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Spiritual Direction An Introductory Course for Priests, Deacons, and Candidates


... examination of conscience, spiritual direction, acceptance of suffering, endurance of persecution for the sake of righteousness. Taking up one's cross each day ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Spiritual Direction An Introductory Course for Priests, Deacons, and Candidates

Spiritual DirectionAn Introductory Course for
Priests, Deacons, and Candidates
  • Community of Jesus Crucified
  • Our Lady of Sorrows Retreat Center
  • Fr. Michael Champagne, CJC

Tentative Schedule
  • January 22 Introduction to Nature and Need for
    Spiritual Direction
  • January 29 Some Guiding Principles in Giving
    and Seeking Spiritual Direction
  • February 5 Using Well the Means to Holiness
    (at Knight Hall Fatima)
  • February 12 Understanding the Supernatural
    Organism The Three Ages of the Spiritual

Schedule (cont.)
  • February 19 Directing a Person who is
    Discerning the Priesthood or Religious
    Life (Fr. Joe Palermo)
  • February 26 Pastoral Counseling and Spiritual
    Direction Respecting Differences (Mario
    Sacasa, Ed.S, LMFT)
  • March 5 No Class (Priestly Association)
  • March 12 Learning to Pray and Progressing in

Schedule (cont.)
  • March 19 The Role of Actual Grace in the
    Spiritual Life
  • March 26 Dealing with Extraordinary
    Phenomena in Spiritual Direction

Select Questions
  • What is Spiritual Direction?
  • Is Spiritual Direction necessary?
  • Why does one need Spiritual Direction?
  • Is Spiritual Direction spoken of in the Bible?
  • What do the Saints say about Spiritual Direction?
  • What does the Church say about Spiritual
  • What are the differences between Counseling and
    Spiritual Direction?

  • Is there a difference between the Office of
    Confessor and the Office of Spiritual Director?
  • What are the technical qualities of a good
    Spiritual Director?
  • What are the moral qualities of a good Director?
  • What are some of the duties of the Spiritual
  • What are the qualities to be expected in the one
  • What are some classes of directees where good
    spiritual direction is crucial?

  • How does one choose a Spiritual Director?
  • When is it advisable/permissible to change
  • Can one consult a number of spiritual directors?
  • Can I do spiritual direction in cyberspace?
  • What are some solid resources on Spiritual

(No Transcript)
(No Transcript)
  • What is Spiritual Direction?
  • Definition the art of leading souls
    progressively from the beginning of the spiritual
    life to the height of Christian perfection
    (Royo, 593).
  • it is an art a practical science
  • it is progressive according to the strength and
    disposition of the soul directed
  • it is oriented toward the perfection of the
    Christian life

  • Is Spiritual Direction necessary?
  • Not absolutely necessary, morally necessary
  • Not needed if one is not serious about living the
    spiritual life waste of directors time
  • most saints had a director or someone who gave
    them spiritual counsel

Why does one need it?
  • Necessity of a third person
  • To be an observer
  • For objectivity
  • Dose of reality
  • God uses mediator
  • More knowledge and experience in a guide
  • To diagnose where you are
  • To lead you to the next step
  • Part of Prudence to seek counsel
  • Merit of humility and obedience
  • Protection from the pitfalls of self and the devil

Is it in the Bible?
  • Eccl. 410 If the one falls, the other will help
    the fallen one. But woe to the solitary person!
    If that one should fall, there is no other to
  • Tobit 418 Seek counsel from every wise man, and
    do not think lightly of any advice that can be
  • Sirach 3218-19 The thoughtful man will not
    neglect directionDo nothing without counsel, and
    then you need have no regrets.
  • 2 Cor. 520 So we are ambassadors for Christ, as
    if God were appealing through us. 

  • What do the Saints say about Spiritual Direction?
  • To believe that one does not need counsel is a
    great pride St. Basil
  • Do not be your own master and do not set out
    upon a way that is entirely new for you without a
    guide otherwise you will soon go astray (St.
  • As a blind man cannot follow the good road
    without a leader, no one can walk without a
    guide (St. Augustine)

  • He who constitutes himself his own director,
    becomes the disciple of a fool (St. Bernard)
  • Our Lord, without whom we can do nothing, will
    never grant His grace to one who, having at his
    disposition a man capable of instructing and
    directing him, neglects this powerful means of
    sanctification, believing that he is sufficient
    to himself and that he can by his own powers seek
    and find the things useful to salvation (St.
    Vincent Ferrer)
  • John of the Cross, Living Flame of Love, Cant. 3,
    n. 56

  • Teresa of Avila, Book of Life, c. 4 I had no
    masterI mean, no confessorwho understood me,
    though I sought for such a one for twenty years
    afterwards which did me much harm, in that I
    frequently went backwards, and might have been
    even utterly lost for, anyhow, a director would
    have helped me to escape the risks I ran of
    sinning against God.

