Why Spiritual Direction Matters

Today’s blog explores the value of a little-known ministry called Spiritual Direction. (Ahem….I am one of those who provide this little known service!  And, I’m dang good at it! )  🙂

Horror of Horrors

Yesterday I received an email inquiry about Reiki from a young man who was interested in learning more and who thought he might be called to learn and share this healing protocol.  He then told me that he was also in formation to become a Catholic priest.  I explained to him the Catholic Church’s current thoughts on Reiki (not favorable), and referred him to the articles I had already written on the topic.  I then invited him to bring these questions and discernment to his Spiritual Director to determine which call was greater – that to do Reiki or to become a Catholic priest, because in the end, he would have to make a choice between the two.  His response?  “I don’t have a Spiritual Director and there isn’t one available in our Church.”  My response?  ARGHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Not Surprised

In truth, I was not at all surprised by this young man’s response.  I know that this is not always the case, but it has been my observation that the ministry of Spiritual Direction is sadly lacking in priestly discernment and formation and I believe this is one of the reasons the priesthood is in such a mess.  And let’s take the priests off the hook for a moment……the lack of Spiritual Direction is not just a problem in the formation of Catholic priests……I believe it is sorely lacking in our world in general.  So, in the priests’ defense, they are not the only ones NOT GETTING support, assistance, help in discerning the voice of God in their lives from the voice of the ego (which comes to us out of our fears, unhealed wounds, attachments, etc.).

What the Heck is Spiritual Direction Anyway?

Spiritual Direction is the ministry that assists us in distinguishing the Presence and Voice of God in our lives vs. our false-self and ego.  With the help of a trained Spiritual Director (ie: me), we are able to unravel the confusing and distracting voice of the ego with its roots in our fears, our ego-attachments and our unhealed wounds so that we can get the the voice of God/our Highest Self that is buried deep within.  In my own personal journey working with the amazing men and women who have been my Spiritual Directors, these are some of the benefits I have experienced:

  • The ability to identify and give over for healing many of my unhealed wounds, unresolved fears
  • Learning and honing my skills in meditation and contemplation
  • Support in moving through and grieving the losses and disappointments in my life
  • Support in identifying God’s plan and direction for my life
  • Help in distinguishing the voice of my ego from the voice of God
  • An objective listener who isn’t trying to fix things, but who helps me to uncover my own hidden truths
  • Discovery of my creative gifts and support in nurturing, cultivating and sharing these gifts
  • A shoulder to cry on or an ear to rant to when I need it
  • The voice of wisdom – I can’t tell you how many “God-nuggets” have come forth out of the mouths of my Spiritual Directors, pieces of wisdom that I have gone on to live by such as:

1) Say Yes to what God gives you

2) The most loving thing you can do for those you love is to do what is most loving for yourself

3) You are here to have a human experience….not to be God!

4) What would happen if you received everything as love instead of as rejection?

5) God’s path is life-giving not life-sucking.

In short, a Spiritual Director’s job is not to tell us what to do or to teach us how to change our behaviors or overcome our addictions.  A Spiritual Director’s job is to be an objective and attentive listener and in doing so, to help us hear the voice of our own truth (ie. the voice of God) and who gives us the tools to unbind ourselves from the fears that keep us imprisoned in our falsehoods so that we can freely and generously live our truth in the world.

Back to the Seminarian

This brings me back to the seminarian.  With the support of a Spiritual Director, this young man would have the opportunity to determine if Reiki is indeed a Divine call for him and if so, how he is being called to live that out.  He would also be given the tools to determine if he is really called to the Catholic priesthood.  If it seemed the call to do Reiki as well as the call to priesthood were both authentically coming from God, then he would be given tools to explore how he could live out both of those calls with integrity……which might mean seeking ordination outside the Catholic Church in an institution that doesn’t label Reiki as witchcraft and sorcery (more on that topic another day!).  And this brings me to my final word on Spiritual Direction – the number one job of a Spiritual Director, more than anything else is unbiased objectivity – and that is not something that will likely be found in the vocations director of your local diocese – just sayin’!

Shameless Self-Promotion

If Spiritual Direction sounds like a service that might benefit you, I am available for both phone and Skype sessions.  You can reach me at lauri@yourspiritualtruth.com or (920) 230-1313 to set up an appointment.  Please also note that my fees are on a sliding scale basis.

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com

About Your Spiritual Truth

I am a trained, professional Spiritual Director, Author and Hands-on Healer. I offer services, programs and classes that empower you to hear the voice of the Divine that speaks from within you. It is the voice of the Divine that leads us to our highest truth, to the discovery and cultivation of our gifts and to a life of Authentic Freedom where we know contentment, compassion and joy. Your truth will set you free!
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2 Responses to Why Spiritual Direction Matters

  1. Good article. Thanks for opining.
    You wrote: “I then invited him to bring these questions and discernment to his Spiritual Director to determine which call was greater – that to do Reiki or to become a Catholic priest, because in the end, he would have to make a choice between the two.”

    There are two points I would like to swap idea with you about:

    (1) American Catholic Bishops critique of reiki.

    (2) Importance of spiritual direction.
    =-=-=-=-=-=-=
    (1) American Catholic Bishops critique of reiki.

    The bishops’ committee critique of reiki is not profound but it is correct that this “Japanese relaxation technique” cannot boast rich grounding in science. Moreover the bishops banned nothing more than reiki being officially endorsed for practice in hospitals or teaching in retreat houses (I write from memory only). No ban of individuals (including priests) studying, teaching, practicing elsewhere than in Catholic hospitals or retreat houses. That is a HUGE arena of freedom.
    =-=-=-=-=

    (2) Importance of spiritual direction.

    Please keep on probing that lack. Spiritual direction was more widely sought, I think, when private confession of sins to a priest was more common (e.g for a thousand years or so). Confessor and spiritual director were once one and the same for many penitents. In recent years lay men and women have studied to be and have been acknowledged to be accredited Catholic spiritual directors, including my late sister Kathleen Killough Gaines in Houston.

    In mid-1950s and certainly till 1965 and Vatican II it was commonly taught, I believe, that spiritual direction was particularly important for over-scrupulous consciences: people who thought that they offended God with virtually every breath they took. They were taught that, other things being equal, they did well to put themselves without reservation into the hands of their director as a start to forming a mature, balanced, healthy personal conscience.

    Do keep probing this issue.

    Cordially,

    Patrick Killough

    • Patrick,
      Great points, however, the Reiki document from the USCCB does not offer as much freedoms as we would hope. Here is the link: http://old.usccb.org/doctrine/Evaluation_Guidelines_finaltext_2009-03.pdf Specifically, here is what the document says about who should not be doing Reiki: “Since Reiki therapy is not compatible with either Christian teaching or scientific evidence, it would be inappropriate for Catholic institutions, such as Catholic health care facilities and retreat centers, or persons representing the Church, such as Catholic chaplains, to promote or to provide support for Reiki therapy.” This statement leave the Bishops with a broad range of jurisdiction over the enforcement of these guidelines. Additionally, my experience has been that the Bishops’ response is to paint a very broad brushstroke, thereby “prohibiting” Reiki from being shared within or promoted by any Catholic institution.

      As to the Bishops’ contention that there is no scientific evidence supporting Reiki, here is some supporting evidence: http://www.reikimedresearch.org/

      Finally…..still probing and championing the cause of Spiritual Direction. 🙂

      Thank you for your thoughtful challenge!

      Lauri

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