In every facet of life one needs assistance and a guardian who will help and direct the individual in his choices. In the realm of politics and governance it is not for nothing that people often have a council of elders and council of state who most often than not give advices to the president or the leaders of a party on how best one can lead or govern a nation or a party in a right direction, and so is the case of the Christian life. The Christian is not devoid of these counsels and directions.
Many Christians of the cause often misconstrue the fact that spiritual direction is solely meant for people who are discerning a vocation or people in a religious or consecrated life. But as Christians journeying with the Lord, we all need spiritual direction to help us understand God’s purpose for us and above all else to deepen our personal relationship with God.
According to one of the great spiritual masters, Thomas Merton, “Spiritual Direction is a continuous process of formation and guidance in which a Christian is led and encouraged in his special vocation so that by faithful correspondence to the graces of the Holy Spirit he or she may attain to the particular end of his or her vocation and to union with God”. This union with God signifies not only the vision of God in heaven but that perfect purity of heart. Humans as we are, we live in a time now where many Christians consider their spiritual life a private matter and so spiritual direction offers the individual the opportunity to explore and interpret his or her experiences of God, his purpose and calling as well as remove the barriers in the person that blocks the actions of the Holy Spirit, hence healing one of his past wounds and hurts. The Christian faith is a shared one and not a solitary one; therefore as one journey in his or her Christian faith, he or she may become blind, confused and discouraged in certain matters pertaining to his life and faith in God and so suffice to seek enlightenment and sense of direction from a Spiritual director. As St. Augustine beautifully puts it “As a blind man cannot follow the good road without a leader, no one can walk without a guide”. So in the spiritual life of a person one certainly cannot be a good judge in his own journey unless he or she is guided by an experience person.
Seeking Spiritual direction is a way of identifying and getting to know one true self. The only way for one to become his or her true self is to engage consciously in the relationship with God that God desires. In the call of Samuel, he was blinded to the true voice of the Lord, but when he sort the counsel of Eli, he was able to discover that it was not Eli, who was calling him, but rather God.1Sam 3:3b-10 so it is with our Christian lives, decisions and choices will become blur and difficult for individuals to make and decipher but until we seek the guidance of spiritual directors it will become difficult for us to understand who we are and Gods purpose in our lives. As St. Jerome exalts us in his words “Do not be your own master and do not set out upon a way that is entirely new for you without a guide.” Hence, by virtue of our baptism and the fact that each of us seeks to grow deeper in faith, love of God and neighbor we all need spiritual direction.
-Baapele Mwintome Fauster