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Top ten reading list for spiritual directors (Updated – 2013)

Dan, now that you mention technical books on spiritual theology… I'm wondering what would be your top 10 list of books in that area. I'm especially interested in books that would be helpful for a priest that would like to engage more seriously in spiritual direction, or books that you would recommend to a seminarian or for a seminary course in the area of spiritual direction. I would appreciate your input. Dear friend, beyond... Read More

Does Emotional Suffering Hinder Spiritual Growth?

Dear Dan, since many people may suffer from some level of emotional immaturity due to childhood experiences, what effect does this have on becoming spiritually mature? Problems such as shyness, depression, lack of self-confidence, sensitivity to criticism, etc. affect trust in God and being able to benefit from spiritual direction. What advice would you give those are in such a situation who are seeking spiritual direction but... Read More

Spiritual Direction is NOT A One Time Emergency-Room Event

September 25, 2012 by  
Filed under Dan Burke, Perspective, Spiritual Direction

Spiritual Direction is NOT a One-Time Emergency Room Event   Under normal circumstances, spiritual direction should not be akin to an emergency room visit. Spiritual direction is better likened to a wellness program or a long-term exercise and diet commitment that will result in maximum health. Even though there are plenty of appropriate emergency calls into spiritual directors, the healthiest calls typically occur within... Read More

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 more 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... Read More

Spiritual Direction is NOT a Just Me and Jesus or the Holy Spirit Effort

Spiritual Direction is NOT a Just Me and Jesus Effort   Those that struggle with self-disclosure or a lack of understanding of the definition and benefits of spiritual direction sometimes end up in this comfortable but dangerous trap.  As we will discuss later, God has chosen to use human instruments to shape, mold, and bring us closer to him. This is because it can be very dangerous to direct oneself; the devil lurks in... Read More

Spiritual Direction is NOT Psychological Counseling

The psychological and physical aspects of our souls impact our spiritual lives. There is no easy way to extricate these realities from one another. Yet, just as you would not go to a spiritual director for physical therapy, it is also unwise to attempt to deal with deep psychological issues with a spiritual director (at least not one who has not received special training in both fields). It is true that the state of our spiritual... Read More

Spiritual Direction is NOT a Catholic Self-Help Program

The tendency toward self-sufficiency, self-reliance, and self-centeredness in our culture is perhaps one of the most damaging to souls. Unfortunately and inevitably, these diseases tend to bleed into the spiritual life. What we do need is to break the pattern of a false boot-strap spirituality that often results in self-delusion and spiritual atrophy. As St. Bernard once said, “He who constitutes himself his own director becomes... Read More

Spiritual Direction is NOT Spiritual Friendship

Spiritual Direction is NOT Friendship Spiritual friendships are invaluable to the life of a Christian and share many characteristics with spiritual direction. They differ, however, in a few very important ways. One key difference is that the emphasis of spiritual direction is the spiritual life. Spiritual friendships and mentoring relationships frequently include the spiritual life, yet they usually also have elements, activities,... Read More

Spiritual Direction is NOT Confession

Spiritual Direction is NOT Confession Spiritual direction is not synonymous with confession. The challenge with distinguishing spiritual direction from confession usually comes when the modern inquirer reads the saints who talk about their spiritual director or confessor as if they are one and the same thing. The reason for this is that there was a time when it was very common for confession and spiritual direction to take place... Read More

Spiritual Direction is NOT Spiritual Reading

Spiritual Direction is NOT Spiritual Reading   Spiritual reading is the practice of quietly reading and reflecting on a text that can help us better understand how to love God and others. Though this is most definitely an important practice it is not the same or even a good replacement for spiritual direction because it lacks the third most important element (besides you and the Holy Spirit)… a person who, in this... Read More

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