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Spiritual Direction Is…

October 3, 2012 by  
Filed under Dan Burke, Spiritual Direction

Now that we are clear on what spiritual direction is not (see the posts listed below), we can provide a summary of what spiritual direction is, a relationship between three persons: 1) the Holy Spirit, 2) the director, and 3) the directee. The main topic of spiritual direction is God’s will for the directee. The central aim of spiritual direction is to help guide the directee to purposefully, consistently, and substantively grow in his or her relationship with God and neighbor by discovering God’s presence and embracing his will through the fruitful practice of prayer and virtue. The ultimate end of spiritual direction is, as Jesus commanded, to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength” and to “love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:29-31).

This and the posts below are excerpts from Dan’s book Navigating the Interior Life – Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God. To learn more, click here.

Other Posts on Spiritual Direction:

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About Dan Burke

Dan is the founder of Catholic Spiritual Direction, the Avila Institute for Spiritual Formation, and author of the award winning book, Navigating the Interior Life - Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God. Beyond his “contagious” love for Jesus and His Church, he is a grateful husband and father of four, the Executive Director of and writer for EWTN’s National Catholic Register, a regular co-host on Register Radio, a writer and speaker who provides online spiritual formation and travels to share his conversion story and the great riches that the Church provides us through authentic Catholic spirituality. Dan has been featured on EWTN’s Journey Home program and numerous radio programs. If you have an interest in having Dan come speak at your parish or Catholic event or group, contact us at rcspiritualdirection@gmail.com or call 818-646-7729.

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  • JustMe

    It may be simple, but I don’t think it is easy! The more I try to grow in virtue, the stronger the temptations to sin become. I sometimes wonder if its not better to not try to grow spiritually? It seems that there are more risks due to the temptations and that you could fall farther than you would if you just kept a tepid spiritual life. Or perhaps that is just rationalization, as a way to avoid the struggle altogether?

  • faithful123

    It’s that simple. So, if a directee asks for spiritual direction – should it be every week, every month, or once a year? And if the aim is to grow our relationship with God, it would be wrong to speak of difficulties with others we encounter either in family or working environments is that correct?

    And should the directer provide specific assignments of a sort to meet before the next session. Reflect on the Rosary Mystery of ………….., in relation to

    the situation perplexing one? Does Spiritual DirectIon ever ‘end’ … or is one

    forever in need or direction? Can’t a spiritually mature Catholic who knows God, live a good life without reporting to a director? Isn’t the aim just that to bring a directee to see the movement of the Spirit for his or her life of thier own mind

    and not need to run to a third party to ask CAN I DO?

    Truthfully, I believe this is what I finally got from my sessions… I felt I was using the director as a crutch…and that’s NOT trusting in God with WHOLE heart,

    mind, and strength. Since saying goodbye to my director, I make my own

    decisions and rest that they are good one’s. I ended my session because

    for the most part, I came away from each session more tense than at peace

    even when I excitedly wanted to share an insight that came from spiritual

    reading. My director never gave me any encouragement I was doing ok.

    Sometimes he wanted to contradict what I came to

    So…I came to the conclusion spiritual direction is not for everyone.

    Perhaps it takes a person REALLY in tune to God, to seek to know more of God’s will to go to spiritual direction.

  • Jesusbpraised

    Beautiful, just simply beautiful! Like God Who is our Goal. He is simple! He is beautiful! He is everything!

  • Anonymous

    This reminded me of a passage I had just read from ‘Seeking Spiritual Direction’ by Fr. Thomas Dubay, especially in regard to the three-way relationship involved.

    This is from the section titled ‘Discernment: Assessing my progress’, and he lists many signs associated with making progress.

    Obedience: This
    sign of growth is surely one of the least popular ideas of our day. In a negative way, this is an indication of
    its rightness, for the world does not like divine revelation. (See Lk 10:16; 1
    Jn 4:1-6). Our economy of salvation is,
    by the explicit and many times repeated will of God, an obediential one. God
    wills that we be led to Him through other human beings, who, by His delegation,
    take His place and speak in His name. He
    does not look kindly on the rebellious, dissenting mind. Why is the humble, obedient spirit so strong
    a sign of progress toward God? One
    cannot please God without the basic yes of faith and acceptance (Heb 11:6), not
    only to the content of the divine message but also to the manner in which He
    chooses to present it, that is, through a teaching Church which speaks in His
    name (Lk 10:16). This is why St. John of the Cross
    rightly sees spiritual direction as ecclesial.
    The guide acts not merely as a private friend or as a secular counselor
    does, but ass a legate of the Lord. For
    this reason St Teresa obeyed her confessor-director rather than a vision, if
    there was a clash. And the Lord Himself
    assured her that this was His will.

    • faithful123

      I don’t understand Becky… are you saying we should obey human words right or wrong? I know we are to obey the teachings of the church authority structure…but even Jesus knew SOME in his company would get it wrong. Some individuals misinterpret the directee or they misinterpret church law. (for a time, some priests I had heard, in the 60′s were condoning birth control) Surely we need to DISCERN before blindly

      obeying. And what of ‘in the world’ … of work environments where not all are led by the Spirit of Truth? Are we to be walked on like a doormat in the name of obedience? That doesn’t sound like God’s will to me. I am confused.

      • Anonymous

        Faithful,

        Jesus is our example. Every word in the bible has meaning and the Holy Spirit guides and protects the Church Jesus started.

        Look at how many times the bibles points out Jesus’ obedience……….I don’t think Pilate or the other leaders of the time were being led by the spirit of Truth (else they would have loved Jesus), yet He did not defend Himself………..He was True to what His father was asking of Him…..He is GOD, and yet He was obedient; to set an example for us.

        One good way to know if something is God’s will, according to many of the saints, is that it is contrary to what “The World” proclaims.

        What Fr. Dubay is saying, and with which I agree 100%, is that we need to be obedient to the official teachings of the Church. The priests who condoned artificial birth control are NOT teaching what the Church teaches.

        I would suggest you get a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church if you don’t have one, and use it, and the Bible as your #1 discernment tools. When we struggle with the teachings of the Church, (And I have been there not so long ago.), if we are truly humble we will accept that, as the Holy Spirit protects these teachings, I’m not as smart as God and so I will accept this and pray for enlightenment!

        I must smile as I read what you say about being a doormat………almost the very same words have come from my mouth, and in MY case, it was pride and vanity…..my ‘self’, as in ‘self-love’ gets me ‘all puffed up’ about certain issues……….and I think I need to go charging in on my white horse to either defend myself, or to speak up for, or defend, others. What my experience has taught me, is that when I take these issues to Jesus, and kneeling before a crucifix, lay them at his feet and give Him my anger, pain, frustration…..and whatever else I am feeling, He heals me….and I don’t care if I’m a doormat. And this speaks louder, although it doesn’t seem that way, than any defense I come up with. (God is in charge!)

        Finally, truly mature spirits……….souls who are united with God, ardently seek the assistance and guidance of other holy souls because they know how quickly and easily they can be deceived. Even the Pope has a spiritual director…………God gave us Jesus, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and all of our saints as examples………THIS is where we need to turn……….imagine Our Lady reaching over the body of her dead Son to say to those who killed him, “I am your Mother and I love you!”…….talk about heroic virtue!! (spiritually this is what she did) And Mother Teresa was out begging for her poor one time and asked a wealthy man for some money. He spat in her hand. She closed her hand, brought it to her heart and said, this is for me and my sisters…….then she extended her other hand and asked what he had for the poor? It is reported that the man gave her a large sum of money and was changed by this encounter. How I pray for that kind of perfect love and humility!!

        No doubt it’s difficult!! But Jesus says, “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (perfect in love), and he would not tell us to do something which is impossible………..we need to pray for help and intercession from the whole communion of saints………make sure we have the right role models….(saints)……………and abandon our souls to Divine Providence. God loves us deeply and tenderly; each and every one of us…………and He will take care of us if we ask.

        Keeping you in prayer,

        God Bless!

        • faithful123

           Thank you Becky313, I do understand your words on NOT defending issues that we know are just plain wrong (either not defending those who attempt to accuse us OR not defending issues of a social nature that the world loves to speak of publicly TO WE WHO THEY KNOW are ‘good’)

          When I was in my 20′s (a good 30 years ago) many a person in workplaces would openly speak about not needing to attend Mass and
          ‘that greedy Catholic church’ always looking for money. (say nothing about the fancy sports car they drive in the parking lot and that they are working two jobs and very involved in money attaining and position if smart)

          I for the most part simply let them talk. Said nothing. I used to think this was weak of faith of me…NOW I realize; it WAS the right thing. Let them think what they want of me; IT’S THEY who are revealing who they are to all around them. If we are faithful to God; we know who is sincerely inquiring about why Mass is important and who is looking to rile us up.

          I admit…though…being in the world that demands THEIR RIGHTS and
          THEIR WAY… it’s easy to also want to SPEAK and declare our right
          to OUR PEACE and our right to earn our living. Be assured, the moment we declare “I don’t appreciate that tone towards me” — we are through
          in a working environment / the moment we defend any social issue
          for the good or for that matter for the other side … we are finished.
          The shrewd of heart…even if they are liberal, never speak of being
          for or against openly. Their tactic is for you THE GOOD to speak
          against something and thus they ‘twist that’ their way that we spoke
          God in a secular place, or we offended them with our ‘hate’ (they see
          truth as not being tolerant and speak words in such way they paint
          us as being hateful, argumentative, bad, selfish, etc. You are correct
          we are to only speak work issues and have the intellect of spirit to
          turn the tables on them. ASK THEM QUESTIONS as to their statements to us; so they must be put on the spot. NEVER give our opinions on
          ANYTHING. Let them wonder who we are. Remain mysterious.
          I actually did it right in my youthful days when I said nothing. It
          was GRACE and I wasn’t ‘not defending’ God. In truth, I was defending
          Him…THEY were stating who they were and GOD was there to
          see and hear it all.  IT’S ALL ON THEM… every word they speak.
          LEAVE IT WITH GOD. SIMPLE…but our egos get in the way at times.

          Without a doubt Becky…we should not ‘fall for their ways’ because
          we want to show how much more knowledgeable we are on the
          subject.

