Spiritual direction helps you to become aware of God’s presence in our daily life, deepen our intimacy with God, discern how to make good choices, and find greater meaning in life. A spiritual director accompanies you in a confidential, non-judgemental, one-to-one relationship with God, yourself, and others.
Spiritual Directors gently guide you into paying attention to how God might be speaking to you in your ordinary life experiences and reflections in prayer. A session lasts about an hour and may occur during a retreat or on a regular basis in daily life. Spiritual direction is open to everyone, whether you are new to Ignatian Spirituality or familiar.
Available in person and online.
What is 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
In coming for Spiritual Direction, you bring the ordinary events of your life to a series of one-on-one conversations. It is understood as a three-way meeting of the Spiritual Director, yourself, and God’s Spirit.
When you seek spiritual direction, whether during a retreat or in your daily life, you are invited to share with your Spiritual Director your prayer, your experiences, and your reflections. Your Spiritual Director listens with a discerning heart, paying attention to where God may be particularly present in your experience.
The director responds to what they hear in various ways – using active listening skills to help you articulate what was significant about your experience. The director may ask questions to help you explore further what you have experienced, focussing attention on a particular area, word, or image, so that you are more able to notice how God’s Spirit is moving in your life and to respond in greater freedom to God’s invitations as they arise. The director may also offer suggestions for further prayer, reflection, or discernment.
What is Ignatian Spiritual Direction?
Following the tradition received from Saint Ignatius of ‘spiritual conversation’, Ignatian Spiritual Direction seeks to help people to discover their own deepest desires and to hear the gentle voice of God calling to them in their hearts.
Your spiritual director will be alert to the characteristic themes of Ignatian Spirituality, grounded in the Spiritual Exercises. These include a sense of collaboration with God’s action in the world, spiritual discernment in decision making, generosity of response to God’s invitation, companionship in service, and a disposition to find God in all things. Desire and discernment are two key concepts, moving towards integration of contemplation and action, prayer and service, emotions, and reason.
Noticing the moment of truth: Desires
Spiritual direction in the Ignatian tradition assists people in understanding their deepest desires. Often the deepest desire of our hearts cannot be expressed in words. It may, however, find expression in what we choose to do and in how we spend our energy.
How do we know our deepest desires?
When we speak of the deepest desire, we are referring to what is deep in the core of our being, that part of us where God’s dream for us is being shaped. This kind of desiring lies far deeper than the list of wants and wishes that we might identify at the more superficial levels of our being. For those whose hearts are, deep down, directed toward God, however they understand God, the deepest desire will be in tune with God’s dream for them, and for all creation. Margaret Silf, Companions of Christ: Ignatian Spirituality for Everyday Living.
Finding our Purpose in life: Discernment
Spiritual direction in the Ignatian tradition fosters discernment. This is more than decision-making, it is a method for identifying our inner stirrings, reflecting on them, and understanding where they come from and where they lead us. Through discernment we can see where God is calling us to serve in the world.
Spiritual Direction and You
Spiritual direction is open to everyone, whether you are new to Ignatian Spirituality or very familiar; whether you are a spiritual seeker or have been a person of faith for many years.
A spiritual direction meeting lasts about an hour and may occur during a retreat or on a regular basis – approximately 4-6 weekly – in daily life.
Jesuit and Ignatian Spirituality Australia offer individual spiritual direction online or in person on a regular basis or on an occasional basis as a need arises.
Arrange to connect with a JISA Spiritual Director to talk about how spiritual accompaniment may be of help to you and what shape it might take.