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Mysticism and Spiritual Direction – what do I do?

Dear Father John, At some point would you address the issues facing modern mystics? For example, most spiritual directors do not seem to have experience with mysticism. Even some priests I have encountered believe that God no longer acts in this way with his people, but it has been my personal experience that he does. It is very difficult finding others with similar experiences. Fortunately, I have found an elderly priest who can find occasional time to help me, and I have received advice from a priest who has written extensively on the topic. I think that means I have perhaps been blessed more than other mystics. However, the priests to whom I can go for confession are not mystics; in some cases, they have not even accepted mysticism and I am left with making partial confessions, carefully avoiding anything that seems out of the ordinary and too supernatural. It is all quite disappointing and frustrating. Any advice?

I sense frustration in your question. Watch out! Frustration doesn’t come from the Holy Spirit. Frustration is a function of expectations. When we expect reality to be different than it is, we become frustrated. As soon as we become aware of that frustration, we have to make an act of humility and turn our natural (and sometimes reasonable) complaints into fruitful actions and faith-drenched crosses. In the face of frustration, we have to ask ourselves: Can I do anything (within reason) to change the situation? If so, make a decent effort to do it. If not, however, we have to let go, not allowing it to drain emotional and spiritual energy. One of the devil’s favorite tactics is to keep us focused on things we can’t change, so as to keep us from changing what we can.

That’s a general warning. As regards the specific issue, finding spiritual directors who can give helpful guidance to mystics, it is hard for me to say much more. But I’ll try.

Clarifying Our Terms

The reason it’s hard to address is simple. The words mystic, mystical, and mysticism are not precise. Different people mean different things by them. I am not exactly sure what you mean when you refer to “modern mystics.” I am not sure what you mean when you say that some people think God no longer acts “in this way” with his people. In all fairness, then, I should tell you what I mean by the term. I will use it as a synonym for the more technical, theological term “infused contemplation.” Infused contemplation is a kind of prayer in which the soul no longer does anything and God reaches down and does everything, elevating the person to an ineffable experience of the divine presence. As St. Teresa described it, prayer is when we water the garden of our souls; infused contemplation is when God sends a thunder shower to water it for us.

This can occur in a quiet way, in which the only one aware of it is the one who is praying. Or it can occur in an ecstatic way, in which everyone is aware of it through related phenomena like levitating or the experience of auras.

I don't use the term as a synonym for miracles. Miraculous experiences of God’s presence can happen without infused contemplation – for example, the experience of visionaries or of people receiving interior locutions. I realize that not everyone will agree with my use of terms. I also realize that by defining them in this way, I may be attempting to answer a question you didn’t ask! But at least you know what I’m talking about.

Removing Misunderstandings

Certainly God continues to work in this way. Every priest has to study this phenomenon in his preparation for ordination during his course on spiritual theology. If any clergy have told you otherwise, perhaps they misunderstood your question, or maybe there was some miscommunication. At least, I hope so.

The experience you describe of difficulty in finding an apt spiritual guide in this situation is not unique to our epoch. If you are not yet familiar with the lives of mystics from past periods, I would recommend that you read the lives of St. Theresa of Avila (1500s), St. Margaret Mary Alacoque (1600s), and even St. Faustina Kowalska (1920s). If I am not mistaken, each one of them experienced deep and prolonged suffering because of the difficulty they had in finding sure guidance. I would even venture to say that finding dependable spiritual guidance is part of the cross for souls who are given this charism. That doesn’t mean anyone is at fault for it. Judging by precedent, we can say that God usually uses this struggle to help purify the soul. So then the question becomes, what is the most fruitful way to carry on that struggle?

Jesus promised that “the one who searches always finds” (Matthew 7:8). I would advise you and those like you to pray and search for a spiritual director gifted with enough wisdom to guide you competently. In the meantime, don’t feel as if you have to discuss all of your spiritual experiences in confession. If you don’t have confidence that the confessor will respect you, simply mention your sins and failings without going into anything else, and gladly receive God’s grace through that sacrament. And remember, a good spiritual director doesn’t necessarily have to have experienced mysticism himself in order to guide you effectively. He or she simply has to be someone who is coherent in their vocation and knows the Lord deeply and personally.