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  • Mary42

    Faithful123, Becky313 is right. If you read the Diary of St. Faustina, the Secretary and Apostle of the Divine Mercy, you will see that Jesus advised her severally to rely on the advice of her Spiritual Director. He also stressed the absolute necessity of total obedience to her Superiors and the Teachings of the Church. What I would say is that, if at any time you feel the Church is wrong in a certain precept, Christ’s tells us very clearly to consult your Ordinary. He left us His Church to make sure we do not go wrong. When we come to the realm of Spiritual Direction, we need to remember it is the Holy Spirit who is leading us. You must agree Faithful123, that the Holy Spirit will ensure your Spiritual Director will not misguide or mislead you because the Holy Spirit is the Inspiration in him and Christ Himself is counseling you through him. This is the same rule that governs the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Remember Jesus had to institute this Sacrament 8 days after His Resurrection. The entire Salvation Mystery depended on His giving us this Sacrament, otherwise His Passion and Death would have been a waster of time. Why?? Because as He told St. Peter, we sin every day – seventy times seven!!!!!!. But when we go for Confession, it is not to the Priest we are confessing, but to Jesus Christ Himself. Referring back to St. Faustina, there were times when Jesus would give her some advice, only for Fr. Andraz, her Spiritual Director, to tell her to do the opposite. She obeyed her Director and when Jesus appeared to her again, He expressed His joy that she obeyed her Director and not Him. Again and again Jesus stressed to her that she must always obey her Director and her Superiors even if what they were asking of her was contrary to Jesus Himself had told her. It was to impress upon he that Obedience is highly valued by God. This shows obedience to the Teaching of our Holy Mother Church is necessary for our Spiritual growth and salvation. In the same way when the Holy Spirit has guided you to a Spiritual Director, you need to be assured and be humble enough and accept that He is acting through your Director to help you grow in your Faith. God is Truth and He can never contradict Himself.

    • faithful123

      I know we are to be obedient to official church teaching. I know that includes the obvious of Mass attendance on Sunday (at least) Confession at least once a year; particularly during the Easter season, it includes

      attendance on Holy Days and fasting or abstinance as the church teaches as well as honoring the moral laws of church teaching (we do not give honor to the act of abortion or to those who give honor to such, and we uphold the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony; not water it down to a union of any old 2.

      But, what of personal issues? I hesitate to go to specific details on a public website. But; on a matter where it’s a matter of free will – to

      get a truth out to someone who we feel didn’t hear our verbal words;

      so we email them (until they respond whether they agree or not) If

      a director says ‘let the thing alone’ … I don’t want you to get ‘hurt’

      (it pertained to a business and his words seem to say to me: protect

      yourself OVER making sure THE TRUTH was read) If I sincerely

      DIDN’T UNDERSTAND why he would advise such…and director

      was not clear in stating why…it’s a matter of OPINION… are we

      to go along. I realize the Holy Spirit works thru Him but IF I

      didn’t SEE IT THAT WAY… am I guilty of a grave sin for disobeying

      a director? I don’t understand.

      • Anonymous

        It is not a sin for a lay person to disregard the advice of a director.

        • faithful123

           Thank you. Perhaps a useful article for this site is on the subjective of what obedience means as far as being a good Catholic and how a
          directee is to be obedient to the director in direction. I was under the
          impression that it was the job of a director to assist the directee in
          discovering how the Spirit was moving a directee. To aid the directee
          in matters of discernment but not to actually tell what to do.

          • Anonymous

            Good idea

        • Anonymous

          DISCLAIMER:  Individual situations will be different; no judgment is being made here.

          As spiritual direction is meant to aid us in seeing ‘the plank’ in our eye, that we are usually blind to, unless it regards a matter of faith or morals wouldn’t it be best to accept the advice of the director….at least to try it out?

          I use your quote from the article on scrupulosity: Saint Philip Neri stated that “There is nothing which gives greater security to our actions, or more effectively cuts the snares the devil lays for us, than to follow another person’s will, rather than our own, in doing good.”

          And IF it does regard issues of faith or morals, for instance the director is telling us it is not right to use artificial contraception, would it not be sinful to disregard the director’s advice?

          Thanks, & God Bless!

          • Anonymous

            The sin is in rejecting the teaching of the Church and thereby God’s desire…

          • faithful123

             Yes… understood. Obedience to God first (God aka Truth) If something is a matter of ‘opinion’ … but directee’s thoughts have everything to do with making sure ‘a truth’ is heard…even if truth is not accepted and directee not affirmed; we should not ‘fear’ to protect ourselves. I needed to make sure a former employer was aware of circumstances I was verbally speaking re: someone I worked with and their attitude towards me.
            Being lowest of ‘position’ – well management has a way of twisting us around and hearing as they want to hear. I needed to ensure my words were ‘heard’ and opted for email. I wrote truth…director advised be
            careful it doesn’t ‘hurt me’ (ie: that they might jeopardize future
            employ) GOD’S TRUTH to me: I am a good worker, I have years of
            experience as such, if work is available and I can do it… no other
            human words can jeopardize…BUT even if they could… I felt it mattered
            to ensure they knew I was ‘in the truth’ … Director seemed to be
            sayinng ‘to my ears’ look out for yourself… TOO MUCH of that looking
            out for self …and status quo remains as is. I feel good that they
            know if I went to all that trouble to tell it, even after being let go…
            THEY KNOW TRUTH.  Maybe I made life better there for someone
            else.

          • Anonymous

            Gotcha!

            Playing devil’s advocate…….(although that doesn’t sound quite appropriate here.) :)

            In following my train of thought……….supposing a hypothetical situation where a director IS counseling a directee concerning a matter of faith or morals…………..(for instance suggesting natural family planning vs. artificial contraception), wouldn’t the decision to disregard the director’s advice and choosing one’s own will instead constitute a sin of pride?

            Thanks!

          • faithful123

             If a directee chose artificial contraception over the suggested natural family planning the sin would not be pride the sin would be the artificial
            contracepting or ‘killing of life’ …

            A spiritual director doesn’t even have to ‘counsel’ on such subject; it
            should be plainly stated: NO! Do such and you are putting self in grave
            moral danger (mortal sin)

            It’s never a ‘sin’ to disobey another mortal being. Only disobedience in
            regards the teachings of the church; specifically put down as the canon
            laws of the church (church law) or the disobedience of God’s laws
            (the 10 commandments) Artificial Contraception is against ‘thou shalt
            not kill.’  Canon or church law disobedience might be deliberately NOT
            attending Mass on Sunday or Holy Days of Obligation. Not fasting
            on certain days, etc.

            In matters of human to human opinion; and when it’s casually spoken
            outside of the session (on steps of church) “I don’t think… ” with little
            explaination; then it’s not SIN to discern otherwise. NOT TO SHRINK
            FROM TRUTH. (as Jesus spoke to Peter; when he said he had to
            go to Jerusalem; and Peter said NO NO… don’t go there (to protect
            Jesus) CLEARLY Jesus said “get behind me Satan” 

            If it’s felt that A TRUTH is not getting heard… where it must be
            heard; then SO BE IT… we must get acknowledgment from the
            source of what is bringing us ‘unrest’… My emails were going
            unacknowledged regarding a matter, when finally they were
            acknowledged but still not agreeing with me; THEN I FELT closure.

            Spiritual Director did not understand and my words couldn’t make
            him understand. I had to get it acknowledged. I don’t see it as pride.
            I see it as following GOD who IS TRUTH and making sure TRUTH
            wasn’t manipulatively stretched out of shape.

  • Mary42

    Faithful123. A very holy Saint once said. One who has himself as the Spiritual Director has a fool for a Director!!!! We definitely need a Spiritual Director (and whom the Holy Spirit will certainly work through) to help us in our Spiritual journey to our Eternal Home.

  • faithful123

    Agree JustMe, understanding the definition of spiritual direction is easy, to put the direction of our life of faith into concrete application ‘in the world’

    is not easy at all. “In this world you will have trials and tribulations” said our Lord, fear not “I have overcome ‘the world.’

    I heard this from a ‘cute’ movie where someone played God and actually I even read it – if we pray to God for patience, does our loving God give us patience ‘zap’ … you are now patient? OR rather, does he put in our

    path those who ‘try our patience’…to test our faith in Him? If we pray

    for courage – does He simply hand it on a silver platter OR provide us

    the means to be courageous. (Remember the Wizard of Oz… the

    Tin Man who wanted a heart (to love) the scarecrow who wanted a

    brain – to think, and the lion who wanted courage to be ‘king of the

    terrible jungle? Asked The Wizard to give them that stuff they wanted?

    Wise wizard he was… he sent them out on an assignment; and of

    course the lesson was – in their pursuit of ‘an object asked for’ they

    had to rely on what WAS ALWAYS WITHIN … love made the tin

    man help Dorothy in trouble, the scarecrow had to THINK of how to

    help her and the lion of course had to be brave and not run away.

    Growth of Spirit doesn’t come by hiding in ‘a simple job’ where you

    are comfortable, if called to pursue a certain vocation… God was

    the one who gave that ‘call’ … and then if we are aware…provides

    us the understanding of how to ‘reach the goal’ and I felt this – at

    the start of my working life; if our working goal is ‘easy’ – it’s not

    from God. I suppose we could all stay making those BIG piece

    kid puzzles and feel ‘smart’ for putting it together so easily – and

    not take on the 1000 piece interlocking puzzle where the colors

    of the puzzle look all the same. But life would not be challenging

    and we wouldn’t be living a LIFE would we?

    That’s what’s wrong with a ‘socialistic’ society where the ‘charitable’

    government hands persons jobs, education, dollars even, on just

    about a silver platter. Sure it takes the ‘worry’ out of living, always

    provided for… but FAITH (in the God who is provider, that eye

    cannot see) grows a bit stagnant. A LOT STAGNANT. People love to gripe; moan and look at where someone else is in terms of possessions they have and MISS the growth they themselves achieved WITH God.

    Not try to grow spiritually? avoid the risk of falling? Would you remain

    crawling as an infant crawls to avoid falling? or stay riding a bike with

    training wheels – instead of going to a two wheeler? or continue to

    read See Sally. See Spot Run (first grade reader) because you were

    a success at it – even if your were in 12th grade or would you attempt

    to read War and Peace with understanding?

    Thanks JustMe, your question helped me think and see. Spiritual

    Direction nor Directors is not there to encourage us; so that we

    become more filled with pride in our accomplishments if the director

    astutely sees pride as a problem. The director isn’t there to feed us

    answers on how to handle ‘a problem’, the director won’t even tell

    us our decision to resolve a difficulty was right (If in faith we acted

    we don’t need ‘human respect’ of approval for the action) The reason

    for spiritual direction is GROWTH of our ‘weak’ ‘flabby’ self to

    reliance and understanding of THE SPIRIT who loves us – enough to

    MAKE US STRONG in FAITH in HIM. (and thus the world and its

    temptations become nothing more than an annoying mosquito we

    shoo away the moment we ‘sense his light touch on our sensitized

    skin) Temptations are life sucking to our soul like the mosquito sucks

    our life blood…ONLY by exercising our will to conform to His will …

    are we sensitive to know ‘the temptation’ so as to avoid the temptation.

