Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Ministry of Spiritual Direction

It seemed so natural and attractive for me when I was in studies for the Diaconate back in 1990. I have been a psychologist since 1974, and have always enjoyed being with people in their life journeys. When I went on my first directed retreat at the Jesuit Spirituality Centre in Guelph, I came to understand that the dynamic between my director and me was based on the structure of the Spiritual Exercises written by St. Ignatius in the 16th century. Not only is Ignatius brilliant in his insights into the problem of evil, the way we make choices, the need to choose for God, and so on, my psychologist mind found his way of praying the scriptures with imagining, his way of dialoguing with Jesus and his mother and the Trinity, to be most fascinating. I read everything I could about his life, including his autobiography. I took three workshops in Spiritual Direction over successive summers. And I was hooked.

It was not always easy. The psychologist in me kept wanting to intervene, when I met with people. My instructors would tell me, 'Well that's very interesting, but it's not spiritual direction.' I had to learn that the first task of a person who is journeying with another as they deepen their relationship with Jesus, is to stay out of the way of the Spirit! Instead, listen for the work of the Spirit in the person's life. Help them learn to pray, but above all help them develop a discerning heart, the kind that sees God in all things.

Spiritual Direction is my Diaconate service ministry, and I have been seeing people from all over the diocese, as well as from Kingston itself. What a privilege, what a graced activity. The people I see cannot appreciate this, I suppose, but they bring the most wonderful gift to me as well, that of focusing my attention on God present. Indeed, letting me see God in them.

Anyone interested in exploring this, send me an email at the address shown on the page here. I will get back to you.


Mary said...

Deacon, I have been looking for something that I can't really define.I am a 72 yr. old woman, fairly intelligent and perceptive. I have always 'believed' but I'm not sure in what. I don't believe the bible, particularly the old testament, was written to be taken literally and I don't usually like people who insist on that. I believe in Jesus and his teachings of love and I don't know how people can merge the two into one belief system. I would like to find someone to talk to who has an open mind and is willing to listen and to discuss. I have also had problems with depression through the years which seems to have partially driven my grown children away. I want to become confident in myself again, and that I am worth the trouble and time.
I'm sorry by the title Deacon, I am not sure what your official religion is. If you are catholic I know you will have little time for my lack of belief in certain biblical events.
Thank you

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