VATICAN CITY, MAY 19, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Anyone who wants to live their baptism responsibly should have a spiritual director, says Benedict XVI.
The Pope affirmed this today when he addressed members of the Pontifical Theological Faculty Teresianum. The faculty was founded in 1935; the audience with the Holy Father was part of the institute’s celebrations of its 75th anniversary.
Benedict XVI reflected on the Carmelite institute’s emphasis on spiritual theology in the framework of anthropology. He said that in today’s context, studying Christian spirituality from its anthropological foundations “is of great importance.”
The Pontiff recognized that an education at the Teresianum not only prepares students to teach this discipline, but has an “even greater grace” in that it gears students to “the delicate task of spiritual direction.”
“As she has never failed to do, again today the Church continues to recommend the practice of spiritual direction, not only to all those who wish to follow the Lord up close, but to every Christian who wishes to live responsibly his baptism, that is, the new life in Christ,” the Pope stated. “Everyone, in fact, and in a particular way all those who have received the divine call to a closer following, needs to be supported personally by a sure guide in doctrine and expert in the things of God.”
The Holy Father noted how a spiritual guide helps ward off subjectivist interpretations as well as providing the counseled with the guide’s “own supply of knowledge and experiences in following Jesus.”
He likened spiritual direction to the “personal relationship that the Lord had with his disciples, that special bond with which he led them, following him, to embrace the will of the Father (cf. Luke 22:42), that is, to embrace the cross.”
The Bishop of Rome urged the Teresianum students to “make a treasure of all that you will have learned in these years of study, to support all those whom Divine Providence will entrust to you, helping them in the discernment of spirits and in the capacity to second the motions of the Holy Spirit, with the objective of leading them to the fullness of grace, ‘until we all attain,’ as St. Paul says, ‘to the measure of the fullness of Christ.'”