    As stated in the Lord’s prayer Lead us NOT INTO TEMPTATION…

    but DELIVER US FROM EVIL. This is the reason for fasting from

    ‘something we enjoy’ in lent or advent…exercise for our weak wills

    in the little stuff so we can SAY NO when BIG STUFF tempts that

    goes against the authentic God. GOT IT! Thank you JustME.

    • faithful123

      not sure why my comments appear double spaced. What am I doing wrong in my commenting?

  • Anonymous

    Are you copying your text in from a word document or do you type directly into the comment box?

    • faithful123

      I type directly to comment box; as I’ve done in past and double spacing never occurred.

      • Anonymous

        Hmm prayer might work…

  • Anonymous

    The stronger the temptations, the harder the devil is trying to prevent you from making progress.

    We will always be tempted…….to some degree, in this life else we would get really, really fat heads from thinking about how good we are! :) God knows the danger in this and allows the devil to tempt us in order that we stay on the narrow path.

    The only souls who don’t suffer from temptaion are those whom the devil knows are on a ‘downhill path’.

    • Anonymous

      Well said

  • Linda

    My life was much easier before I started spiritual direction. I didn’t see the pain that was deep within, or have to deal with it. The enemy pretty much left me alone, and now is very busy. The temptations are stronger than before, and towards worse sin. God is allowing me to be tested like never before, and is having to pour out His mercy often. I’ve learned what it means to be poor. Spiritual direction is not a love-fest, a “sit down and let’s talk about how wonderful Jesus and prayer is.” It is difficult and painful and messy. Many times I wished I never opened that Pandora’s Box and kept living a life of simple tepidity. It was less painful. But this much I know: in the midst of this hurricane is Jesus, and much more frequent reception of the Sacrament of Confession and Holy Communion. Regular Eucharistic Adoration. There’s a regularly-prayed rosary now, the value of which I never before understood. And poverty. Extreme poverty.

    • Mary42

       Linda take it from me you are on the right path.  Remember Christ told us. “Anyone who wants to be a disciple of mine must take up his cross (daily) and follow me.” Christ is our model.  There cannot be Salvations without the Cross. And just as He instituted the Sacrament of Reconciliation where we meet Him through the Priest, confess our sins and obtain absolution and Graces from Him, so does He guide and teach those who are really, really serious and determined to follow Him to have a good Spiritual Director through whom He Himself will guide us.  As Becky 313 reminds us, even the Holy Father has a Spiritual Director. We need to realize our route to Eternal Life is narrow, steep and full of Satan’s traps.  But Christ will ensure we shall reach home safely. With regard to obeying our Holy Mother Church no one need  lose the way.  We have the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Canon Law for the Laity and of course,the Holy Bible and the writings of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church and the rich, teaching Encyclicals from the Holy Fathers.  All these ensure we are never in doubt about  Christ’s Teachings and God’s Divine Law and what He expects from each and everyone of His sheep to obey and practice. Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life commissioned His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church to protect, preserve and proclaim His Teachings with total fidelity to all mankind – absolutely free from error -  until the end of time.

      • faithful123

         I agree Mary; we have to pick up our cross and follow Jesus.
        As I commented in another article somewhere, I came to 5 steps to carrying ‘the cross’ with Christ: In these steps is HIS LIFE.

        1. LIVE TRUTH. This amounts to remembering Jesus’ words He can do nothing except what the Father tells him. Jesus our model was teaching we who are also of flesh (as Jesus was) we can’t do anything without God.
        For such reason; Jesus provided A WAY for his own. A church, a sacramental life of His Presence in ‘weak us’ (Baptism thru Old Age)
        7 Sacraments though we won’t participate in ‘all of them’ logically.
        The main ones: Baptism, Eucharist aka Holy Communion, and Confirmation; then perhaps Marriage or Holy Orders, followed by the Anointing of our frail sick body as we age. (In between the grace of
        Sacrament of Reconciliation as the Spirit so calls us) ACCEPTING
        THAT WE ARE HUMAN AND IN NEED OF GOD is A TRUTHFUL
        LIFE LIVED… and ‘the world’ hates this truth that humanity is weak.
        STAY ‘IN’ the TRUTH of THE MYSTICAL BODY OF CHRIST.

        2. RISE ABOVE. Rise above the petty quarrels, arguing and bickering
        that abounds in this world. Keep busy with the work of the hands
        and do good. Less said the better. A cross because human nature
        by the weakness of concupiscence can’t see things from God’s
        perspective. Thus ‘there’s always something not right’ / it’s a cross
        to live amongst those who are nay sayers…prove them wrong and
        RISE ABOVE the earthly temporary stuff.

        3 FORGIVE FROM HEART TOUGHEST cross to bear. How easy
        if we could write off those who hurt us and not forgive. But if
        Forgiveness was granted us, so we must do likewise. Reconciliation
        might not ever be, but we have to LOVE ALL enough to PRAY for
        them to be safely brought to the kingdom also. Be kind to our
        enemies if they ask help of us, don’t bring up the hurt they
        said or did… more than likely they won’t remember it and you
        only open up another argument. NO ONE IS PERFECT and
        more than likely we were hurt only because at the time we were
        in need of that one’s love. IF GOD LOVES US, no other words
        can hurt.

        4. LIVE THE GOOD LIFE (that would be a life of humbleness as Jesus
        was humble. No boasting of accomplishments no seeking more
        than our hands at the moment can hold. Be content and take
        life one day at a time. Too many egos out there want to save
        the world and make it perfect (for themselves) Live and enjoy
        life ‘in the moment’ and be thankful for THE DAY and LIFE and
        whatever we do have. Any other needs – God will provide when
        the time is right.

        5. REMEMBER EMOTIONS are what make us human and I
        equate them as a ‘gift’ to keep us aligned to His Spirit. Like the
        warning light on the dashboard of a car, our emotions warn us
        something is amiss in ‘paradise’… the world uses human
        emotions for self purposes. We ‘control’ our emotions so as
        not to be like the world. We use our emotions to find solutions
        we don’t just get mad at another. Emotions can be a cross
        because the ‘worldly’ use our emotions to trip us up if we
        let them.

        • Anonymous

          Regarding being hurt by another’s words or actions we often hear, “Don’t let them have that much power over you!”  But for myself, try as I might, even with lots of prayer……….it always hurts.

          I offer the following from the Catechism of the Catholic Church # 2843, for any out there like me:
          Thus the Lord’s words on forgiveness, the love that loves to the end, (142) become a living reality. The parable of the merciless servant, which crowns the Lord’s teaching on ecclesial communion, ends with these words: “So also my heavenly Father will do to every one of you, if you do
          not forgive your brother from your heart.” (143) It is there, in fact, “in the depths of the heart,” that everything is bound and loosed. It is not in our power not to feel or to forget an offense; but the heart that offers itself to the Holy Spirit turns injury into compassion and purifies the memory in transforming the hurt into intercession.

          I cannot help but feel the pain………..this gives me an effective and holy way to deal with it.

          • faithful123

             I agree Becky. It is very hard not to ‘feel betrayed, hurt by words of others. Gender also comes into play. I think two guys rattle each other to test each others macho-ness and IF THEY JAB back… it’s OK… buddy,
            let’s have a beer and watch some football. 

            Females ARE different.

            #5 in my list, it’s ok in my opinion to ‘feel the hurt’ – the ‘pain’ but
            to take it to the one who FELT REAL PAIN… and remember his actions.
            Forgive, ‘they’ know not. (really most persons would stare back blankly if you called them on their words? it’s true people just TALK…they aren’t
            thinking of ‘how it’s heard’ / Turn the feeling around as He did on the cross.

            You are right on on turning injury to compassion. I had this thought on
            that word compassion. Break it down to two syllables: com and passion
            I’m not an english major but ‘com’ is put to words like com-mittee,
            com-munity com-pact…so I imagine ‘com’ must mean bring together
            PASSION…intensity of feeling be it suffering or love. Then think of
            THE PASSION of our Lord.  The cross brought him an intense
            suffering. INTENSE… and yet rather than take into himself (turn it
            inside) He LOOKED OUTWARD at others… with INTENSE LOVE

            That to me is the how we get compassion… it is bringing together both our own understanding of INTENSE suffering with THE INTENSE LOVE
            that is there for us (Christ) to feel more for the PAIN of the one doing
            or saying something – out of a sense of ignorance (know not’s)
            Forgetting what the action of this one did ‘to us’ we work to BRING THIS ONE THE LOVE and acceptance they really seek. Good parents do
            this all the time. No matter the tantrum and mean words kids sometimes say to parents in ‘selfish thought’ – a parent never holds it against their
            little one … why? They know ‘the child’ is not yet being reasonable but
            speaking purely from emotions. The adult; must be different.

            The adult will forget and hug their child the next day. In the case of
            those we sometimes must work with…sometimes those who are
            supposedly ‘above us’ in position… we should take solace that
            there but for the grace of God go I – that this one is always so
            angry. A trick to handle the words is to imagine yourself holding
            up a mirror in front of your face. Then, realize…the person this one
            is mad at – IS THEMSELVES… ain’t it funny. If they could see,
            they’d see they are yelling ‘at themselves’ … realizing they are,
            we can then compassionately calm them by asking awhile later;
            “what would you like me to do to make the going easier for you”
            (forgetting self and wanting them to think of you) It might get the
            communication flowing that wasn’t flowing.

            It’s hard because as humans, when we haven’t done anything
            wrong and we get ranted at (especially on an open work floor)
            We’ve been indoctrinated by the world that ‘gets away with yelling
            for rights and nice treatment’ to ASK for the same. Unfortunately,
            it is not reciprocal… and those who are treated special REALLY
            ARE NOT thought of as adult…by the persons where it counts.
            Take solace in that ‘unspoken understanding’ / management does
            understand and they expect MORE of ‘us’ in dealing with certain
            folks.

          • faithful123

             We expect the same ‘rights’ and ‘nice treatment’ that ‘the world’ gets when they ask for such. (demand such actually) Remember the scriptural warning: “If we were of the world, the world would love us…but God called us ‘out of that world’ … or rather God expects MORE of us… to glorify His spirit.  and ‘CORRECT, it is NOT easy… by any means’  Growth of spirit is a slow process.

        • Mary@42

           My dear, Faithful123. You see what I told you??  You are on the right path. Your response does not only reveal a very blessed soul connected to Christ,  but a very committed and a determined one to walk the slippery path of Salvation holding tightly on Jesus’ hand. As Dan commented, if you feel your Spiritual Director is wrong in a certain matter, pray for him.  Take it before Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament and then verify the correct Teaching of the Catholic Church on that particular issue and do the right thing.