  • Francis de Sales, Introduction to a Devout Life,
    Bk. I, c. 4 A faithful friend, we are told in
    Holy Scripture, is a strong defense, and he that
    hath found such an one hath found a
    treasure and again A faithful friend is the
    medicine of life and they that fear the Lord
    shall find him. These sacred words have chiefly
    reference, as you see, to the immortal life, with
    a view to which we specially need a faithful
    friend, who will guide us by his counsel and
    advice, thereby guarding us against the deceits
    and snares of the Evil Onehe will be as a
    storehouse of wisdom to us in our sorrows, trials
    and falls he will be as a healing balm to stay
    and soothe our heart in the time
    of spiritual sickness,he will shield us from
    evil, and confirm that which is good in us, and
    when we fall through infirmity, he will avert the
    deadly nature of the evil, and raise us up again.

What about the Magisterium?
  • It is part of the ordinary law that as God in
    His Providence has ordained that men for the most
    part should be saved by men, so He has appointed
    that those whom He calls to a higher degree of
    holiness should be guided thereto by men (Pope
    Leo XIII, Testem benevolentiae, Jan. 22, 1899)

  • Moreover, it should be added that those who
    strive to sanctify themselves, by the very fact
    that they strive to follow a way that is little
    frequented, are more exposed to deceive
    themselves and therefore they, more than others,
    need a doctor and guide. And this method of
    procedure has always been seen in the Church.
    This doctrine was unanimously taught by all those
    who, in the course of centuries, flourished in
    wisdom and sanctity. And those who reject it
    shall not do so without temerity and danger
    (Pope Leo XIII, Testem benevolentiae, Jan. 22,

Is Spiritual Direction addressed in Recent
Magisterial Documents?
  • Optatam Totius (1965) par. 3, 19
  • Codex Iuris Canonici (1983) par. 239.2, 240.2
  • Pastores Dabo Vobis (1992) par. 40.3, 50.4, 66.1,
    66.4, 81.3
  • Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992) par.
    1435, 2690, 2695

  • Codex Iuris Canonici (1983)
  • Can. 239 2. Every seminary is to have at least
    one spiritual director, though the students
    remain free to approach other priests who have
    been designated for this function by the bishop.
  • Can. 240 2. When decisions are made about
    admitting students to orders or dismissing them
    from the seminary, the opinion of the spiritual
    director and confessors can never be sought.

  • Catechism of the Catholic Church
  • 1435 Conversion is accomplished in daily life by
    gestures of reconciliation, concern for the poor,
    the exercise and defense of justice and right, by
    the admission of faults to one's brethren,
    fraternal correction, revision of life,
    examination of conscience, spiritual direction,
    acceptance of suffering, endurance of persecution
    for the sake of righteousness. Taking up one's
    cross each day and following Jesus is the surest
    way of penance.

  • 2690 The Holy Spirit gives to certain of the
    faithful the gifts of wisdom, faith and
    discernment for the sake of this common good
    which is prayer (spiritual direction). Men and
    women so endowed are true servants of the living
    tradition of prayer. According to St. John of
    the Cross, the person wishing to advance toward
    perfection should "take care into whose hands he
    entrusts himself, for as the master is, so will
    the disciple be, and as the father is so will be
    the son." And further "In addition to being
    learned and discreet a director should be
    experienced. . . . If the spiritual director has
    no experience of the spiritual life, he will be
    incapable of leading into it the souls whom God
    is calling to it, and he will not even understand

Encouragement to Priests and Deacons to do
Spiritual Direction
  • Would it be rash for us to fear that many
    priests will receive a frightful shock at the
    Last Judgment when they find out that they are,
    to a certain extent, responsible for the
    mediocrity and even the loss of souls, because
    they neglected to study the art of spiritual
    direction and would not take the trouble to
    practice it? (Dom Chautard, The Soul of the
    Apostolate, p. 172)

  • Hardly ten in a thousand called by God to
    perfection heed the call of a hundred called to
    contemplation, ninety-nine fail to respond. It
    must be acknowledged that one of the principal
    causes is the lack of spiritual directors. Under
    God, they are the pilots who conduct souls
    through this unknown ocean of the spiritual life.
    If no science, no art, how simple so ever, can
    be learned well without a master, much less can
    anyone learn this high wisdom of evangelical
    perfection, wherein such great mysteries are
    found. This is the reason why I hold it morally
    impossible that a soul could, without a miracle
    or without a master, go through what is the
    highest and most arduous in the spiritual life,
    without running the risk of perishing (Godinez,
    Praxis theologicae mysticae).