Tempting Mystics

But now I want to mention the most important thing. The devil is not absent from the lives of people who are gifted with this kind of experience. In fact, he may be more active. He will tempt you towards arrogance, thinking that because you have been given this gift you are superior to others, both laity and clergy. He will tempt you towards self-sufficiency, thinking that because it’s hard to find a spiritual director you can just figure everything out on your own. He will tempt you towards a subtle spiritual gluttony, thinking that because you have experienced infused contemplation at times, you should always be experiencing it, and therefore prompting you to try and manufacture it every time you pray. He will tempt you towards a subtle impurity of intention, making you pray and do spiritual things in order to experience the delightful mystical gifts, instead of simply seeking to glorify God. The devil may even try to trick you by concocting counterfeit mystical experiences, as he did with St. Ignatius of Loyola.

Unfailing Defense

The sure defense against these and other wily attacks is to take Jesus’ motto as your own: Thy will be done. The test of holiness is not the presence, frequency, or intensity of mystical experience. Rather, it is union of wills. Ask yourself each day, preferably in an evening examination of conscience: How faithfully am I avoiding sin and the occasions of sin? How faithfully am I fulfilling the responsibilities of my state in life? How can I do so more faithfully? How faithfully am I carrying out my Lord’s commandment of charity (“Love one another as I have loved you” – John 15:12) in thought, word, and deed, towards relatives, friends, acquaintances, and strangers? How can I do so more faithfully? How energetically am I striving to build up the Church and the world around me? Pay special attention to your words, using them always for good and avoiding all useless criticism. Make sure that your prayer life is always feeding your Christlike living.

This is the difference between Christianity and so many Gnostic pseudo-religions. The latter put mystical experience at the pinnacle of religion; Christ put grace-empowered, self-forgetful love there. If you strive to do the same, you will find meaning even in the midst of the challenges and suffering that mystical experience brings into your life. And you will grow in holiness and give God’s grace more and more room to work in you and through you.

I will leave the last word to St. Teresa of Avila: “Don’t seek feelings of consolations in prayer. Seek the Lord, seek to conform your will to his! If the Lord chooses to give delights and consolations, be grateful, but let them accomplish the purpose for which they were given: to encourage us to persevere in daily taking up our cross and following him.”

As I finish writing this answer, I am sending up a prayer for your continued growth in holiness. God bless you!

Yours in Christ, Fr. John Bartunek, LC

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Art for this post on mysticism and spiritual direction: Art: A Hermit Praying, Gerrit Dou, between 1645 and 1675, PD-US author's life plus 100 years or less, Wikimedia Commons.

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About Fr. John Bartunek, LC

Fr. John Bartunek, LC, S.Th.D, received his BA in History from Stanford University in 1990. He comes from an evangelical Christian background and became a member of the Catholic Church in 1991. After college, he worked as a high school history teacher, drama director, and baseball coach. He then spent a year as a professional actor in Chicago before entering the religious Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ in 1993. He was ordained a Catholic priest in 2003 and earned his doctorate in moral theology in 2010. He provided spiritual support on the set of Mel Gibson’s "The Passion of the Christ" while researching the 2005 Catholic best seller, "Inside the Passion"--the only authorized, behind-the-scene explanation of the film. Fr. John has contributed news commentary regarding religious issues on NBC, CNN, Fox, and the BBC. He also served as the English-language press liaison for the Vatican’s 2005 Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist. His most widely known book is called: "The Better Part: A Christ-Centered Resource for Personal Prayer". His most recent books are "Spring Meditations", "Seeking First the Kingdom: 30 Meditations on How to Love God with All Your Heart, Soul, Mind and Strength", and "Answers: Catholic Advice for Your Spiritual Questions". Fr. John currently splits his time between Michigan (where he continues his writing apostolate and serves as a confessor and spiritual director at the Queen of the Family Retreat Center) and Rome, where he teaches theology at Regina Apostolorum. His online, do-it-yourself retreats are available at RCSpirituality.org, and he answers questions about the spiritual life at SpiritualDirection.com.

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  • $1650412

    This is incredibly wise counsel. I am barely a ‘B Team’ Catholic and in no way a mystic, but I have been good friends with people with mystical experiences, and also had kind of bizarre encounters with others claiming mystical experiences. This post hits a wide range of issues that are really apropos even in my very peripheral, limited experience. But the things that are most helpful to me in this post are the way to counter frustration explained in the beginning- it seems possible to apply to any situation, and then this last part examination of conscience. I very much appreciate how even though the subject of the question is very specific, much of the guidance in the answer can be helpful to us all.

