Spiritual Direction is the 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 this God and to live out the consequences of the relationship. Barry+ Connolly
Spiritual direction occurs in a quiet, private space, when one person prayerfully supports and encourages another to attend to and respond to God in whatever life experience has been brought to conversation. We recommend meeting about every 4 weeks.
It is for you, if you want to deepen your relationship with God; however spiritual you feel, and whatever your life circumstances. You may have only just realized that ‘something’ is missing, or may have lived with a constant longing for God. You may have been in spiritual environments or have prayed all your life, or this may be a completely new path you want to explore.
You are welcome, wherever you have come from and whoever you are.
Our new team of Spiritual Directors is made up of trained and experienced men and women, all of whom are in relationships of accountability and have agreed to a code of conduct. Note that Spiritual Direction is different from therapy and confession, and it is not about religious teaching. It is important in the first sessions together to discuss expectations, and we may recommend alternative external support for some people. All of the conversation between you and your Spiritual Director is held in confidence. You are free to leave the Director at any stage, and to request another allocation if you wish. Some but not all of the Directors invite a financial contribution for their service.
If you would like to start receiving Spiritual Direction we request that you fill in a brief form (below) so that we can find out a little bit about you before we offer you to see someone; you may also approach an individual from the list. Remember that the Holy Spirit is the real Director!
More about Spiritual Direction
Spiritual direction is “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 this God, and to live out the consequences of the relationship.” (William A. Barry and William J. Connolly, The Practice of Spiritual Direction)
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.
What Is Distinctive about Ignatian Spiritual Direction?
Spiritual direction is a feature of many Christian traditions. In fact, forms of spiritual direction are found in all religions. What distinguishes Ignatian spiritual direction from other approaches? The Irish Jesuit Brian O’Leary lists these elements:
A theological vision rooted in the Spiritual Exercises. The theology of the Spiritual Exercises is optimistic. It affirms the goodness of the world. But it also is acutely aware of the pervasive problem of evil. At the same time it is contemplative and service-oriented.
Flexible. The Ignatian spiritual director does not impose a program on the directee. The manner of the direction is adjusted to fit the person’s personality, life history, and spiritual experience. The director “cannot know beforehand what he or she will suggest.”
A partnership. Ignatian spiritual direction is a partnership. It thus demands mutual respect and openness to the other’s frame of reference. It follows Ignatius Loyola’s admonition, “Let it be presupposed that every good Christian is to be more ready to save their neighbor’s proposition than to condemn it.”
What do you really want? Ignatian spiritual direction attempts to uncover the deepest desires of the human heart. Typically, these are smothered by superficial desires for transitory things. Our most profound desires are shaped by the Holy Spirit and point toward new choices for spiritual growth and fruitful service.
Rules for discernment. Ignatius Loyola’s rules for discernment of spirits permeate Ignatian spiritual direction. These are methods for identifying inner movements, reflecting on them, and understanding where they come from and where they lead us.
AVAILABLE SPIRITUAL DIRECTORS
Barbara Lee: I am a retired lawyer and a longtime member of the Ignatian Volunteer Corps, an organization of retired people who do volunteer work among the poor in the context of Ignatian spirituality. I hold a Certificate in Spiritual Direction and Retreats from Creighton University and am the author of God Isn’t Finished With Me Yet: Discovering the Spiritual Graces of Later Life (Loyola Press 2018). I welcome people of all ages who can meet for spiritual direction during daytime hours.
Jim Mayzik SJ: I am a Jesuit priest and filmmaker, with a former teaching and administrative career in Jesuit higher education. My extensive experience with the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius has focused my life on a personal relationship with Jesus. I have been a spiritual director in the Ignatian tradition for over 30 years, and I continue to enjoy accompanying others as they seek to discern God’s invitations in their lives.
Lourdes Bernard : I am a contemplative Catholic, and received a Spiritual Director certification in Ignatian Spirituality from St. Francis Xavier and the Ignatian Spirituality Office of Maryland and the Northeast Province. Zen Buddhism is a core component of my spiritual practice and I am a longtime practitioner of zazen. After practicing Architecture for several years. I am now a Visual Artist. I am currently in my final year at The Living School at the Center for Action and Contemplation, which was founded by contemplative teacher Fr. Richard Rohr.
Spiritual Direction is offered on a one-to-one basis to members of our Epiphany parish, and neighbors. Kindly fill out the form below and submit it. We’ll be happy to get back to you!