Thursday, September 4, 2014

Reflections on Spiritual Direction

I will lead the blind on their journey; by paths unknown I will guide them. I will turn darkness into light before them, and make crooked ways straight. These things I will do for them, and will not forsake them. - Isaiah 42:16

I had not heard about spiritual direction before I made my Cursillo weekend. For those of you who have not gone on a Cursillo weekend, the term “cursillo” means “short course.” My husband and I like to call it an “encounter with Jesus.”

The Cursillo weekend is a beautiful experience of community and Church and the love of Jesus. It was a turning point in my spiritual journey. One of those moments when you know you have been changed. A time of conversion, you might say.

At the end of the weekend, we were given some suggestions to help us stay focused on the journey and we were encouraged to get a spiritual director. Spiritual direction was briefly explained to us. I do not even remember exactly what was said.

My husband found a spiritual director right away. As the parish secretary, I didn't think I should go to my pastor/boss for spiritual direction. So I stalled for some time, about a year. I kept telling myself that I didn’t really need a spiritual director. I thought I could direct myself. (That's OK. You can laugh.)

Then my prayer life started to change. Rote prayer became boring. I began to feel a strong attraction to contemplative prayer. I had read a lot about centering prayer. I felt stuck and was unsure of what to do next.

Just about that time, after more than a year of resistance, a new priest, Fr. Tom, came to my church to assist our pastor. It did not take long to discover that he was a spiritual director. Almost right away, people started calling him for appointments. That caught my attention.

And in chatting with him, I learned that he just happened to be experienced and knowledgeable in contemplative prayer. (Did I tell you that I do not believe in coincidences?)

It was around this time that I began to recognize that when the Lord wants me to do something, if I do not do it within a reasonable amount of time, He starts "nagging" me. It's like I cannot let go of the thought or idea. It keeps coming back.

Well, God was surely nagging me about getting a spiritual director. And I knew I needed to ask Fr. Tom. Now.

So I gathered up my courage and I went to Fr. Tom's office and I asked him if I could see him for spiritual direction. Fr. Tom asked me if I thought us working together would cause any difficulty in my being able to open up and talk to him. I said I didn't think so. 

So we made an appointment. For my day off on Friday. Just a few days away. And yes, I was nervous. In fact, I was scared to death.

What had I done?


Note to readers - Please give me some feedback on this. You can comment here or you can email me through my website contact form. I am looking for honest and thoughtful critique on writing and content, etc.
This book is going to be about my experience with spiritual direction. As both a directee AND a director, which Fr. Tom eventually helps me to discern. He gave me permission to use his name and to write about him and our experience.
My plan here is to blog some of my chapters. It will be rather loose. I will just go with the flow on this.
Thank you! God bless.


Ultreya Coeur said...

Hi Colleen,

How did it go with your first appointment with Fr Tom? I am looking forward to your next posts about spiritual direction. I have been wanting to find a spiritual director for a long time, but I don't know how one goes about it in Switzerland. I don't even know what the term in German is for "spiritual director", and I am shy to ask our parish priest, similar to your reasons. Anyway, I think a book about spiritual direction is great, and I'm looking forward to reading your posts as you go along. Have a blessed week! Ultreya

Colleen said...

Ultreya, thank you for your comment and your interest in this subject. I will pray for you and I hope you will ask your pastor soon. It does take prayer and courage sometimes, but I have never been sorry for finally asking. More on Fr Tom soon!