  • It is actually quite understandable that the poster is frustrated, rather because the Spirit is being somehow stifled.

    What he’s going through is perhaps not unlike what St. Teresa of Avila or St. Faustina went through in the hands of unknowledgeable directors. As a matter of fact, St. Teresa warned sternly against such directors, even recommending not having any director as a better choice if a good one cannot be found.

    However, Fr. John is right in warning about the search for experiences, although they have very little to do with St. Teresa’s or St. Faustina’s mysticism, truly Christian mysticism. The Discalced Carmelite mystic tradition of contemplative prayer is anything but about experiences.

    As a matter of fact, in my anecdotal experience, in this day and age, mysticism is swept under the rug as some form of shameful past for the Church.

    May St. Teresa pray for our directors.

  • Karen Kamphaus

    Thank you! Wise indeed. Seems that the cross at times can be hard to bear. Something that many people cannot understand. Infused contemplation is a wonderful gift, but is truly misunderstood. I only want to do the will of my Lord Jesus. Isn’t this gift for the church, and not to be kept to ourselves? Without a knowledgeable Director, how are we to know what is to be done with this gift? I cannot stop the workings within my soul of the Most High God. I understand completely why they thought that St. Teresa of Avila was possessed. Why God would choose me, I do not know. I was told that “when much is given, much is expected”! The turmoil is sometimes to much when your Spiritual Director Doesn’t understand!

    • Rebecca

      Hi Karring57,

      My understanding is that the gift of infused contemplation is different from the charismatic gifts. The charismatic gifts (such as healing, prophecy, etc.) are given for us to use to build up the Church. Infused contemplation, on the other hand, transforms us from within, and is not a gift we can share. All we need to do with this gift of infused prayer is to simply receive it, and continue to live a faithful Catholic life, being mindful of the things Fr. John lists in his examination of conscience (and of the traps that Satan sets for souls on this path.)

      The contemplative’s gift to others, then, is the good influence he or she has on them through growth in virtue. Holy people draw others to God.

    • Becky Ward

      Hello karring57,

      I’m including a link to another post on this site that addresses this issue as well.

      http://rcspiritualdirection.com/blog/2010/01/28/when-the-soul-lives-in-god

      When we look back upon the lives of the saints it can often seem as if they had everything together………….thankfully, we have many who have left us writings that say otherwise.

      Like any other skill, it takes time, patience, and practice to learn what God is asking of us………..to learn to discern what is God and what is not…………….and then to learn when, where, how, and what, He wants us to do. The importance of humility and obedience cannot be stressed enough………especially here in the USA where the very words often grate like fingernails on a chalkboard.

      When we ask that seemingly unavoidable question, “Why has God chosen me?” we should be prepared for an answer that may not sit too well. The answer I have frequently heard certain holy souls receive is along the lines of, “You’re the worst example I could find.” Boy! Wouldn’t that take the wind out of one’s sails!? 🙂

      God does choose us; not the other way around. Hopefully, at some point we come to realize that everything we do should be for the greater glory of God and the salvation of souls, which is why Jesus became man, and why He wants to be re-created in each of us………so that through us, He can continue the work of salvation.

      I can relate to your distress when a spiritual director doesn’t understand, God may use this to teach us not to seek human approval or understanding…………….while we may have similar experiences, each soul is unique, and only God can truly understand what is happening within. It’s a lesson in detachment……….we’re being pruned……..painful, yes………but hopefully it will allow us to bear much fruit! Our trials form and shape us as much, if not more, than other experiences.

      If you pray, and ask the Lord to provide the right spiritual director for you, He will.

      May your holy week be filled with peace and light!

      • Karen Kamphaus

        Thank you Becky!

        Your words have given me much consolation.

        These misunderstandings make us grow in humility.
        The Lord Jesus told me once that “You are but a speck of dust”. “If you were perfect who would come near”?

        Then He told me about St. Peter, and the Church. How imperfect the creatures are who make up the Church. “The gates of hell will not prevail against Her” He will not stand in front of Her but only behind Her.

        He chooses the week in order to make them strong.

        Thank you again!

        God Bless!

  • Ana

    I am not a mystic, just working on everyday conversion. I’ve typed up the suggested questions for my end of the day examination of conscience. Thank You. With my prayers for all guides and readers.