What is the Difference between Counseling and
Spiritual Direction?
  • Client-centered
  • Concerned with problem
  • About relationships with others, self
  • Seeks resolution of emotional conflict
  • Personal well-being is desired result
  • Self center of person
  • Relationships with others viewed as affecting self
  • God-centered
  • Concerned with spiritual progress
  • About relationship with God
  • Seeks intimacy with God
  • Doing Gods Will for me is desired result
  • God center of person
  • All relationships are viewed as God-centered

Counseling Spiritual Direction
  • Being real is being in touch with myself
  • Purpose is self-actualization
  • Result is achieved through behavior change
  • By guidance and group dynamics
  • Enlightened by results of research studies
  • Frees self to enjoy pleasures of this-world
  • Being real is opening up to God
  • Purpose is coming in possession of God
  • Result is achieved by release of force of Grace
  • By responding to actual graces
  • Enlightened by revelations of Jesus Teaching
  • Frees person to encounter pleasure of Gods Love

Counseling Spiritual Direction
  • Protective of a strong ego center
  • To experience the most of my time on earth
  • To make most of what others can mean to me
  • To avoid pain and displeasure (dis-ease)
  • To love others for myself
  • To love others so I can love my higher power
  • Displace ego center to God-within as center
  • To experience the deepest of my reality/call
  • To sacrifice myself to make life meaningful for
  • To be unafraid to suffer for love
  • To love others as myself
  • To love God so that I can love others

  • Is there a Difference between the Office of
    Confessor and the Office of Spiritual Director?
  • judge vs. teacher, guide, and counselor
  • fittingness of priest as director
  • fittingness of same priest as confessor and
  • obligation of priest to hear confessions and
    freedom of priest to refuse office of spiritual
    director for any given soul

  • What are the Technical Qualities of a Good
  • Learning knowledge of spiritual life and souls
  • prudence in decisions
  • clarity in counseling
  • firmness in exacting obedience
  • experience

  • What are the Moral Qualities of a Good Spiritual
  • holiness nemo dat quod non habet!
  • Zeal for souls Amor Christi urget nos!
  • Humility readiness to consult others when
    needed, to prayerfully reflect and avoid rash
    decisions, to receive graces needed to be apt
    director of souls
  • Disinterested Feed my sheep!

Essentials for the Direction of Souls(Charles
Doyle, Guidance in Spiritual Direction)
  • Adequate Seminary Training
  • Manual of Spiritual Theology
  • Reading of the Masters
  • Practice of the Virtues

  • What are some of the Duties of a Spiritual
  • to know the soul being directed
  • to be a good listener
  • to give instruction
  • to encourage the soul
  • to direct the spiritual life of the soul
  • to correct defects
  • to direct by progressive stages
  • to observe confidentiality
  • to practice what he preaches get direction for

  • What are Some of the Qualities that Should be
    Present in the One Who seeks Direction?
  • Qualities necessary for direction
  • sincerity director should know all that
    pertains to ones spiritual life
  • there is freedom in choosing the director and
    freedom in discontinuing direction, but there
    must be obedience with regard to the spiritual
    direction received
  • vow of obedience its acceptability and cautions
  • Perseverance give relationship time
  • Discretion in revealing content of your spiritual
    direction to others it may not apply to them

Classes of SoulsDom Jean-Baptiste Chautard, The
Soul of the Apostolate
  • Sustained Piety
  • Mortal sin never or rare
  • Venial sin rarely deliberate, fights
  • Imperfections not too concerned
  • Prayer always faithful, often affective
  • Fervor
  • Venial sin never deliberate
  • Imperfections doesnt want them
  • Prayer prolonged affective or simple
  • Relative Perfection
  • Imperfections energetically guards
  • Prayer infused, faithful even with much
    activity, great renunciation
  • Heroic Perfection
  • Imperfections only first impulse
  • Prayer contemplation, some extra-ordinary
    phenomena, passive purgation intense
  • Complete Sanctity
  • Imperfections hardly apparent
  • Prayer transforming union thirst for
    sufferings and humiliations
  • Hardened in Sin
  • Mortal sin stubborn persistence
  • Prayer deliberate refusal
  • Surface Christianity
  • Mortal sin trifling evil, easily forgiven
  • Prayer mechanical and selfish
  • Mediocre Piety
  • Mortal sin weak resistance by contrite
  • Venial sin accepts it
  • Prayer at times prays with fervor
  • Intermittent Piety
  • Mortal sin resists avoids near occasions and
    deep regrets when happens
  • Venial sin sometimes commits deliberate
    venials. Has superficial sorrow.
  • Prayer gives up meditation when it becomes

Points to be taken up in the Direction of
Beginners(Dom Chautard, The Soul of the
Apostolate, p. 180)
  • Peace
  • High Ideal
  • Prayer
  • Self-Denial
  • All the essentials of direction come down to
    these four points

  • Find out if the soul has genuine peace, not
    simply the peace which the world gives, or the
    peace that results from absence of struggle. If
    it has none, try to give the soul a relative
    peace, in spite of all its difficulties. This is
    the foundation of all direction. Calmness,
    recollection, and confidence also come in here.

