Monday, August 06, 2012

The Saints on Finding a Good Spiritual Director

Adoration Chapel, Blue Army Shrine, Washington, NJ

For those of us who are still seeking a good spiritual director, it is comforting to read the following excerpts.  It is very important that we not settle for just any spiritual director because it will be vital that we obey our spiritual director in all things.  As you will read below, both of our saints refer to priests/confessors as the obvious choice for a spiritual director.

I also read somewhere that if we are unable to find a good spiritual director, there is no better spiritual director than the Holy Spirit.

"The soul should have prayed ardently and at greater length for a director and should have asked the Lord Himself to choose a spiritual director for it.  What begins in God will be godly, and what begins in a purely human manner will remain human.  God is so merciful that, in order to help a soul He Himself chooses the spiritual guide and will enlighten the soul concerning the one before whom it should uncover the most hidden depths of its soul just as it sees itself before the Lord Jesus Himself.  And when the soul considers and recognizes that God has been arranging all this, it should pray fervently for the confessor that he might have the divine light to know it well. And let it not change such a director except for a serious reason.  Just as it had prayed fervently and at great length in order to learn God's will before choosing a director, so too, should it pray fervently and at great length to discern whether it is truly God's will that he leave this director and choose another.  If God's will is not absolutely clear, he should not make this change, for a person will not go far by himself, and Satan wants just this:  to have the person who is aspiring for sanctity direct himself because the, without doubt, he will never attain it..."  (938)
- Divine Mercy in My Soul Diary, Sister M. Faustina Kowalska, Marian Press, Stockbridge, MA.

..."Now, such a guide ought always to be an angel to you.  That is, when you have found him, do not look upon him as a mere man.  Do not place your confidence in his human learning, but in God who befriends you and speaks to you by means of this man, putting in his heart and in his mouth whatever shall requisite for your happiness.  Hence, you ought to pay as much attention to him as to an angel who would come down from heaven to conduct you thither.  Open your heart to him with all sincerity and fidelity, manifesting clearly and explicitly the state of your conscience without fiction or dissimulation. By this means your good actions will be examined and approved; and your evil ones will be corrected and remedied.  You will be comforted and strengthened in your afflictions, and moderated and regulated in your consolations.  Place great confidence in him, but let it be united with a holy reverence, so that the reverence may not diminish the confidence, nor the confidence oppose the reverence.  Confide in him with the respect of a daughter for her father, respect him with the confidence of a son in his mother.  In a word, your friendship for him ought to be strong and sweet, entirely holy, entirely sacred, entirely divine, and entirely spiritual.
'For this end, choose one among a thousand,' says Avila. I say, 'Choose one amongst ten thousand,' for there are fewer than can be imagined who are capable of this office.  He must be full of charity, knowledge, and prudence.  If any one of these three qualities is wanting in him, there is danger.  But I say to you again:  Ask him of God. Having found him, bless His Divine Majesty, remain constant, and seek no other, but proceed on with sincerity, humility, and confidence, for you will make a most happy journey."
- Introduction to the Devout Life by St. Francis de Sales, Image Books

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