  • jessiebeard

    It is quite common for Jesus to reveal himself in and through those who He chooses to reveal Himself to. It does not always mean that He is choosing a person for some particular mission. Sometimes it just means that He wants the person to know that He does exist, that He is alive, and that He is with us. BE NOT AFRAID. When a person starts to have supernatural experiences, It is not a good idea to go searching for a spiritual director unless Jesus tells them to specifically. This can only complicate a simple situation. Fear is the most common problem of those who are surprised by supernatural experiences and the best advise is to remind them that supernatural experiences are normal and may last only a short time. Some may be confused by them. That is also normal. Above all, do not think that these experiences are reserved to the Saints of the world. Jesus reveals Himself to sinners as well. Remember St. Agustine and some others.

    • Dear Friend,

      I have to respectfully disagree. It is clear from the saints and doctors of the Church that one of the greatest risks faced by someone with mystical experience is one of self-deception. In fact, all those seriously striving for holiness should have a spiritual director, and particularly those blessed by mystical experiences.

      In Christ – Dan

    • jessiebeard

      We are living in different times today and good spiritual directors are rare. Remember Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus and his witness regarding revelations “But when [God], who from my mother’s womb had set me apart and called me through his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, so that I might proclaim him to the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult flesh and blood, nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me; rather, I went into Arabia and then returned to Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to confer with Kephas and…Gal. 3: 11-24. Jesus is your spiritual director first and foremost.

      • Dear Friend in Christ,

        It is fascinating that you chose this event to illustrate your point. When on the road to Demascus Jesus did NOT say (chapter 9 of Acts), “I am Jesus you are persecuting, rise and deal with me directly – you have no need of anyone else.” In fact he said said the exact opposite, “I am Jesus you are persecuting, but rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.” Jesus pointed Paul to Ananias to get direction about what he should do.

        Even if the scriptures were not clear about this, the idea that because Paul learned directly from Christ without any assistance and that we can therefore do the same, is untenable in Catholic theology and ecclesiology. It is, in fact, a strictly protestant notion. Even St. Teresa of Avila, who had direct revelations of theological truth, knew that she must submit herself and her revelations to a knowledgeable spiritual director; and always did so.

        From another standpoint, when we look at the whole of scripture and tradition we have “normative” events and instances that are not normative where God can do as he pleases with us. As an example, the normative path to salvation in scripture clearly includes baptism. However, the thief on the cross was told that he would be in paradise without baptism (“today you will be with me in paradise). The fact that there are circumstances that are not normative does not then require that the non-normative become the universal rule. If the opposite is true, then the incident with the thief would lead us to conclude that no one then needs baptism – as some protestants have concluded based on this verse.

        Yes, Christ, the Holy Spirit, and God the Father are all essential to, and highest the aim of, our spiritual growth. This does not mean that God does not use human means to aid us in our travels to him. Just as Paul told Timothy, “there is one man and one mediator between man and God – the man Jesus Christ” he also understood that there was an authority structure within the Church that was delegated by God as the means of our mediation – they are called priests (both in the old and new covenants). Otherwise he would not have even engaged with the other Apostles.

        Those who seek to operate outside of the reality that humans are the means that God uses to mediate his graces, are in grave danger of self-deception. All of his graces are mediated through the means of interaction with his Church.

        Finally, you might be surprised to know that among our regular readers, almost 40% have good relationships with a regular spiritual director. I am personally also aware of hundreds of others who have the same blessing of a solid spiritual direction relationship. Those who seek find. Those who are seeking and frustrated will also find – even if the quest for Christ and the help to know him lasts their entire lives.

        Yours in Christ – Dan

      • Thereseroses

        Jesus is your spiritual director first and foremost…..you will find how often Jesus is so pleased with the saints and blessed’s when they obey their spiritual directors before him, even when their spiritual directors have not been the best spiritual directors. The point is God is pleased with obedience to legitimate authority as he showed in his own life here on earth. Jesus so often through history and continues today to choose people to lead others….ex. Parents, teachers, priests, etc..

        May God bless each of us in our journey towards him and bring us many good and holy spiritual directors. Especially since we are living in a time in the church when it is most trying. In these times I have no doubt that our Lord will grant the church good and holy spiritual directors to help others reach heaven.

    • Dear Friend,

      I jumped too quickly in response to your comment here. I do agree with the majority of your post. My disagreement (below) was with this part of your response,”When a person starts to have supernatural experiences, It is not a good idea to go searching for a spiritual director unless Jesus tells them to specifically. This can only complicate a simple situation.”

      Blessings on you as you seek Him

  • Rosario P.