A High Ideal
  • As soon as you have collected enough material to
    clarify the soul and to recognize its weak
    points, as well as its strength of character and
    temperament and its degree of striving for
    perfection, find out the best means of reviving
    its desire to live more seriously for Jesus
    Christ and of breaking down the obstacles which
    hinder the development of grace in it. In a
    word, what we want here is to get the soul to aim
    higher and higher all the time always excelsior.

  • Find out how the soul prays, and in particular,
    analyze its degree of fidelity to mental prayer,
    its method of mental prayer, the obstacles met
    with, and the profit drawn from it. What value
    does it get out of the Sacraments, the liturgical
    life, particular devotions, ejaculatory prayers,
    and the practice of the presence of God?

  • Find out on what point, and especially how the
    particular examen is made, and in what manner
    self-denial is practiced, whether through hatred
    of sin or love of God. How well is custody of
    the heart kept in other words, what amount of
    vigilance is there in the spiritual combat, and
    in preserving the spirit of prayer throughout the

Some Points for Consideration
  • Boundaries
  • Not friend, but director
  • Recreation, vacations, socialization
  • Superior in office
  • Appropriate times and places
  • Young directors and directing of women
  • Use of discretion in assuming direction and
    discontinuing direction

  • Best man, not the Bridegroom
  • Jesus to first Pope Feed my sheep tend my
  • Like at Annunciation, action of Holy Spirit
    essential on both parties, but relationship is
    between God and soul
  • Avoid cultivating a dependence
  • Limit time and frequency of visits
  • Use obedience sparingly yet demand responsivity
  • Respect the integrity of the directees intellect

  • Spiritual Direction Relationship is Mutually Free
  • Not all requests should be granted
  • Young associate
  • Busy pastor
  • Retired priest
  • Not always a fit
  • Need to keep objective in my judgment and giving
  • Someone of a different spirituality is often a
    good fit
  • Suggest a 3-month/3-session trial

  • Confidentiality
  • The spiritual director is obligated to observe
    absolute secrecy in regard to the confidences he
    has received from the persons he directs, not
    only because many of these things are in some way
    connected with the internal forum, but also
    because the office of spiritual director
    obligates him to natural secrecy. The obligation
    to secrecy is especially important when it is a
    question of advanced souls who have experienced
    certain extraordinary phenomena and supernatural
    charisms. Although a director who comes into
    contact with such phenomena may have a strong
    inclination to discuss these things, he should
    remember that, as a rule, the narration of such
    things does nothing more than arouse morbid
    curiosity in others and dispose the director
    himself to feelings of pride and
    self-complacency (J. Aumann, Spiritual Theology).

  • Catechism on Professional Secrets (CCC 2491)
  • Professional secrets - for example, those of
    political office holders, soldiers, physicians,
    and lawyers - or confidential information given
    under the seal of secrecy must be kept, save in
    exceptional cases where keeping the secret is
    bound to cause very grave harm to the one who
    confided it, to the one who received it or to a
    third party, and where the very grave harm can be
    avoided only by divulging the truth. Even if not
    confided under the seal of secrecy, private
    information prejudicial to another is not to be
    divulged without a grave and proportionate

What are some classes of directees where
direction is crucial?
  • Young man or woman discerning a vocation
  • A beginner in the spiritual life coming off a
    conversion retreat or weekend needing help in
    entering into the spiritual life
  • Person experiencing strong temptations and/or
  • Person in transition toward illuminative way
    (passive night of sense)
  • Person in transition toward unitive way (passive
    night of spirit)

  • Some Other Related Questions about Spiritual
  • How does one choose a Director?
  • Can I change my Director? And if so when is it
  • useless direction
  • harmful direction (Bad direction is worse than
    no direction)
  • Can one have a number of spiritual directors?
  • Can I do spiritual direction by email?

What are Some Resources on Spiritual Direction?
  • Garrigou-Lagrange, Reginald. The Three Ages of
    the Interior Life, vol. I, pp. 256-264.
  • Parente, Pascal. Spiritual Direction. Abbey
    Press, 1950.
  • Doyle, Charles. Guidance in Spiritual Direction.
    Newman Press, 1959.
  • Royo, Antonio and Jordan Aumann. The Theology of
    Christian Perfection, pp. 593-614.
  • Dubay, Thomas. Seeking Spiritual Direction.
    Servant Books, 1993.
  • Aumann, Jordan. Spiritual Theology, pp. 380-398.
  • Tanquerey, Adolphe. The Spiritual Life, pp.
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