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Spiritual Direction is NOT Just about Prayer… or Action

Spiritual Direction is NOT Just About Prayer or Action


Though this form of direction doesn’t belong fully in the “this is not spiritual direction” category, it can reflect an immature form of direction that is not likely to yield the growth that comes from a for post on how spiritual direction is not just about prayer or actionmore balanced approach. Love for God in the form of prayer or adoration could very well be a false love if it does not result in tangible expressions of love for those around us. The converse is also true. If we give our lives to social justice but ignore the source of justice we are, like Martha, in danger of missing the “better part” and failing to fulfill both of the commandments that Jesus affirmed as the most important.


This is an excerpt from Dan’s book Navigating the Interior Life – Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God. To learn more, click here.


What is spiritual direction and my spiritual direction? What are my “blind spots” and how can I uncover them? What keeps me from all the spiritual riches Christ has for me? How can I better understand where I am in my spiritual progress?

Daniel Burke’s Navigating the Interior Life will give you the tools you need to understand how and why we grow and die in the spiritual life and what we can do about it.


Art for this post Spiritual Direction is NOT Just About Prayer or Action: Christ and Saint Mina [or Menas], iconographer unknown, 6th-century icon from Bawit, Egypt, PD-US author's life plus 70 years or less, Wikimedia Commons.

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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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  • Becky Ward

    Balance; if we are not plugged in to the source of light and love (prayer), we cannot pass it on to others, (action)

    I really like the analogy of ‘fruitfulness’……….we need to pay attention to what is happening within. If we do not see growth (fruit) from our prayer, especially in regard to the fruits of the Holy Spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control – then we need to find out why……….and best done with the help of an objective guide.

    • LizEst

      Balance! ; )

  • Guest

    To me, the whole Gospel of Christ is in the Beatitude “Blessed as the Merciful for they shall receive Mercy” . This is one of the Major Teachings Christ gave us through St. Faustina as He prepared her to become the Secretary and Apostle of the Eucharistic Apostolate of the Divine Mercy which would then spread throughout the Catholic Church. And this is confirmed by the fact that He requested that the Feast of Divine Mercy be established in the Universal Catholic Church on the 2nd Sunday After Easter. We see Him – as He appeared to St. Faustina in the Image He requested to her to be painted with the Signature “Jesus I Trust in You”, as showing us the very way (without the red and pale rays, of course) He appeared to the Apostles in the Upper Room on the 8th Day after His Resurrection. (The Gospel of 1st May Divine Mercy Sunday). And the Feast of Divine Mercy falls on the 8th Day after Easter Day. He has taught us Mercy equals forgiveness – from us to those who have hurt us – and from God, whom we offend daily with our sins.

  • SL102

    I agree, it certainly is NOT either/or but instead both/and. A balanced life of prayer and action are circular things, one feeding off of and resulting from the other.



  • Diane

    I love these articles on what Spiritual Direction is not. I recently started with a beautiful spiritual director after praying for one for a long time. It is so much more complex than I expected, and is requiring a lot of hard work, prayer, facing things etc. than I imagined. But, I am finding it worth the effort. I realize I am not where I would ultimately like to be in my relationship with God, but I see that I can progress.

    • I am glad you are finding the approach helpful. Soon we will get to a post on the concise definition of what spiritual direction is…

      Please tell your friends about us!

    • Joana

      I love these articles too and at the moment am without a spiritual director so the site has been helpful to me in filling in those cloudy areas but I would love to converse and share directly with a spiritual director. Yes it is worth the effort reading and sharing the site to others and at the same time allowing God to just work His way in molding me to become the person He wants of me

  • Dexter Morgan

    I really appreciate the information here. I have been in search of some spiritual guidance in westminster co. This article has been really helpful in deciding exactly what I am looking for. Thank you.

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