      • faithful123

         Thank you Mary (and Becky313) for your words of encouragement. You help me see that ‘struggle’ isn’t wrong. In fact, if life seems too easy – we are probably on that broad and easy spiritual path. The ‘narrow road’ is
        THE ROAD! Funny isn’t it? Whatever we ‘think’ … where God is concerned THINK again!  Struggles are good ‘for a soul’

    • Mickie s

      Wow, you said what I feel exactly. I have been in Spiritual Direction for about 8 months and it is not quite like I thought. Things that I thought would be issues to talk about have not been and things that I thought were cut and dried have arose many a good discussion, that made me think. And like you, the enemy keeps making his presence known, in many temptations that really hit me hard. Thank you so much for your insites.

    • Cecilia

      My husband often tells me “if you’re in the enemy’s pocket, why should he bother you. Its only when one’s eyes are opened that one truly enters the battle.” Possibly some of us are trying to live what we see as good lives but in actuality are only “surfers” in the spiritual life. There has to come a point in one’s life, I believe, that the Lord steps in and calls us to become “deep sea divers” and go deeper. We always have a choice to say no to the invitation and to stay where we are but remember our goal is heaven not purgatory. Anything we truly want takes work, i.e., motherhood, fatherhood, 5K marathon, any type of educational degree. If we are willing to suffer and agonize over those goals shouldn’t we put in as much work or more for our eternal soul?

      • LizEst

        Thanks, Cecilia, for this great imagery. Indeed, even when one becomes a “deep sea diver,” there are “monsters” to contend with, things we can’t see above the surface or even in the shallow waters. But, there is beauty and peacefulness in drinking deeply of God’s love and mercy. It is worth the effort to “put out into the deep.” God bless you!

  • JustMe

    These questions may not be appropriate here, but they are questions that arise as I read the comments here.

    The people posting here talk about growth in the spiritual life as being on the narrow road to salvation.  Well, are the people that are doing the basics, like going to Mass once a week and generally not committing mortal sins (and going to confession if they do), on the narrow road to salvation too?  It seems that the  number of people honestly struggling to grow spiritually and to “be perfect as your holy Father is perfect” are very few.  So are they the only ones that get to heaven?  If everyone who does the minimum are going to heaven, they why does anyone do more than the minimum?  To avoid more “time” in purgatory?  To be rewarded with some sort of higher state in  heaven?  Why does the Holy Spirit call some people to work harder and grow more in virtue, and become more spiritually mature?  Or does he call everyone and only the few respond?  If you hear the call and ignore it, then is that worse than not hearing the call at all?

  • Anonymous

    Too many important questions to answer in a combox. Any one in particular more pressing to you?

    • JustMe

       The root question is the last one.  What is the effect of hearing the call to a deeper, more mature, spiritual life but choosing to ignore that call?  I don’t understand this call at all, and why anyone would respond to it.  Oh sure, in the beginning there are all sorts of consolations, but as others have noted it is not an easy path as you continue to progress.  So why do it?  It makes more sense for priests and religious to receive and respond to such a call, as the call has a purpose in their life.  But as a layperson, I find the call to be a nuisance and disruption to my life.  And I’m not trying to be disrespectful here, just honest.   Compare the faithful to  a college class.  Some will work with all their heart to get straight As.  Others will take it easier and get a B or C average.  Others will party for 4 years and get a D average or flunk out.  But, generally, they all succeed in life in one way or another after college days are over.  Over a lifespan,  being an A student in college did not confer any benefits (i.e. greater happiness) on the person compared to the ones that took college less seriously.  So, over a lifespan and into eternity, is there any real benefit to being a serious spiritual “student”.  It often seems that the main reason lots of people stay on the difficult spiritual path is because it stokes their pride, and so it all seems very self-defeating.

      • faithful123

         JustMe: the ‘A’, ‘B’ ‘C’ or ‘D’ college grads all succeed in life in one way or another? I think it would be a good thing to reflect (think) think hard on what you call ‘a success.’ If you can’t see the difference between the success of a college grad to a non college working person; God might be speaking to your heart. Maybe if you are in college; ‘the call’ is to leave
        it and go to a trade school Pray about it. How do you pray about such.
        1. quiet your mind of all distractions. (take a retreat where it’s just you)
        2. offer that question to the Holy Spirit and then open the bible pages.
        Ask the Spirit to speak within the verses you read. See if anything pops
        out with regards ‘that specific issue’ you have. “how do you wish me
        to serve others.” 
        3. Speak to your parish priest.

        No JustMe…PRIDE is not why people ‘found the spiritual life’ / well,
        actually in a way it is…but not their pride…more to counter the pride
        they see in ‘those in the world’ (pride of possessions, attaining
        fame and wealth, ‘killing’ for place and position in work environments.
        Pride of having that college degree and believing the world owes them
        so much.  There’s more to ‘being’ than to just pile up lots of wealth
        and power and status amongst fellow citizens. Sure, you can still
        have ‘stuff’ as a spiritual person; but there’s an inner peace that it’s
        not WHO you are. (and so if it’s not who you are – you are free to
        speak in truth of what really motivates your living. (called integrity)

        Interesting thought you write: ‘ I find the call to be a nuisance and disruption to my life.’ Write what disruptions living life in the spirit
        of God are (to yourself, in a journal or via MS Word electronic
        journaling.) Then; take the thought to a priest. (not necessarily
        a director..but just your parish priest…tell him honestly your questions
        why one should continue on the spiritual path of living for God.
        Envision a world where the emphasis was all on “I” and
        “success” of ‘stuff’ … (not hard to envision in this world) Envision
        a world that lives for ‘their choices’ (and what happens to life when
        ‘the one here already’ wins that choice) The Spirit of God can see
        beyond ‘thismoment’ the spirit of the self – sees only that which is
        right in front of them. Imagine living only moment to moment and
        seeing no consequences to choices because looking in the Spirit
        of God (other centered) is a nuisance to your life?

        a personal note: if you don’t live to grow in spirit, you remain
        ‘adolescent’ / maturity is maturity in Christ. Yes…that’s right. You
        have to ‘know Him well’ to understand. But; if you equate maturity
        with just having a college degree and a big paying job and a nice
        car … and you look at the guy over there without the college degree
        or the C level college degree who also has nice car, nice paying job,
        and house and see both as happy… you are looking only at the
        surface of living. Sure an A student and a C student in college can
        attain wealth and status in the world… AND THEN WHAT?
        Correct, to a point: if all you want from life is STUFF and can
        get it with good grades or without good grades…What’s the point?

        But it’s the spiritually mature that can HANDLE both the abundance
        when it’s there (not being egotiscal) and the times when the abundance
        is NOT there. You aren’t A SLAVE to an employer or a government
        welfare check. You live in accord to truth – you live not having to fear
        someone’s going to discover you did…….. (picture yourself a young
        child who was never corrected by parents because what would it
        matter – you will be who you are no matter if they correct or not;
        so they let you do anything you want.) (and you are just tossed
        about by every wave of fad, gimmick, get rich ‘schemes’ and it’s
        a vicious circle of unhappiness up down up down – you at the mercy
        of the mere mortal) Reflect on Phillipians Chap. 4 verse 11 – 13.

        If CHRIST is not ‘at center’ … you have a self centered way. If
        CHRIST is NOT  at ‘center’ in others… you will deal with those others
        looking out for numero uno. (and the end result, in such a world,
        EVERYONE loses) 

        Without CHRIST you can do NOTHING. So… following a spirit
        path to know Him better; might indeed mean giving up aspects of
        YOURSELF… Luke chapter 9 verse 23 – 24. But, if you don’t
        give up OLD WAYS of seeing… you remain as an infant who
        must depend on others. You are always ‘crawling’ like a child
        rather than walking in spiritual manhood. Independent adult.

        Speak to a spiritual director or priest…

        • JustMe

           You’ve missed my point in several places, but thanks for trying.  :)

          • faithful123

             So, I ask again: what is your point? You want specifics to: ‘ So, over a lifespan and into eternity, is there any real benefit to being a serious spiritual “student”

            “student” and “diciple” are really the same meaning. So, you are asking
            if there’s any real benefit to being a diciple (of Jesus, who directs our
            path)

            Is there benefit to eating, drinking anything one wants; smoking cigarettes
            or worse; and doing nothing but living for FUN for self?

            The benefit of the Go(o)d life:

            - an intuitive understanding ‘between the lines’ so as to not get fooled
            by the ‘schemes of the world’

            - a sense of worth of one’s own being, so as not to really be needy
            for acceptance.

            - a certitude of ‘knowledge’ that God is real.When you are at PEACE with yourself, relationships flourish.

            - over the course of a lifetime; if you stay close to him via the Sacraments; the answer will continually show itself to you.

          • JustMe

            You miss the point in that I’m not talking about a life with Christ versus a life without Christ.  Many people are very good Catholics, say their prayers, have other devotions, go to Mass every weekend, go to confession regularly,  but they do not seem to be called to a deeper relationship.  Or if they are, they are ignoring it.  I have talked to people like this and they are certain that they are doing all that God is asking of them with respect to their spiritual life.  They are coasting along where they are, assured that since they are good, honest, upright folks and they go to Mass every weekend, etc., that they are going to heaven.  And, for all I know, they are.  They are like the B and C students in my example.  So what could possibly be wrong in wanting to be like those people? Are these people ignoring a universal call to a deeper relationship, and if so, is that perfectly acceptable?

             A few people, however,  do really strive to be holy.  They work on their venial sins as if they were mortal sins.  They really, really work on their relationship with Christ.  I can sense it, but I can’t explain it.  But standing on the brink and looking into that, my will recoils.  My will says, “Nah, you’re doing good, don’t make this too much work.  It will be painful and fraught with pitfalls and won’t be worth it in the end. You’ll have a happy life and an eternity in heaven by staying right where you are.”  But my little soul is yearning to go, to get closer and closer, no matter what the price.

            And speaking of pitfalls, I was serious when I said that many people seem to continue along the spiritual life out of pride.  They do what they do out of love of self and out of pride and not out of love of Christ.  I can see it in their eyes and the way they act and the way they talk.   They multiply devotions and prayers, etc., but they stay in virtually the same spot, spiritually, year after year, decade after decade. Yet they feel that since they’ve done so much for so long, surely they have made progress.

            Virtues nourish vices. (I read that somewhere, I think it was in a Michael Casey book.)  You see, the spiritual life can be compared to a flower garden.  You prepare the soil carefully, set the flowers in with care, provide fertilizer and an irrigation system.  But what happens?  The exact same soil, fertilizer and water will feed every weed seed that blew into the flower bed.  And some don’t even look like weeds at first.  You’ll think “Hmm, did I plant that?  It has a pretty flower.  Its prettier than the geranium over there that isn’t even blooming yet.  I’ll leave it and see what it looks like later.”  And the tricky weed will sink its roots down, and quickly grow.  Its flowers turn to seeds overnight and spread all over the flower bed.  Then you’ll look and realize its a weed and try to hoe it out.  But the roots are so deep now, and the seeds have scattered.  You have much work to do.

