Spiritual Direction is NOT Spiritual Reading
Spiritual reading is the practice of quietly reading and reflecting on a text that can help us better understand how to love God and others. Though this is most definitely an important practice it is not the same or even a good replacement for spiritual direction because it lacks the third most important element (besides you and the Holy Spirit)… a person who, in this present life, can help you understand God’s work in your life! This may seem obvious but in hundreds of conversations (particularly on the internet) when the idea of spiritual direction comes up inevitably a well-intentioned and otherwise knowledgeable Catholic will offer book suggestions for “spiritual direction.” This occurs because, as with most people, the person is unaware of the historic definition of terms and translates the phrase “spiritual direction” to mean the same thing as spiritual navigation, trajectory, or something similar. Though spiritual reading can help us improve the spiritual trajectory of our lives, it is only a substitute for the real thing if there are no other alternatives.
This is an excerpt from Dan’s book Navigating the Interior Life – Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God. To learn more, click here.
Art for this post on how spiritual direction is not spiritual reading: Christ and Saint Mina [or Menas], iconographer unknown, 6th-century icon from Bawit, Egypt, PD-US author’s life plus 70 years or less, Wikimedia Commons.