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Spiritual Director or Shrink? How Does One Discern? (Part I of II)

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Dear Fathers, Brothers, and Sisters,

 I have long been dealing with a deep sadness and lack of joy in life.  The vortex of emotional suffering seems to revolve around my unanswered prayers for a spouse and romantic love, but when I look at myself honestly I see that I am not selfless enough to have been a good wife.

 I pray that the Lord changes my heart, and makes me a better person, and I am trying to curb my faults.... Read More

Am I Too Much Work for God?

June 23, 2014 by  
Filed under Challenges, Featured, Fr. Bartunek, Spiritual Direction

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I have a hard time accepting that God loves me just the way I am. I experienced abuse growing up, and lived in a very dysfunctional family. My son had cancer and chemo at the age of 13. I married an emotionally, religiously abusive husband. I have a hard time knowing and accepting God accepts and loves me. I feel like maybe I am too much work, even for God. Can you help me? It’s understandable to have those feelings – they... Read More

How does one Receive what God Wants to Give?

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Dear Fr. John, thank you for “The Better Part“. I have kept up with all days following the calendar in the back. I treasure this book as it “lives” at my bedside ready to nourish and inspire. I especially have benefited from the entries where a figure from Scripture speaks in the first person. I write because my search for a remedy for a life-long spiritual matter has reached a dead end. The answer I already... Read More

Sayings of Light and Love #43

April 12, 2014 by  
Filed under Challenges, Dan Burke, John of the Cross

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Bear in mind that your flesh is weak and that no worldly thing can comfort or strengthen your spirit, for what is born of the world is world and what is born of the flesh is flesh.  The good spirit is born only of the Spirit of God, who communicates himself neither through the world nor through the flesh. Saint John of the Cross More “Sayings of Light and Love” About Dan BurkeDan is the founder of Catholic Spiritual Direction,... Read More

The Two Trajectories of the Soul

February 5, 2014 by  
Filed under Challenges, Dan Burke, Spiritual Direction

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There is a troubling phenomenon noted by several Doctors of the Church regarding the common waning of spiritual development after a period of progress. It often happens after a fervent soul makes notable gains against habitual mortal and then venial sin. It can also happen on the back side of any virtue based victory. The soul becomes satisfied with itself and then reaches for the cruise control button to relax at a pace that seems... Read More

I Can’t Find a Spiritual Director Loyal to the Magisterium

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Q: Dear Fr. John, I have read Dan’s book, Navigating the Interior Life, and have diligently followed all of his suggestions for how to find a spiritual director. Frankly, I am frustrated to tears writing this to you. I have not found a director who actually believes the teachings of the Church. In fact, I have met with several priests and laypeople. Every one of them, to a person, disagrees with Humane Vitae, and they all are... Read More

Does emotional suffering hinder spiritual growth?

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Q: Dear Dan, since many people may suffer from some level of emotional immaturity due to childhood experiences, what effect does this have on becoming spiritually mature? Problems such as shyness, depression, lack of self-confidence, sensitivity to criticism, etc. affect trust in God and being able to benefit from spiritual direction.  What advice would you give those are in such a situation who are seeking spiritual direction... Read More

Should I pay my spiritual director? A lay spiritual director responds.

Dear Friends, after I posted “Should I pay my spiritual director?” a reader sent me a note that I though would provide some important perspective on this matter. This came in response to negative comments regarding the idea of spiritual directors receiving payments for their services. Here’s her note: I find myself called to be a lay spiritual director, yet my husband and I struggle on one income to make ends... Read More

How can I determine if a spiritual director is faithful to the church?

Dear Dan, I am hesitant to go to a local priest for spiritual direction because I am worried about his submission, or lack of submission to the Church. He is a good priest but he has made some confusing comments about abortion and a few political topics etc. Are there simple questions I can ask and a way to ask (that would not be offensive) to help me determine if a particular priest or lay person (a potential spiritual director)... Read More

Can a friend be my spiritual director? Is anyone ever too old to be in spiritual direction?

May 5, 2012 by  
Filed under Challenges, Dan Burke, Perspective, Spiritual Direction

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Dear Dan, I’ve been going to spiritual direction for several years with a good friend. At her suggestion I have recently begun seeing a Catholic counselor to deal with issues from my past which have made it difficult for me to progress spiritually, to trust God, etc. Actually she insisted that I must see a counselor if she was to remain my SD. I was heading this way anyway, however, I was stunned and hurt by the way she presented... Read More

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