            Whereas if you did not have such a carefully prepared flower bed, the flowers would not grow as well, but there is also less nourishment for the weed seeds.  They blow right over the hard ground in your flower bed and sink into the neighbor’s freshly hoed flower bed.  (The entire flower bed analogy is mine, I thought of it on the way to work today.)

          • faithful123

             Wow… I sincerely do love the analogy of the flower bed and the rich soil also producing weeds along with flowers. As someone once told me about one of my thoughts: “that is a GOD moment” (only the Holy Spirit could have brought such explanation to your mind; wouldn’t you agree?)

            And God sure does know about weeds and wheat. (you may have read that biblical passage) God surely does know His own and that even within his own church there will be doubters, betrayers, prideful types looking for position (James and ? Andrew was it who asked to sit on right and left of Jesus’ throne when they get to heaven) He knows the ‘heart’ of all.

            Good Catholics: say prayers regularly (at home) Grace before meals,
            say the Rosary occasionally, go to confession as the Spirit calls,
            attend Mass as obligated (daily work duties prevent daily Mass)
            but I ‘think’ I ‘hear you’ … other than all that, they are ‘just like’ any
            other person in the workplace. You can’t distinguish them from the
            atheist or the born again protestant – in the cubicle; right? They don’t
            talk of their faith like the born again protestant.

            You can’t tell the difference in them from ‘the world’ until you really
            get to know them – right? Seems you can’t get deeper in your faith
            life than doing all you say; AND not making a big deal of it to others.
            They responsibly take care of their duties and obligations to family
            and well they know if they were to speak ‘spirit’ in a secular work
            environment – they’d be ostracized or ‘bullied out of that job’ and that
            wouldn’t be doing their loved one’s much good would it? I think I wrote
            this to Becky313; we just have to hit the ball and get ‘on base’ ….
            we don’t necessarily have to SAVE THE WORLD from themselves.
            Recall the biblical passage of Lazarus the poor guy who begged
            while the rich guy never gave him anything. Lazarus wound up in
            heaven and the rich guy ‘down below’ in the fire. Rich guy said
            Please send Lazarus to warn my brothers so they don’t wind up
            here… The Lord said “they have the prophets, if they don’t listen
            to them; they won’t be convinced even if one were to rise from the
            dead.” We don’t have to wear our piety on our sleeve. We don’t
            have to reflect all the time (as I wrote Becky; too much introspection
            isn’t good)  Just LIVE THAT TRUTHFUL LIFE of Sacramental life
            and then go and work the work God gave us to work. Such an
            ordinary life.

            http://hbgdiocese.org/default.aspx?PageID=bf8c4151-c9f5-494b-b271-93957fa07526

            A ‘hidden’ ordinary life…like that of God incarnate. (the linked
            article says it best) but all He requires of us to be ‘extraordinary’
            and have a deep relationship is to live a GOOD LIFE. It seems
            like nothing to some. Such persons are just ‘coasting’ (it’s not
            coasting; it’s maturity: not falling for the baiting words of others
            who want to rile us up, not getting tense at the evils of the world
            that they have not been called to solve- but TRUST GOD and
            keep on working. (if they are called to run for political office
            they’d do so or called to consecrate their life as a deacon or
            priest they’d do so. All God wants of us is … ? FAITH IN
            HIM and then GO AND LIVE THAT FAITH.  Believe me, it
            used to be easier but these days… ‘the world’ is getting more
            brazen in trying to pull THE GOOD down to their level.
            C’MON… get mad ‘nyaaaaaah nyaaaaaa

            Just an ordinary life of prayer, fasting quietly when church
            says so or of one’s own mind without announcing it (as those
            do who stand on street corners as you hear read at Lent)
            Holy Communion weekly, Confession as called, married
            in the church and see to it children receive instruction in the
            faith when young, giving alms quietly (charity) not gossiping
            not griping.

            YES I HEAR YOU ALSO… in the church there are some who
            are SO DEVOUT.  Not a BAD WORD towards anything comes
            out of them.They practically wear a hair shirt and would go
            out to the desert to purify thier lives.

            I HEAR YOU ALSO…some folk want holiness and join every
            church committee and make sure Father sees thier devotion
            to the church.(I’m sure at daily work they make sure BOSS
            sees thier every good also) They are trying but they aren’t
            quite there yet.

            I misjudged your intent; you do take your spiritual life seriously
            if you are looking at those who are working harder at growth
            with more ‘seriousness’ (praying the liturgy of the hours’ or
            actively doing more penance for venial sins or reaching out
            a bit more to others than the ordinary Catholic – WHO IS
            GOOD for their state of life (duty to God, duty to family)
            and wondering somewhat perhaps to the slightly younger
            brother looking at the GOOD big brother with a AWWW
            DA-AAAAD … MO-OOOOOOM  do I hafta?  Perhaps that
            is ‘just you’ … looking and getting scared you aren’t doing
            enough.  So… PRAY… ask God to share where you can
            be ‘better’ … if He wants you to be more openly pious
            you’ll know… if he wants you to improve a bit in the spirit
            maturity area (more organized, more focused at work,
            better spouse or parent or whatever… maybe that’s what
            makes you cringe…

            I think we are all led to improve upon ourselves…
            trouble out there is many are pointing out the who’s
            wrong and who’s not and ignoring their own image.

            Don’t judge who’s coasting along and who’s working
            harder. Could be THE SPIRIT wants you to ‘do it just
            a bit better’ (never mind who’s doing what… could be
            GOD wants to lead YOU to a new area and you are
            reluctant to leave the comfortable existence you have.
            Could that be the root question? Pray and seek out
            a parish priest…

            I think I got your gist… GOOD QUESTION… GOD
            is always calling all of us to do more… but it’s not
            for ‘us’ (and I’m guilty also at times) it’s not judge
            who’s coasting and who is doing God’s will for
            the state of life they are at.  

            Did I help?

          • faithful123

             The effect of ignoring a call to improve where we are at? Since we can’t
            see more than a few feet before us (unlike God who is omnicient) The
            effects can leave a world a bit less happy. If the Wright Brothers were
            content to just fix bicycles and make their living; there would be no
            aircraft for a few more years (who knows how long) What other benefits to society would have not occurred. If someone is called to marry and
            chooses to remain single; how many new persons will not come to be
            and perhaps find a cure for a dreaded disease OR just make a neighbor
            happy when they shovel their driveway of snow (saving them a backache)
            You saw ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ I’m sure… look how a town changed because someone wasn’t there to act ‘in God’s will’ …

            I suppose that’s the effect of HEARING some whisper of a call to
            do something better and choosing to stay comfortable for self.

            TOUGH decision; I’ll say a prayer ‘for you’ (God will know who) and
            I do think you should speak to your parish priest.

          • faithful123

             God would not call us away from our current obligations. I don’t think so.
            So, discernment is important. If a father has a family to feed, he’s not going to call that one to give up a job to ‘save the whales’ or ‘be a missionary’ in Russia. I doubt that would be an authentic call.

            Most Catholics live ‘ordinary lives’ and are faithfully performing their
            Catholic duties. They make it look easy; because of the FAITH they
            have in who leads. But, lots of others could not just step into their
            shoes and do it as well. Not every person is called to marriage.
            Some women are meant to serve in ‘office work’ / some are
            called to teach, some to preach, some to be assistants…oh wait
            this too is a biblical passage. Find that verse and reflect on that
            one as well. God doesn’t expect more than we can give. (no,
            he doesn’t…if he calls; He ‘the boss’ believes we are up for the
            job and He will lead us ‘to it.’  That’s what I think. Profession
            or labor. Do it with a smile FOR HIM. (remember who we are
            working for) 

            From experience, I can say it’s getting harder because there’s not
            a lot of good spirited folk left. (everyone is wounded and grumpy
            and we walk on eggshells in office)  Not many know God, in my
            opinion. It’s strictly a money oriented world. Makes working hard.

      • Mary@42

        I am trying to understand  JustMe why you are so determined to deny God calls each one of us to serve Him where He wants us.  These are your worrying words. “I don’t understand this call at all, and why anyone would respond to
        it.  Oh sure, in the beginning there are all sorts of consolations, but
        as others have noted it is not an easy path as you continue to
        progress.  So why do it?  It makes more sense for priests and religious
        to receive and respond to such a call, as the call has a purpose in
        their life.  But as a layperson, I find the call to be a nuisance and
        disruption to my life.”  My view is that, yes, we have absolute freedom to reject God and remain in the world, chasing the so-called successes and pleasures of the world. Blessed John Paul II has written extensively about the dangers of secularization and the culture of worshiping the god of “me I and myself” which has gripped the civilized Western World.

         It is not only the Religious who have answered God’s calling.  We are called to serve God in all spheres of life. Beginning your day by praying the Prayer of Offering  will make all that you do that whole day one unending Prayer. I am surprised to hear you say these words about God’s Calling – which is actually an unmerited Grace from God – “I find the call to be a nuisance and
        disruption to my life”. If God’s call to you to serve Him even in your current life situation and occupation is a nuisance to your life, then do you need God at all in your life”  I would humbly advise you to discuss this opinion you hold so dearly about your relationship with God with your Parish Priest.  You need to take your Spiritual life and Eternal Destination more seriously. That which 
        you value so much now is transient.  And what you are finding a nuisance in the path to your Eternity. Read again and ponder what  Faithful123 is advising you. Do not trivialize the purpose for which God created you.

  • faithful123

     Dan is right, there’s lots of questions that can’t be answered per se in a combox on a website. But generally; and I was told this as well – don’t worry necessarily on where others are. We aren’t really our brother’s keeper. Not really. After a person is about 18 years of age, old enough
    to drive, work, earn a living, know responsible action from irresponsible
    action (providing they learned basics of obedience to good authority) Parental responsibility is not there. (debts can be on the 18 year old, the 18 year old can take a loan out (ideally but usually they need a co-signer for the first one)

    Not sure what ‘generally aren’t commiting mortal sin’ means. It’s either yes, a person is or no they aren’t. No ‘generally speaking.’ If you don’t
    know something is a mortal sin…it’s not a mortal sin. 3 prerequisites
    to that as you know: grave matter, sufficient reflection (one knows it
    is but does anyway) and full consent of the will. (FREELY being able
    to say yes or no without other influence, as I understand that)

    I think it’s true there are FEW on that narrow road, however…that to
    me is an important point…we should not presume ‘we are there’ or
    judge who is or isn’t. Judging hearts is God’s business. Actions we
    can judge. By one’s fruit do we know one another. Fruit aka results
    of living aka actions towards others. If we are good; it’s grace and
    nothing that we ourselves can boast of. So, we can’t presume we
    are ‘in’ at any point – for anyone of flesh can ‘fall from grace’ by
    presumption. “work out our salvation in fear and trembling”  Frequent
    reception of the Sacraments of Eucharist and Confession strengthen
    virtuous living. Live and Enjoy life by all means; but THINK before
    doing. At a young age the mistakes will be more than by the time
    one is 30 something (it’s hoped) Transforming our lives (maturing)
    takes a lifetime. It’s a process not a one time ‘stadium’ event of
    coming to the field to ‘accept Jesus’ (analogy, the first time riding
    a two wheeler, the ‘falls’ are more frequent but in time you just
    jump on and GO…without even seemingly thinking about the
    pedals, steering, speed, balance. Same with walking with Him;
    over a course of years…you get to know ‘your closest buddy’ so
    well…it’s hard to distinguish who is who… ‘thatclose’ a friendship
    WOW… it usually takes A LIFETIME of doing things RIGHT. But
    for each ‘right that honors God’ … not self; ‘sense how you feel’
    PEACE OR TENSE? big clue to the relationship growing right.

