For those who already have a personal connection with God, Spiritual Direction helps to deepen and widen that relationship. Spiritual Direction involves regular meetings (at least once a month) with a caring and knowledgeable person of faith who can help you listen more deeply for the guidance of God in your life. Spiritual Direction requires a commitment to prayer and a willingness to listen for the action and direction of God in your life.
James Keegan, S.J. describes spiritual direction in this way: “Spiritual direction is the contemplative practice of helping another person or group to awaken to the mystery called God in all of life, and to respond to that discovery in a growing relationship of freedom and commitment.”
William Barry, S.J. and William Connolly, S.J. describe spiritual direction as “help given by one Christian to another which enables that person to pay attention to God’s personal communication to him or her, to respond to this personally communicating God, to grow in intimacy with this God, and to live out the consequences of the relationship.”
Spiritual direction, an ancient ministry of the church, is a relationship in which one person assists another, or others, in attending to God’s presence and call.
Spiritual direction has been and remains, particularly strong within Roman Catholic and Orthodox religious orders, and over the past twenty years Anglican and Protestant traditions have begun to recover it more fully. There is also growing interest in spiritual direction among other faith traditions, such as Judaism and Buddhism. Throughout Christian history, spiritual direction has traditionally been practiced by ordained clergy alone. In recent years, however, this practice has widened to embrace the spiritual gifts of non-ordained persons as well. Today, spiritual direction is regarded as a ministry open to all, not an order or office reserved for a few. (Presbyterian Church, USA)
St. Ignatius wrote the exercises as a guide for spiritual directors to help individuals become more intimate with Jesus. As a result of our intimacy with and love for Jesus, we deeply desire to follow Jesus closely in all that we do. Ignatius wrote the spiritual exercises as a result of his own conversion experience and his deepening sense of the presence and call of Christ in his own life. The exercises are organized around four weeks, as they were originally given, during the structure of a 30-day retreat. During the retreat, we pray through themes and images related to our relationship with God through love and sin, we follow Jesus in his public ministry through the passion and death of Jesus, and we join Jesus resurrected as he calls specially to each of us to serve Him and one another to build His ongoing Kingdom on Earth.
While the spiritual exercises are still offered at retreat houses during a 30-day retreat, the 19th annotation to the exercises is widely offered and includes daily prayer, and weekly meetings with a spiritual director. The 19th annotation generally lasts 10 months or so.
I can hardly find words to tell how fully I realize that my soul and my way of thinking have been changed by those very Spiritual Exercises, that my mind has been enlightened by new rays of grace from heaven and that I have been imbued with a certain strength, so much so that in the overflow of the divine blessings into even my body I am completely invigorated and seem to be changed into an entirely new man
— BLESSED PETER FABER
Through a set of factual and evocative questions, a Spiritual Assessment helps you identify and understand your own religious identity. Magis Milwaukee can provide you with an initial conversation about Spiritual Assessment and its benefits, an opportunity to complete the Spiritual Assessment inventory, and a follow-up conversation with a trained director who can help you interpret the results. A Spiritual Assessment helps you to know your own spiritual and religious story so that you can make good and clear choices about how to proceed.