What is Spiritual Direction

Spiritual Direction - What is it and is it for me? 

A picture of a compass on a map

Spiritual Direction happens when one Christian offers another the space to focus on their relationship with God and its effect on their life. It sets aside time to pay attention to this core of the Christian life. We are all pilgrims journeying in hope towards God and we each need a sense of direction for our steps. A companion along the way can help.

Spiritual Direction is for anyone who wants God, including those who are unsure of anything else! [See more at base of page]. It is entirely confidential except in cases of safeguarding risk.

Spiritual Companions, sometimes called Spiritual Directors, are gifted and trained above all to listen deeply, without judgment and with attention to God’s Spirit who is our guide and giver of life. A Companion will at times ask questions to help you (the pilgrim) notice the Spirit’s work, or suggest things to help with this discernment. The responsibility for what is talked about and any actions taken rests always with the pilgrim.

To join the list of Spiritual Companions in the Diocese of Lichfield, a person must have:

  • received formal training
  • supplied references and been interviewed
  • agreed to abide by the Code of Practice. This includes a requirement for ‘supervision’ where Companions reflect on their own practice.

One of our three Area Coordinators will have a conversation with you about the Spiritual Direction you are seeking and then put you in touch with a Companion. You would then meet the Companion without obligation on either side, to decide whether to proceed. Occasionally, for one reason or another, it turns out not to be right and it is fine to return to the Coordinator for another contact. See here for a leaflet about finding a Companion.

The much-loved 8th-century icon of Jesus and Menas (abbot of the monastery of Bawit in Egypt) shows the two friends walking side-by-side, facing the same things. Menas is free in his choices. Jesus is clear-sighted, joyful, warm (see his hand), believes in his friend. Spiritual Companions aspire to those qualities, but also recognise that each of us has a true Companion who is divine.

More on what is Spiritual Direction...

As a fellow pilgrim, the Companion accompanies the pilgrim on their journey of faith. The real Companion is God the Holy Spirit, who initiates and inspires the pilgrim's deepening relationship with the Trinity, with his/her own self, with other people and with the realities of life in the global village of the 21st century. Christian Spiritual Direction seeks to help pilgrims:
  • dive deeper into prayer and draw closer to God in everyday life; dive-
  • discover God's care in the midst of difficulties;
  • become aware of the sacred within the ordinary events of life;
  • honestly share with God their feelings, doubts and questions;
  • become more like Christ and experience the fruits of the Spirit;
  • move from a preoccupation with their sinfulness to a grace-full life of love and service.
Spiritual Direction is not about leading people away from the realities of the everyday world, or ... an alternative to therapy..., emphasis is also given to the consequences of this growth: the outworking of the pilgrim's life at home and in their chosen vocation, in their decision-making and their imprint on the earth.
(adapted from Sue Pickering 2008: 'Spiritual Direction', Canterbury p.3ff)
Page last updated: Tuesday 27th April 2021 10:21 AM
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