    Why do more than the minimum requirement if all that’s required
    is ‘the minimum’ to ‘get in’ to heaven … There’s the question for
    this site’s next article.

    Hope Dan doesn’t mind my thoughts here.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t mind… thank you for caring enough about others to take the time to respond.

  • Anonymous

    For Love!

    Would you want anyone to love you ‘part way’ or when it was convenient, or just when they remembered?  That’s not real love, and God wants 100% of our love.

    St. Therese of Lisieux tells us that in heaven we will all be perfectly happy and she provides imagery to help us understand the differences in how heaven will be for those who lived as saints on earth and those who did not.  The image is of glasses, like drinking glasses……we are the glasses and we will all be full………..some of us will be larger glasses and some will be smaller according to how much we loved and lived as God asked us to in this life.

    Another image (my own) is that of stadium seating…..like for concerts or sports events……..would you rather have front row seats with Jesus for eternity or ‘nose bleed’ seats? You’re in heaven either way……..

    The justice in this is that once we have died………..the devil will no longer be trying to deceive us by lying and telling us good is evil and evil is good, or that what we are doing isn’t really that big of a deal…….we will be stripped of all our excuses, rationalizations, and justifications, and will see ourselves and our life as God does.  Then we will choose whether we will go to heaven, to purgatory, or to hell, based on how we lived.

    The Church tells us what the minimum is……………this is because our ‘fallen nature’ makes it hard for us to see and know what is truly good for our soul…………the world drags us down and we are easily distracted.  But Jesus always taught taking the ‘high road’ and going the ‘extra mile’…..He lived what He taught.  Yes!  We can get into heaven by living the minimum, but eternity is a long, long time…………….I want to be a BIG glass!!

    One last thought……….the Church teaches about ‘The Universal call to holiness’.  This does, in fact mean all of us……..God does call each of us.  The question is whether or not we are paying attention or listening, and if we are………….are we willing to pay the price of being a true disciple (follower) of Christ.

    Few lay people have ever heard of the three stages of the interior life……. and if we have heard about it we usually think it’s meant for religious and priests…………….they are the ones who get ‘called’, right?  Nope!!  We are called too……………..this site and lots of other good resources are coming into existence to address this issue.

    As Catholics we need to learn what the Church really teaches…..and this is all contained in the Catechism of the catholic Church………..we need to take advantage of all the saints who have walked this path before us, and who teach us by their example how to deal with problems in our daily lives…….there are lots of saints who were married.

    We need to be actively SEEKING……..(thinking, pondering, wondering, and praying, genuinely from the heart)  If we are…………..we have The Lord’s promise that we will find Him.

    May God Bless us all on this journey!

    Here’s a link to a very good teaching on purgatory by St. Therese.

    http://www.franciscan-sfo.org/ap/litfwrpu.htm.

    • faithful123

       Nice thoughts; we should be actively seeking but ‘too much’ introspection isn’t always a good thing either. Go with the flow… God wants us to just get out there and ‘hit the ball’ (as moms and dads of ‘little leaguers’ understand) just hit the ball. Just get on base. No grand slams needed
      per se. Do whatever we can do FOR LOVE as you say. That’s all God
      wants. Authentic LOVE shown; He’ll handle the rest of our living – actually He did; His SON … Easter… Resurrection…because of it; we don’t have to do ‘all that much’ … just IMITATE His life. (which is easy yet not)

      He’s NOT asking us to be crucified, he’s not asking us to feed 5,000
      persons, he’s not asking us to make blind men see or paralyzed
      souls walk. Just ‘bloom’ where He plants us. Show mercy to others
      who ‘irk’ us; ie: sit and listen to old auntie or grandma talk of the old
      days; for one hour; if possible stay 2 hours…if she only asked for 1 hr.
      (That’s LOVE…even if initially it doesn’t feel like love but obligation,
      in time LOVE happens…that’s GOD) When working a job, don’t cut
      corners; do it with quality (it’s still appreciated) Don’t lean on the
      horn at the moment the light turns green, show a bit of patience
      maybe they had to glance for a moment at their kid in back seat,
      show ‘PATIENCE’ … this is GOD at work, a big order on check
      out line and someone has 3 items? hey; let them go ahead of you
      what’s a few more minutes in a store line in the big eternal picture.

      So we don’t zoom to the top of a profession, work ‘a job’ and do it
      well. If you have to have 3 or 4 jobs in a working lifetime…see it
      as learning a wide variety of new things and that God wanted you
      to ‘see as much as possible.’

      God takes ordinary folk and makes them great saints. And of
      course ‘the saints’ did not always start out in life on the right foot,
      St. Augustine for example. We don’t have to do GREAT and NOBLE
      THINGS here on earth. Just ‘little good things’ consistently.

      I believe St. Teresa of Lisieux said “in heaven there are seven
      mansions’ … But, I don’t think we need worry ‘where’ we are
      seated per se… if we are there, we are there…there’s no
      partiality with God… EVERYONE gets to SEE GOD perfectly.

      God judges by what we are capable of knowing (I think) and how
      much we strove to do ‘the best we were able to do’ (sloth is a
      capital sin… that would be THOSE WHO are capable of knowing
      much but ignored the learning of God completely) Then there’s
      those who know but are busy raising good family… they might
      not have time for ACTIVELY seeking in ways such as church
      volunteering or heading up committes or writing books or
      reading this website…

      But the simple act of keeping a house clean for the family,
      keeping everything in order so all in household feel ‘in order’
      and calm, cooking meals, playing with the kids, talking with
      the kids, helping kids with homework, taking serious work
      obligations to feed family; it’s ALL LOVE and that’s what
      God looks at. Yes, Sunday worship time is important;
      But… God might be merciful to those who didn’t fully understand
      why … MIGHT BE … this is in regards those other than
      Catholic faithful who don’t see Sunday worship as mandatory.
      GOD might be merciful IF they LOVED others in GOD LOVE
      and lived an honest humble life. 

      • Anonymous

        Dear Sister in Christ,

        I must respectfully disagree with you here.

        God wants to give us all ‘grand slams’!  He extends the invitation and waits for us to show that we aren’t willing to ‘settle’ with simply getting on base!  This is how the world thinks…..not God.

        There is a difference, a big difference, between knowing ‘about God’, and ‘knowing’ Him. The blessing to ‘know’ Him is the ultimate gift we can receive in this life and it is offered to all of us; we need be ready, (Like the wise virgins), to receive Him. This is what spiritual direction should be doing………..teaching us about the journey of the soul…..(Through the three stages of the interior life), helping us to identify where we are on that journey, (and yes it is important to know where we are, else we don’t know if/when we are making progress.), and helping us to continue, (Despite the persecutions and attacks of the evil one.), to make progress.

        God has chosen to reveal Himself to us as He wills, and He gives us the Church and the saints as lighthouse and lamp posts to guide us through this life and show us how it is possible to be ‘in’ the world, but not ‘of’ the world.  We must be very careful in advising souls about spiritual matters, even casually, because we may not know where they are on the journey, or what God is calling them to.  Failing to adhere to the tried and true practices and principles of the saints and the Church can have disastrous consequences.  Even the most favored and holy mystics agree on this.

        The God I know is a God of abundance.  He sets the bar high andexhorts us to reach for it because He knows how easily our fallen nature and the evil one can lead us astray.  All it takes for us to miss our distant target completely in the end, is to be a little off course in the beginning.  Until one has experienced God, had a personal encounter with Him, it is difficult to know what a huge tragedy it is for us to settle for getting by with the minimum.

        Thomas Merton said, “Be careful if you make friends with the Holy Spirit; He’ll ask you to die.” We are asked to give ourselves up to ‘spiritual crucifixion’……..dying to our ‘self’ in order to live in Christ.

        I’m not quite sure I follow what you mean by “too much introspection not being a good thing”, but we cannot find (or hear) God without making time for silence and solitude…..this is the teaching of the saints, and the church. Granted, there are examples of those who go to extremes, (and that’s not good), and few are called to a totally contemplative lifestyle, but generally speaking most souls don’t get enough solitude or silence to allow God to be heard.

        Jesus pointed out the importance of this when Martha was complaining about Mary sitting at His feet while she did all the work. “Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.”  We live in a world and society that Fr. John, from this site, rightly described as ‘an acid bath’, Archbishop Fulton Sheen is quoted to have said, “Dead bodies float downstream.”, and the Catechism defines sloth as, “A culpable lack of physical or spiritual effort; acedia, or laziness.”.  We cannotafford to ‘go with the flow’……….and why would we want to when so much more is offered to us freely?

        Our souls are disposed in one of two ways; to hear and accept Truth, or to reject it. If we are seeking the Truth, (which Jesus says is Himself.), sincerely, from the heart, we will begin to ‘gain our spiritual sight’ and we will not want to ‘get by with the minimum’.

        Interior Castles, (or mansions), was written by St. Teresa of Avila, who is also the first woman to be named a ‘Doctor’ of the Church.  The sevenmansions she speak of are levels or degrees of our interior relationship with God.  Her mansions correspond with the three stages of the interior life as follows”  Mansions 1 and 2 with the 1st, or purgative stage; mansions 3 and 4 with the illuminative stage, and mansions 5 – 7 with the unitive stage.  It was from her writings that I got my imagery of ‘stadium seating’ as she has communicated with someone, I think it was one of her nuns, after she had died, and she said that if it were possible, she would return to earth and re-live her worst moments over and over for years (or something to that effect) if she could love Jesus just a little bit more in this life. 

        Our efforts here on earth have eternal consequences!

        We study for years to get a degree, or work and train HARD in athletic endeavors, to learn a new language, or to play an instrument, but we don’t understand that it’s necessary, or aren’t willing to put forth the effort, to do the same for our spiritual life, and yet it has eternal ramifications.

