Where to Start?

Posted on May 24th, 2017

​Alison Christian writes about ‘taking the message of spiritual direction out to the parishes so that people can learn that God is interested in their individual soul situations’.

“God carries each person along a different road, so that you will scarcely find two people following the same route in even half their journey to God.” John of the Cross

I read this quotation for the first time in “Things Hidden: scripture as spirituality,” by Richard Rohr. He goes onto say, “This is probably why so many are seeking spiritual directors today, because the generic advice from the pulpit cannot call or challenge many, if not most, of our individual soul situations.”

Although many people ask for spiritual direction, there are many more people who know virtually nothing about it or how it could help them. There are many Christian people who get all their teaching from the Sunday sermon and the hymns they sing, knowing little about prayer or how to read their bible. Many feel the lack and turn away from church going altogether because it simply doesn’t scratch where they itch. The situation the Church finds itself in is no one’s fault. It is structural and cultural. I was for twenty years a parish priest and had many congregation members who knew little more than Sunday worship.

This is why we need to start working in a pro-active way. We need to start taking the message of spiritual direction out to the parishes so that people can learn that God is interested in their individual soul situations. But this doesn’t just mean going out and talking about it, although there will be a bit of that. What it means is creating unthreatening but gently challenging conditions locally for people to taste for themselves what spiritual direction is all about. Jesus modelled caring for individual soul situations (spiritual direction) to his disciples and then sent them out. It’s a pretty good template.

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