    This is a great tool for anybody who is looking for a deepest personal prayer. Thank you Fr. Jhon.

  • elizabethmahlou

    Dear Dr. John, your post is helpful beyond words. The warning has given me a new view of this situation, and, trust me, I have taken it to heart.

    In the development of my relationship with God, for whatever reason I have become more and more drawn toward contemplation and prayer, even while at work, where I am frequently very aware of His presence, and can usually manage to shut the door and take some time with Him although often it is selfishly spent in asking Him to help me resolve some work problem fairly and wisely. (I am responsible for 400 people and dozens of programs throughout the world; my limited human wisdom is not up to the task of managing this by myself in a manner that would glorify God or even contribute to His work.) I ask God over and over every day to let His love flow through me and splash onto everyone around me. It’s a short prayer, one I can make repeatedly throughout the day while still diligently tending to my work and the people who need my attention. It is a prayer that I can tell that God honors — except when I put up a barrier — and when I see the results, I just want to pray it constantly.

    My greatest challenge, however, has been the transferral to another diocese of the 83-year-old priest, local but not in my parish, to whom I would flee for explanations when something that occurred during contemplation (or outside it) surprised or confused me. I can accept that now, however, knowing that I was more blessed than I had realized in having him for four years and because of something I read right after I had said good-bye to him. (I should admit, though, that I seriously miss him, love him deeply even though he is not here, and pray for him, his well being, and those in his care at every chance I get.) I am certain you are familiar with the work, but I was not. It seemed to fall into my hands at just the right time. In “Abandonment to Divine Providence”, de Caussade wrote that sometimes God takes away all our support, including even our spiritual director, because He wants us to depend exclusively on Him. I find that thought compelling, and, strangely, it really endears God to me. If, indeed, He is willing to be my guide Himself, wow, it takes my breath away. I think that is what St. Theresa may have been saying. If I don’t misunderstand you, I think that is also what you are saying, in part: rely on God and let the struggle for guidance be a cross and means for purification of the soul. (That is difficult, Fr. John). As for the rest, I will trust other priests when I need guidance, and I will definitely keep one eye open for the Devil approaching in gentle, even spiritual, guises.

    You have given me and others who share my experiences much to think about over a long period of time, Fr. John. Thank you.

  • Indeed, St. John of the Cross advises to give no importance whatsoever to such experiences. Surely, they are a grace sent by the Lord when He considered that you needed that then. But that was then, for attaching more importance or even seeking the experience again is a sign that God is not enough. Paraphrasing St. John, do you love God or the experiences?

  • Becky Ward

    Fr. John,

    This is AWESOME advice!!

    What you say about frustration not coming from the Holy Spirit sheds new light – and great hope – on some issues I have been dealing with. These have to do with medical insurance, prescriptions, and what “the system” will and won’t let them do……..it doesn’t make sense; and I have just enough computer programming knowledge to know that someone intentionally built the system to be the way it is……..not very user friendly. But it is my expectation that is causing me to be frustrated.

    As St. Ignatius says in “Rules for discerning spirits”, (I paraphrase) “Once a soul is no longer moving from one serious sin to another, the good spirit does not cause it to be unsettled.”…………..I recognized this right away when I read the beginning of your reply.

    I had similar trouble with ‘beating myself up’ internally until someone told me “That’s not of God.” So simple………..and thanks be to God, remembering this has freed me from the rut of letting these negative thoughts distract me from more productive things.

    I also had difficulty finding a good spiritual director. Part of this was God’s way of teaching me to rely on Him instead of human beings. The book ‘Abandonment to Divine Providence’, which has been mentioned in another post on this site, was a great help to me then and the advice continues to help me every day. Basically it says in many different ways, “God loves us and knows what is best for us. Trust in Him and believe this, surrender our understanding of how things ought to be, and all will be well.”

    Many saints advise us to keep our eyes on Jesus; I have found it very helpful, both to counter arrogance/vanity as well as providing help in dark times, to imagine Our Lord on the cross, to surrender my troubles to Him as I approach the cross, then sink to my knees as I wrap my arms around the cross………..confident that this too shall pass. (This idea too came from one, or many, of the saints.)

    I echo Jo’s reflection, “This is incredibly wise counsel.”

    Thank you.

