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Catholic Spiritual Direction

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

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

Holy_Sepulchre_cross

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

Should I be looking for another spiritual director?

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Dear Father John, I was wondering if you could give me a bit of perspective. I recently asked a director to help me in my discernment of religious life.  After he agreed I wrote out a summary of the context for my perceived call along with a list of my vices/faults, graces/strengths, etc. The arrangement was that after reading the letter, we would talk, with the idea that I would write emails every week or two, and we would... Read More

Top ten reading list for spiritual directors (Updated – 2013)

Old Books featured

Dan, now that you mention technical books on spiritual theology… I’m wondering what would be your top 10 list of books in that area. I’m especially interested in books that would be helpful for a priest that would like to engage more seriously in spiritual direction, or books that you would recommend to a seminarian or for a seminary course in the area of spiritual direction. I would appreciate your input. Dear... Read More

Does emotional suffering hinder spiritual growth?

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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 but... Read More

Spiritual Direction is NOT A One Time Emergency-Room Event

September 25, 2012 by  
Filed under Dan Burke, Perspective, Spiritual Direction

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Under normal circumstances, spiritual direction should not be akin to an emergency room visit. Spiritual direction is better likened to a wellness program or a long-term exercise and diet commitment that will result in maximum health. Even though there are plenty of appropriate emergency calls into spiritual directors, the healthiest calls typically occur within the context of an ongoing spiritual direction relationship. In general,... Read More

Spiritual Direction is NOT Just about Prayer… or Action

September 20, 2012 by  
Filed under Dan Burke, Navigating, Perspective, Spiritual Direction

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Though this form of direction doesn’t belong fully in the “this is not spiritual direction” category, it can reflect an immature form of direction that is not likely to yield the growth that comes from a more balanced approach. Love for God in the form of prayer or adoration could very well be a false love if it does not result in tangible expressions of love for those around us. The converse is also true. If we give our... Read More

Spiritual Direction is NOT a “Just Me and Jesus” Effort

September 14, 2012 by  
Filed under Dan Burke, Navigating, Perspective, Spiritual Direction

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Those that struggle with self-disclosure or a lack of understanding of the definition and benefits of spiritual direction sometimes end up in this comfortable but dangerous trap.  As we will discuss later, God has chosen to use human instruments to shape, mold, and bring us closer to him.  This is because it can be very dangerous to direct oneself; the devil lurks in that ‘blind spot’ and waits to attack; others can see... Read More

Spiritual Direction is NOT Psychological Counseling

September 12, 2012 by  
Filed under Dan Burke, Navigating, Perspective, Spiritual Direction

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The psychological and physical aspects of our souls impact our spiritual lives. There is no easy way to extricate these realities from one another.  Yet, just as you would not go to a spiritual director for physical therapy, it is also unwise to attempt to deal with deep psychological issues with a spiritual director (at least not one who has not received special training in both fields). It is true that the state of our spiritual... Read More

Spiritual Direction is NOT a Catholic Self-Help Program

September 6, 2012 by  
Filed under Dan Burke, Navigating, Perspective, Spiritual Direction

OjcowieKosciola_Bazyli_Wlk_Jan_Chryzostom_Grzeg_Wlk_XVII_Lipie_pCrop

The tendency toward self-sufficiency, self-reliance, and self-centeredness in our culture is perhaps one of the most damaging to souls. Unfortunately and inevitably, these diseases tend to bleed into the spiritual life. What we do need is to break the pattern of a false boot-strap spirituality that often results in self-delusion and spiritual atrophy. As St. Bernard once said, “He who constitutes himself his own director becomes... Read More

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