        There is a whole BIG spiritual world as close as our breath that wecan experience in various (and fabulous) ways as God grants us the grace to do…..in this life! This is the ‘eye has not seen, ear has not heard’ that God has waiting for those who love Him. Far too few of us know that this is possible.

        Bloom where we are planted?  YES! Be happy changing diapers, washing clothes, and chauffeuring kids to various activities, OR getting up faithfully every day going to the same, perhaps boring, job to provide for our family? ABSOLUTELY! But do not be fooled into thinking that God does not offer ‘grand slam’ kind of encounters to each of us…..even within our daily routines.

        I included examples of what I meant by ‘actively seeking’ in the hope of avoiding misunderstanding.  When a soul is in love it will do everythingit can to please the one whom it loves. If we want to discover what it trulymeans to love God, (and we cannot love Him if we do not know Him), we need to be thinking about the gospels and how they apply to our individual lives TODAY…………we need to study and mull over the scriptures and teachings of the Church to make sure we understand them, and lovingly question God when we don’t ”get it”……(How can I possibly love you more than my own family?)…..we need to study the lives of the saints, and pray for God to show us what more He has in store for us.

        God wants us to go the extra mile; He wants us to try!…… and not be satisfied with mediocre.

        Do we not appreciate “the efforts” of our children who are diligent and maybe even cheerful in cleaning their rooms, doing their chores, and getting homework done, more than those of the ones we constantly have to watch, coax, and discipline?   I do……….and while I don’t love one more than another it makes me happy to see them do good things for the right reasons.  The same principle applies to the spiritual life.  God takesdelight in us and wants us to delight in Him….that boggles my mind, yet I know it to be true.  And I want others to experience this too!!!!!

        This is what we learn from the saints. Do we know that we are supposed to try to be saints? I didn’t know this for the first 47 years of my life. I was taught that the saints are our role models, we look up to them and try to be like them………….but I was never encouraged to try to be a saint. Quite the contrary, we were pretty much assured that it was not possible for us………this is simply not true; and how sad that little children, who, with their trust and innocence could be taught to have Jesus as a lifelong friend, are rather discouraged from trying.

        Let us, please, be cautious with the words we use here and not state ‘as fact’ things about our Most Holy God that are not in keeping with what Holy Mother Church and her saints teach us.  Although our intentions are good we don’t know what kind of harm we may unwittingly cause another.  One of the best things about this site is that it provides safe and reliable, fully orthodox catholic content; let us be accountable to one another, freely sharing our own thoughts, stories and struggles,  but advising nothingthat is contrary to the teaching of the Church. 
            

  • Anonymous

    Dear Sister in Christ,

    I must respectfully
    disagree with you here.

    God wants to give us
    all ‘grand slams’!  He extends the
    invitation and waits for us to show that we aren’t willing to ‘settle’ with
    simply getting on base!  This is how the
    world thinks…..not God.

    There is a difference,
    a big difference between knowing about
    God, and knowing Him. The blessing to ‘know’ Him is the
    ultimate gift we can receive in this life and it is offered to all of us; we
    need be ready, (Like the wise virgins), to receive Him. This is what spiritual
    direction should be doing………..teaching us about the journey of the
    soul…..(Through the three stages of the interior life), helping us to
    identify where we are on that journey, (and yes it is important to know where
    we are, else we don’t know if/when we are making progress.), and helping us to
    continue, (Despite the persecutions and attacks of the evil one.), to make
    progress.

    God has chosen to reveal
    Himself to us as He wills, and He gives us the Church and the
    saints as lighthouse and lamp posts to guide us through this life and show us
    how it is possible to be ‘in’ the world, but not ‘of’ the world.  We must be very careful in advising souls
    about spiritual matters, even casually, because we may not know where they are
    on the journey, or what God is calling them to. 
    Failing to adhere to the tried and true practices and principles of the
    saints and the Church can have disastrous consequences.  Even the most favored and holy mystics agree
    on this.

    The God I know is a God of
    abundance.  He sets the bar high and
    exhorts us to reach for it because He knows how easily our fallen nature and
    the evil one can lead us astray.  All it
    takes for us to miss our distant target completely in the end, is to be a little
    off course in the beginning.  Until one
    has experienced God, had a personal encounter with Him, it is difficult to know
    what a huge tragedy it is for us to settle for getting by with the minimum.

    Thomas Merton said, “Be
    careful if you make friends with the Holy Spirit; He’ll ask you to die.”  We are asked to give ourselves up to
    spiritual crucifixion……..dying to our ‘self’ in order to live in Christ.

    I’m not quite sure I follow
    what you mean by “too much introspection not being a good thing”, but
    we cannot find (or hear) God without making time for silence and
    solitude…..this is the teaching of the saints, and the church. Granted, there
    are examples of those who go to extremes, (and that’s not good), and few are
    called to a totally contemplative lifestyle, but generally speaking most souls
    don’t get enough solitude or silence to allow God to be heard.

    Jesus pointed out the
    importance of this when Martha was complaining about Mary sitting at His feet
    while she did all the work. “Mary has chosen the better part and it will
    not be taken from her.”

    We live in a world and
    society that Fr. John, from this site, rightly described as ‘an acid bath’,
    Archbishop Fulton Sheen is quoted to have said, “Dead bodies float downstream.”,
    and the Catechism defines sloth as, “A culpable lack of physical or spiritual
    effort; acedia, or laziness.”.  We cannot
    afford to ‘go with the flow’……….and why would we want to when so much more is
    offered to us freely?

    Our souls are disposed in
    one of two ways; to hear and accept Truth, or to reject it. If we are seeking
    the Truth, (which Jesus says is Himself.), sincerely, from the heart, we will
    begin to ‘gain our spiritual sight’ and we will not want to ‘get by with the
    minimum’.

    Interior Castles,
    (or mansions), was written by St. Teresa of Avila, who is also the first woman to be named
    a ‘Doctor’ of the Church.  The seven
    mansions she speak of are levels or degrees of our interior relationship with
    God.  Her mansions correspond with the
    three stages of the interior life as follows” 
    Mansions 1 and 2 with the 1st, or purgative stage; mansions 3
    and 4 with the illuminative stage, and mansions 5 – 7 with the unitive stage.  It was from her writings that I got my
    imagery of ‘stadium seating’ as she has communicated with someone, I think it
    was one of her nuns, after she had died, and she said that if it were possible,
    she would return to earth and re-live her worst moments over and over for years
    (or something to that effect) if she could love Jesus just a little bit more in
    this life. 

    Our efforts here on earth
    have eternal consequences!

    We study for years to get a
    degree, or work and train HARD in athletic endeavors, to learn a new language,
    or to play an instrument, but we don’t understand that it’s necessary, or
    aren’t willing to put forth the effort, to do the same for our spiritual life,
    and yet it has eternal ramifications.

    There is a whole BIG
    spiritual world as close as our breath that we
    can experience in various (and fabulous)
    ways as God grants us the grace to do…..in this life! This is the ‘eye has
    not seen, ear has not heard’ that God has waiting for those who love Him. Far
    too few of us know that this is possible.

    Bloom where we are planted?
    YES! Be happy changing diapers, washing clothes, and chauffeuring kids to
    various activities, OR getting up faithfully every day going to the same,
    perhaps boring, job to provide for our family? ABSOLUTELY! But do not be fooled
    into thinking that God does not offer ‘grand slam’ kind of encounters to each
    of us…..even within our daily routines.

    I included examples of what
    I meant by ‘actively seeking’ in the hope of avoiding misunderstanding.  When a soul is in love it will do everything
    it can to please the one whom it loves. If we want to discover what it truly
    means to love God, and we cannot love Him if we do not know Him, we need to be
    thinking about the gospels and how they apply to our individual lives
    TODAY…………we need to study and mull over the scriptures and teachings of
    the Church to make sure we understand them, and lovingly question God when we
    don’t ”get it”……(How can I possibly love you more than my own
    family?)…..we need to study the lives of the saints, and pray for God to show
    us what more He has in store for us.

    God wants us to go the
    extra mile; He wants us to try!…… and not be satisfied with mediocre.

    Do we not appreciate
    “the efforts” of our children who are diligent and maybe even
    cheerful in cleaning their rooms, doing their chores, and getting homework done,
    more than those of the ones we constantly have to watch, coax, and discipline?   I do……….and while I don’t love one more than
    another it makes me happy to see them do good things for the right
    reasons.  The same principle applies to
    the spiritual life.  God takes
    delight in us and wants us to delight in
    Him….that boggles my mind, yet I know it to be true.

    This is what we learn from
    the saints. Do we know that we are supposed to try to be saints? I didn’t know
    this for the first 47 years of my life. I was taught that the saints are our
    role models, we look up to them and try to be like them………….but I was
    never encouraged to try to be a saint. Quite the contrary, we were pretty much
    assured that it was not possible for us………this is simply not true; and how sad
    that little children, who, with their trust and innocence could be taught to
    have Jesus as a lifelong friend, are rather discouraged from trying.

    Let us, please, be cautious
    with the words we use here and not state ‘as fact’ things about our Most Holy
    God that are not in keeping with what Holy Mother Church and her saints teach
    us.  Although our intentions are good we
    don’t know what kind of harm we may unwittingly cause another.  One of the best things about this site is
    that it provides safe and reliable, fully orthodox catholic content; let us be
    accountable to one another, freely sharing our own thoughts, stories and
    struggles,  but advising nothing
    that is contrary to the teaching of the Church.
     
    Perhaps we do not feel called to go the extra mile, so be it, but let us not place obstacles in front of our brothers and sisters who may.

     
     
     

    • faithful123

      Thank you Becky for Elaborating on my words. I agree with all of it. It’s very hard to ‘be exact’ in our human words on what we want to put forth.

      You actually were seeing my point when I said “too much introspection isn’t always good” I merely put the human words down; it is for all to
      discern them in accord to the Spirit; and ask quesions of Spiritual
      Directors or Confessors. Of course, none of us should take mere
      human words ‘as is’ … all human words fall short. That’s why we discern,
      reflect, think and ask questions. In this is a soul ‘actively seeking’ as
      compared to those looking for a quick way to success.

