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Friday, February 16, 2007

Spiritual Direction

I really need a Spiritual Director. I had one for awhile, a very short time, and then that ended...I think it was on God's time.

Lately, though, I have been considering this again. I've been doing a lot of spiritual reading, understanding a great many things, and making strides in the spiritual life; both forward and back. Sometimes it's crushing. Sometimes its exhilerating. Sometimes humbling, sometimes...just plain confusing. And mostly, I'm realizing my backslide even if I'm moving forward. It's completely contradictory.

When I first picked up St. Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life, I had to put it down because it made me face myself. And then I picked it up again and devoured it. And then I read his book, Finding God's Will for You. Just check out my sidebar as it lists the books I've most recently read and which have had a strong impact on me and how I think.

I'm at a crossroads; I need direction. I want to advance in the spiritual life, and yet I don't. I'm comfortable in my chosen sins, but I now am educated in that I recognize I need to break my attachments, both "healthy" and unhealthy. I need to find a better way to focus on God, because I do not love God enough.

And you know what's really hard? Although I need and desire a Spiritual Director, I don't want one because he will hold me responsible for myself. He will call me out of my self-love and make me face those things I only read about in the "Devout Life." He will force me to acknowledge where I have gone wrong, and work to change those things.

That is, if he knows what he is doing.

That, and I tend to be emotional, not uncommon for a woman. But if I have to talk about deep spiritual issues, I won't be able to keep from crying, and of course, sometimes tears are a symptom; of pain, of repentance, of healing. And of humility. I don't want to be humbled, as much as I deeply NEED to be humbled! But I don't want to sit in front of a priest I respect (which is ALL the priests I know) and cry my eyes out. And maybe this is what I need, yet it is one of the things I most fear; my emotion. It is all about pride. A few years ago the fear of my emotion was one of the things that kept me from the Sacrament of Confession. Now it is hindering me from literally ASKING someone for Spiritual Direction.

And it is this, above all things, that tells me that perhaps I am ready for an SD and it is time for one. I need guidance with all the recent information I have obtained; how to apply it, how to avoid going off into scrupulosity, how to avoid sliding back, how to advance and become closer to God. How to break attachments without being extreme. How to be responsible for my decisions. How to be truly holy and not just think I am holy. And how to be holy without recognizing my holiness and how much that recogntion would feed into my Pride.

I hate being held to the fire, but that is what I need, and the very cognizance of that is painful.

I don't really want a Spiritual Director, but I need one.

And if I actually find one, I'm terrified of the pain the experience will entail.

I so desperately need an SD that I just as desperately don't want one at all.

This has got to be one of the most ridiculous dilemmas EVER!


Robert Simms said...

After reading over your post a number of times, I think you should search for your SD in the one place you refuse to look.In my honest opinion, you should seek out a religious sister and not a priest.Your one sentence regarding nuns was very revealing.

Adoro said...

Thanks, rts, but no. It's not actually "revealing" because you are not familiar with what passes for "nuns" in our area.

I actually came on to remove the comment I did make because: 1. it doesn't say enough, and 2. a reason I can't specify publicly.

Julie D. said...

This is a question that I have struggled with occasionally ... and lately have been struggling with again. I can come to no conclusion since I really don't know who would be the best at directing me. Someone who thinks similarly? Someone who thinks differently? Both styles would have advantages and I can think of good candidates in both styles.

So, lately, whenever it crossed my mind I just pass it right back to God, asking Him to show me whether I should be seeking this and, if so, who it should be. I figure eventually that holy 2x4 will come along if I need to be whacked hard enough to "get it." Maybe that's a cop out but since I really don't have a clue that's how I'm leaving it...

Sarah Reinhard said...

I have been thinking of this a lot lately too, Adoro, and I agree with what Julie said above. But then, recently, I attended a women's prayer retreat and the gentle version of the holy 2x4 came at me - in the form of the sister leading our retreat. I have been putting off contacting her for some of the reasons you list. Pretty revealing, though, when we stop to think about it, how much we need it...especially when it seems like it's something we NEED and NOT something we WANT. :) I'll pray for you! :)

Adoro said...

Thanks, Julie and Sarah.

I know all about that holy 2x4! God has whacked me with it several times! I got slap today, will write about it shortly.

There are a couple priests at my parish I'm considering asking, but they are so busy I don't want to approach them and add to their load. As it is, they are helpful to me with my teaching (which of course helps THEM, but still), I just don't want to be more of a bother than I am already.

And there are so many good books, like the ones on my sidebar, but sometimes taking that info and applying it to ourselves is something that requires another party who can see us objectively.

* sigh *

Thank you for your prayers. I think we need to pray really hard for more vocations, so that there will be more SD's! :-)

Beth Lemer said...

TOTALLY agree on our nun issue here Adoro. However, out of all of them, in my town there is a sect of franciscans that have been good, VERY good, considering our choices.
It took me YEARS to find someone to be close enough to again in order to have spiritual direction. I know it wont last forever. But with his direction I've found another person (this time, not a priest, just a very religious guy), that could be helpful also. Pray pray pray for very very good friends that know their stuff. You wont always find those that have their masters in theology.

Kiwi Nomad said...

As far as tears go, I imagine a Spritual Director would not be surprised by them.
I had grief counselling when I was 30 (nearly 20 years ago now!) The counsellor had a box of tissues very handy!