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Pope Benedict on Spiritual Direction

May 24, 2011 by  
Filed under Dan Burke, Perspective, Spiritual Direction

What does Pope Benedict XVI think about spiritual direction?
  • The Church has always recommended spiritual direction
  • Spiritual direction is for every Catholic who desires to live out their baptism
  • Those who are called into a substantive relationship with Christ need a spiritual director
  • A spiritual director can help the directee avoid self-deception and the limits of their own wisdom/experience
  • A spiritual director who intimately knows and loves Christ can help the directee to achieve that same love and intimacy

Here's the complete quote about Spiritual Direction from Pope Benedict's address to the Teresianum on May 19th 2011:

As she has never failed to do, again today the Church continues to recommend the practice of spiritual direction, not only to all those who wish to follow the Lord closely, but to every Christian who wishes to live responsibly his baptism, that is, the new life in Christ. Everyone, in fact, and in a particular way all those who have received the divine call to a closer following, needs to be supported personally by a sure guide in doctrine and expert in the things of God. A guide can help defend oneself from facile subjectivist interpretations, making available his own supply of knowledge and experiences in following Jesus. [Spiritual direction] is a matter of establishing that same personal relationship that the Lord had with his disciples, that special bond with which he led them, following him, to embrace the will of the Father (cf. Luke 22:42), that is, to embrace the cross.

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About Dan Burke

Dan is the President of the Avila Foundation, the parent organization of, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, Divine Intimacy Radio and Divine Intimacy Radio - Resources Edition, Into the Deep Parish Programs, the Apostoli Viae (Apostles of the Way) Community, and the FireLight Student Leadership Formation Program, author of the award-winning book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God, Finding God Through Meditation-St. Peter of Alcantara, 30 Days with Teresa of Avila, Into the Deep, Living the Mystery of Merciful Love: 30 Days with Thérèse of Lisieux, and his newest book The Contemplative Rosary with St. John Paul II and St. Teresa of Avila. Beyond his "contagious" love for Jesus and His Church, he is a grateful husband and father of four, the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN's National Catholic Register, a regular co-host on Register Radio, a writer and speaker who provides online spiritual formation and travels to share his conversion story and the great riches that the Church provides us through authentic Catholic spirituality. Dan has been featured on EWTN's Journey Home program and numerous radio programs.

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  • faithful123

    Agree; the church has always recommended spiritual direction. It is not just for those who think they are called to a religious life and vocation, but for every lay person seeking a deeper understanding of GOD and how the Spirit is moving that person in living the faith.

    and yes, Dan – the busy lives of our faithful priests should not deter one from
    asking if they can be a spiritual director. But, we should be compassionate
    and realistic in setting up meetings to talk. (it should be once a month; and
    after the first meeting – there should be certain things a priest tells his
    directee to do in the following month before next meeting; how to pray,
    write results in journal, be aware of ‘signs’ …of presence; a word spoken by
    another or what is read.

    My experience was more me talking…SD listening; sometimes making a
    comment to further think of… but … it really evolved into more of my
    not understanding something and being confused and looking for this
    one to provide an answer; OR my feeling good about something I came
    to…looking for a bit of encouragement…but I didn’t feel encouraged.

    I chalk it up to my asking for too many meetings and a NICE priest who
    set no ‘limit’ of when to meet. MY FAULT.

  • faithful123

    I realize a Spirit message; in this article and previous article on the Pope’s
    recommendation for spiritual direction for Catholics. I offered some personal
    thoughts as did others. All thoughts had some validity but in some way differed from one another.

    How blessed to belong to a church where there is a central authority who speaks in Christ’s name. As Dan wrote to me; we need to hear ‘the
    authority’ who speaks in our Pope and The Authority of church. It gives
    order to our faith.


  • Guest

    should we pay for spiritual counsel? I saw someone that I am interested for spiritual counsel but he charges for it.

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