I once thought that only saints and religious had spiritual directors. Reading about some of the saints, I had noticed mentions of the spiritual director's advice or guidance in their lives. It was not something that applied to me in my ordinary life, or so I thought. In truth, I am not sure I wanted to go that deeply with someone into my faith life. I was just fine, thank you very much, and I didn't need anyone telling me to pray a certain way or to change the way I did things in my life. That was between me and Jesus, or so I thought.
Then one day something I call an alligator arrived in my life and this alligator was all wrapped up in the church and my family and my life. It doesn't really matter what the alligator was, it became a spiritual crisis for me. I was confused and angry and I could see no clear path. The alligator seemed to be something that was derailing me from the clear path to Heaven that I was trying to follow in my life. I had a friend or two who went to someone for spiritual direction and I had talked to them about direction. Someone to talk through the alligator situation with was what I needed. Perhaps what I needed was spiritual direction.
Most diocese, I am told, have lists of spiritual directors. All you have to do is ask. Priests also serve as directors and will often serve people beyond their own parishioners. As a woman, I decided that I really wanted to talk to a woman and I was able to find one whom I talk to monthly. I pay her what I can. This is not something covered by insurance. An advantage to having a priest as director is that he can hear your confession and adminster the sacrament as part of the direction session.
I suppose every director is different. In my direction we discuss what is going on in my prayer life and my life. Sometimes she will recommend a book or a particular way to pray. This month she has suggested that I meditate on one of the Stations of the Cross. She prays over me. We meet for about an hour. Once we went to Mass together. I have done a lot of crying in her office and laughing. I often say, she makes me cry, but the truth is, I make myself cry as the hurts and things that I have held inside come spilling out. Christ is there with us in Spiritual Direction.
Spiritual Direction, I heard at a conference, is a growing need within the Church. More and more people want and need spiritual directors. There are several programs to train more directors out there. I don't know if I would agree that everyone needs a director, but if you feel like you might, I would encourage you to seek a director out. It is one more help to get you out of the way of the alligators who are trying to derail you on the path to Heaven. Are not we all trying to become saints?