What is “Spiritual Guidance?”
Spiritual guidance is about discerning the presence of God in human experience and working to free persons to respond to that presence in deeper and broader ways. Persons seeking spiritual guidance can expect to be listened to carefully, to be encouraged to open themselves to the various means by which God “speaks,” to be supported in engaging in some spiritual disciplines as a means of receiving grace and light, to be prayed for during spiritual guidance sessions and outside of those sessions.
The whole range of life experience of the individual is considered to be the arena through which God may be “speaking,” not simply in areas that may seem to be more “spiritual” or “religious.” The persons seeking guidance bring their agenda to the spiritual guidance sessions. The spiritual director’s role is to listen for the movement of the Spirit; observe, suggest, i.e., be present with the person in a way that helps him or her pay attention to the unique ways God may be seeking to give guidance, to give what is needed in the one-of-a-kind spiritual journey of each person.
What is unique about Christian spiritual guidance?
Spiritual guidance that is Christian involves the belief that Jesus Christ is in fact God, and that His mission was to reconcile men and women to right relationship with Himself, inviting them to share in the Divine Life, and through them imparting that Life to others. “God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through Him to reconcile all things to himself, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” Colossians 1:19. Christian spiritual guidance involves attending to the movement of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Jesus, in the person’s life. It involves attending to any of the areas in the person’s life where guidance, light, or a “word from Jesus” is needed, and engaging in practices that are designed to discover what is needed.