  • Julie

    My personal experience has been that when something baffles or surprises me in my spiritual life, Jesus Himself, works as my guide…. in this respect. I jot down what the problem or question or experience is, to take to my next spiritual direction, but before I can get there the Lord Himself directs me in my meditation, giving me the most clear and concise answer to my problem, question or concern. It never ceases to amaze me, that Jesus’ personal relationship with each one of us is so tender, personal, and relevant! Julie

    • I have had a similar experience! When I note down what He tells me in prayer. Or act on what He tells me in prayer. Inevitably, an article, family member, friend or homily affirms what He has just told me! I have not seen my spiritual director in a while and so I am very grateful to Him for this!

  • ILoveLazarus

    Great answer Father. And if I may add one suggestion to all of us: pray for more holy priests. “O Lord Grant us priests; O lord grant us Holy priests; O Lord grant us many holy priests; O lord grant us many holy religious vocations.” Especially after the prayer to Saint Joseph.

    • judeen

      scripture tells us to pray for preists.. but it also talks about the people – they get the preist they deserve… and if they people are strong in their faith so too God will provide the shepards….
           we have prayed… now we need to see confession lines grow.. and people not gossiping or judging others.. instead loving others and living their faith.. then the preist will come …
                 heard that sememairys are over flowing… now at places.. even has to rent apartment buildings to house them all…
                

  • Chris

    Fr. John… it appears you have also experienced God in a “gentle breeze.” As i was reading your post, I thought of fish, dophins, birds, all swimming in unisen, an unseen connection, a dance of the soul with it’s Creator, an at-one-with. I could find nothing to disagree in anything you had to say. Last week I was visiting a friend at a nursing home, his room mate referred to Jesus frequently during my visit – he had studied the Bible for over 30 years, a strong faith, a pleasant encounter. As I was leaving, I walked by his bed, his eyes were closed, head resting back on his pillow, and he said to me, “God loves your Chris, He never stopped.”… I wonder if you could comment on the word “joy” as it relates to ones faith and/or level of awareness of those things spiritual.

  • Lightlittera

    very good article indeed.
    I had mystical experience recently in a presence of an archbishop and the group of priests!
    that was embarassing, I am not even confirmed as a catholic yet.
    reading your words on the experience of auras – I did check it, it could be just some form of epilepsy although my neurologist is saying that it is very unlikely in my case.
    It did affected me – i started going to church sometimes 3 times a day! we are blessed with churches here in london.

  • Martlet

    Still on this topic, I have been under the direction of the same priest for sixteen years but have now moved to another country. I still talk to my old SD, but as a family friend, and never in private any more. I am about to see a priest in my new location but have no idea where to start when we meet for the first time. It seems a little strange to announce mystical encounters, yet without understanding the past, how can a priest counsel on the present? So my question is, how do you approach a new SD?

    • Dear Friend, as you might suspect, you will need to start over again. Try to prepare a brief overview of your spiritual life. To make the meeting effective and to avoid scaring him off with too much peripheral detail, write out a summary of your present state and try to keep it to one or two paragraphs. These should include your state in life, your family situation, your participation in the sacraments, your rule of life (if you have one). etc.

      Then, write out what your goals are for SD and/or what you are struggling and need help with.

      • Martlet

        Thank you, Dan. I have tried to manage a year without an SD but, as always, find it is like trying to push a gyroscope uphill with my nose and keep it going in a straight line. Perhaps that is a good place to start. Anyway, I will take your advice and try to write a brief summary. Thanks again.

        • You are welcome. Send me an email to let me know how it went. Be assured of my prayers.

          • Martlet

            😀 All is well. In the end, my “brief summary” was way too long and I just went in and blurted that I didn’t know where to start, that I have been called a mystic and need help. It made Father laugh. But the writing out did help me to be able to focus and summarize in the end. Thanks again!

  • pepe

    Interesting debate about finding the “right” spiritual director. Two thoughts on this. First Matthew 23:2 “Pharisees sit on Moses seat so you must obey them and do everything they tell you but do not do what they do because they do not practice what they preach”. Even though Jesus criticizes the Pharisees he still respects their authority, i.e. even in the worst case scenario your spiritual director has been granted an authority from God. The second thought is from the writings of St Josemaria “The Forge” point 599: “How difficult it is to live humility! As the popular wisdom of Christianity says “Pride dies 24 hrs after its owner”. So when you think you´re right, against what you are being told by someone who has been given a special grace from God to guide your soul, be sure that you are completely wrong”.

    • LizEst

      Wise thoughts, pepe. Thank you.

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