      As you ‘thought it out’ you corroborated my thought: ‘there are examples of those who go to extremes, (and that’s not good), and FEW are called to a totally contemplative lifestyle. (SEE…that’s what words do, they
      bring us to THINK…yes, there’s some truth here…but WHAT DOES
      GOD WANT OF ME? Spend my days behind a monastery wall or
      get out there and sell burgers and fries to the masses? (as in your
      Martha and Mary example; it’s whatever CALL we hear…

      In my reference to God not necessarily caring if we don’t hit a
      grand slam of ‘holy living’ … this was not to say we should never strive
      for perfection. Again, it’s important that after someone speaks thier
      human thought we do STOP and see what the SPIRIT has to share
      on those words. What’s the SPIRIT meaning? It means don’t get so
      tense out there on the ‘playing field’ that we do ‘nothing’ (as in the
      parable of the talents… one played it safe and buried the one talent;
      at the very least put it in a bank… get interest; was the admonition
      but don’t DO NOTHING with it. OF COURSE we should STRIVE
      for PERFECTION… always; but don’t be scrupulous and don’t be
      so ‘holy’ that we ‘turn others away’ from A GOOD WAY.  Eat and
      laugh and enjoy – as you say ‘being in the world’ but upon closer
      look to those who care to know us better; they see we are not
      quite the same as ‘the world’ / our external success or our external
      failures may hide THAT GRAND SLAM ‘saint in the making’ / I guess
      I just meant .. .just do – something. We won’t know til fully called back
      home…how well we really did. Just LOVE HIM as best we can; don’t
      push too much for His friendship.

      I agree with you – God in his wisdom does not reveal all things to us
      all at one time. Imagine if a toddler had the wisdom of a 60 year old
      man?  As we grow IN HIM… He reveals those SECRETS to THE
      GOOD LIFE …and what a JOY when we fully understand. But we
      shouldn’t ‘worry too much’ as to when it comes… just go about
      enjoying THE LIFE HE has given us. That’s what God wants to
      see most. He wants to see us HAPPILY ENJOYING LIFE…
      and getting along with everyone.

      Yes, it’s good to visit Him on Sunday or any day, to ‘talk’ (pray)
      but it’s also been said pray without ceasing… so I guess as
      long as we are doing our best FOR GOD (biggie thought here)
      If we are doing OUR BEST for LOVE OF GOD … God is pleased
      and will continue to reveal more and more of who He is as He
      chooses and when He chooses.

      I agree with the spirit behind your words; in fact we are saying
      the same ‘in spirit’ …

      • faithful123

         Words of others bring us ‘to think’ (introspection) … that was my point
        it’s not always necessary to be alone in the ‘introspective’ reflective process Yes, some silence at end of day is good for a soul to recharge;but sometimes the ‘active seeking’ is found in ‘activity’ with
        God’s others. (His spirit naturally flows to us; as we listen to the words
        of others…and we naturally understand even in the most poorly spoken
        words what the other means – in spirit) I believe there’s a saying that
        goes to those of faith no explanation is necessary to those without faith
        no explanationn will suffice.

        It’s the SPIRIT that brings understanding to our ‘inadequate words’

        We should never be ‘afraid’ to speak… for fear others won’t understand
        or be confused. We should speak; in confidence of God.  When
        God wishes He will bring the understanding (as you said)

        Reference parents who speak of experiences to teens and it seems
        they ‘get nothing from the words’ AND THEN suddenly… at the most
        appropriate time … THE LIGHT GOES ON… (human words plus
        prayer plus THE SPIRIT interceeding in our words)

        We are saying the same Becky313

        • faithful123

          heart of a servant? Like that of ‘in title’ admin. asst. in an office setting?
          By occupation, that is what I love best. (not a high wage position by any means; but I loved assisting administrators so they could better serve in their positions) filing, typing, setting up forms, creating fliers (I have an
          art school background) photocopying, faxing, sending mailings, filling
          coffee machine, assuring things are in order. SERVING is what I like.

          I’d love to just do it quietly and go home. (I was bullied out of my
          entry level position as such)

          I’m not a fighter, sometimes I think I’m a wimp…but generally I can
          speak up better than when in high school. Speak up ‘nicely’…
          Getting heard – in a ‘ego’ world…is the difficulty.

          • Becky Ward

            Yes.  Like that.  The devil tempts us in opposition to the grace/virtues God has given us.  (I recognize some of my own in you.) What especially triggered this memory of the ‘heart of the servant’ is the many references you’ve made to ‘being a doormat…or letting people walk all over you.’  My formation director/Spiritual Father used that term ‘doormat’ as he shared a story about a friend who was suffering terribly…..his marriage was troubled, he had trouble at work…….people always telling him how this should be or that should be.  (And he was the boss.)  Anyway, once he realized that in his heart he wanted to serve, but was tempted to do just the opposite……..by wanting everybody to listen to him (instead of listening more to his employees, wife, pastor, etc..)….and to have others do things for him, (instead of serving…..)…temptations to ‘do it his way’ (when he could easily give preference to another…)…to put his needs before others (when that’s the direct opposite of what his heart told him)((maybe like the voice that tells you you’re a wimp?))    Anyway, this guy goes to work one morning and brings the coffee pot and serves the nastiest woman in the building (whom he knew loved her coffee.)……..then he went around emptying all the garbage cans, and doing other “menial” work.  Everybody fell in love with him as the best boss ever!!  And he found peace because he was living according to the plan that God was calling him to. 

            I can’t tell you how many times during my formation I said, “But surely there’s a time when praying isn’t enough!  Somebody needs to DO something…….or SAY something.  This isn’t right!!”

            Nope………..I needed to pray more, listen more to others, and really, truly, reflect (Like a cow chewing its cud) over and over, on these things that were bothering me.

            I too found peace…….and I believe that this is more than the ‘calm’ you mention ……….because it’s HIS peace………nothing I earned, except maybe by learning to keep my mouth shut (more around my family than anywhere else, because I’d quit my job.) but even that was possible only through God’s grace…..pure gift.

            Now I know that when things start buzzing in my head……and I’m feeling like I’m getting ready for battle……even just verbally……I need to back off, find a quiet spot (in Adoration whenever possible) and wait until I can hear what Jesus is saying through my heart.

            This whole ‘Interior Life’ is fascinating!!  I am dumb-struck that we don’t hear more about it……….but am also realizing that we ARE in a new time for the Church……maybe that “New Springtime’ that Blessed JP II spoke of and it’s exciting to be on the front-lines.  This website, and other organizations are doing a lot of good work with the laity; and that’s important because the devil has been busy, busy, busy, (have you heard the acronym for busy? – - Buried Under Satan’s Yoke!), and there are a lot of misguided, mis educated souls teaching and leading in the Church……in some places…….teaching us that things are different now……and promoting outright lies…but then satan is the father of lies so we should probably expect this. 

            This is getting too long……bottom line; we need to make sure that the faith we believe is really what the Church (headquarters in Rome) teaches…….and not a watered-down or sugar-coated version of it. But how do we know????

            If you want to learn more here’s a link to the DJM Formation Program that I have been through.

            http://www.disciplesofjesusandmary.org/whatIsDjm.html

            Our problem is that we think God needs our help!! And yes, in a way He does need us as instruments to do His will……but it’s usually not quite how we picture it! :)

            Blessings………..

          • judeen

            really really like what you said.. the frustration of temptation of emotions..  and the power of love..  to stand up for the truth.. what God really wants us to live.. beyond our feelings and emotions…    to many churches has people in charge that have not faith… and dont even practice the sacrament of confession , yet they have say about what is going on in church… ! do you see anything wronge with this?  thanks for sharing will check out the site.

      • faithful123

        Our external success or our external failures may hide THAT GRAND SLAM ‘saint in the making’ / I guessI just meant .. .just do – something
        while in the world. We can’t really worry while here how God sees our
        ‘little acts’ / What to us looks like nothing, God who knows us through
        and through would think we ‘fed 5.000′ with a few fish and 2 loaves.

        It’s the intent of our heart. The purity of our intention. Did we do a
        great act of good and then hire a PR agent to spread the news? God
        won’t be so impressed. (it’s all us) but suppose we quietly went up
        to a co-worker and said “nice job you did with…..”  and they smiled
        and said “thank you” / to our mind there was nothing special in that,
        BUT TO GOD…WOW… that came from this person? What a proud
        Father he’d be. “this shy little one went and did that?”  Then there
        are those who call together 150 of their closest friends for a backyard
        barbecue… and have a banquet table of good food and gives everyone
        a great time. Yes, it is generous and God might be pleased with that
        as well. – but

        We don’t know which was harder for the mortal being. Taking an
        abundance from one’s savings and having a party or saying “nice
        job you did on…………” to someone at work. 

        Just do something … and don’t worry of the outcome. It’s not
        about us and there’s NOTHING we can do to that can out-give
        God. God is the one who makes the GRAND SLAMS… from
        our ‘little’ (I guess that’s what I want to say) Just hit the ball,
        get ‘on base’ … and do ‘whatever’ we can … THE OUTCOME
        is all WITH GOD.

        and you are correct Becky; we have to be careful about giving
        spiritual advice, if someone comes up to ask about a matter
        that is concerning their eternal destiny it is important to point
        them to a priest. No guessing or shrugging it off. And of
        course offer to pray for them in the decision.

      • Marg

        very well put! very insightful read.

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  • Cecilia

    Thank you, thank you for “what is & is not Spiritual Direction” I have downloaded these words & intend to hand them to all who request instruction. For some reason, some folks believe S.D. means to become their conscience. The Holy Spirit is left out as though He doesn’t exist & there is no understanding for the phrase “take this to your personal prayer time.” A friend of mine said that she will not even try to direct another unless that person has personal prayer in their lives because there is really nothing to direct if this doesn’t exist.

    • http://www.rcspiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

      Funny you should say this. My first intent behind my book is to help directees get more out of spiritual direction. My second is that directors would have potential directees read it so that the directee really had an understanding of what they are asking for and their responsibility in the process.

      • http://rcspiritualdirection.com/blog Mary@42

        Well, Dan. If that is what inspired you to write this Book, the Holy Spirit certainly is the Author of this Book…..and I mean that with all my heart. Just what I need as I wait upon Him to give me a new S.D.

        • LizEst

          Still praying for you and this intention! God bless you Mary.

  • http://rcspiritualdirection.com/blog Mary@42

    Dan, no sooner do I go on some Divine Mercy Excursions and then come to find such wonderful, educative and informative responses from our Family that I am forced to set a whole day apart to catch up. God bless you all, the RCSD Team and our Worldwide Family.

  • LizEst

    Glad to know the book is still on schedule. Thank you, Dan, for keeping all of us updated. God bless you.

    • http://www.rcspiritualdirection.com/ Dan Burke

      Pray!

      • LizEst

        Praying!

  • Becky Ward

    Awesome!!  :)

  • http://rcspiritualdirection.com/blog Mary@42

    JustMe, I have been sort of tied up and off my beloved Laptop and Website, but your comments disturbs me. I would very humbly just ask you one little Question, hoping you will think about it HARD ENOUGH and reply it to yourself:

    What is your life is the MOST IMPORTANT GOAL YOU WISH TO ACHIEVE before you come before the Seat of Judgement of God to account to Him what you did with the Greatest Gift of Life He freely gave you out of His Unfathomable Love for you?????

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