, a Coach, a Teacher, a Mentor, and always as a Holy Listener.