Can you imagine traveling for miles through the wilderness just to hear a concise word of counsel that summarizes God’s will for you in your current situation? Historically, even the best of saints recognized the need for a spiritual director to help them enter the depths of their inward journey. They went to great lengths to meet with one who was highly regarded for their ability to discern spirits.
WHY DO I NEED A SPIRITUAL COMPANION?
The concept of seeking a spiritual director also applies to contemporary spirituality. Today’s Christian still seeks to experience an interactive relationship with God that gives purpose and direction to their life. Spiritual direction gives sacred significance to our concrete daily life experiences. Its concern is not just with spiritual life, but with the whole person and the interrelationship of all aspects of life.
The difficulties of facing life alone can break the spirit of anyone. It makes us vulnerable to our inner enemies. Supportive friends and healthy relationships provide necessary solace. The way the Spirit bestowed gifts ensures interdependence within the body of Christ. No one possesses all abilities and no one can hear the whole counsel of God in isolation. If we admit our need for others, trust them and reach out to them, we gain added strength, wisdom and protection to fend off the enemies that produce stumbling blocks in our life.
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR IN A SPIRITUAL COMPANION?
Begin to arrange your spiritual direction relationship by prayer. After bringing your desire to engage in spiritual direction to God, rest patiently for him to work this into your life. Obey the Spirit’s invitation to speak to a director or make arrangements with them. The relationship can become formalized, or not. Kingdom authority flows out of the natural and spontaneous caring and sharing in the Christian community. Be humble enough to believe that you can learn from a brother or sister who has gone further than you into the divine Center.
Look for a spiritual companion who has developed genuine maturity, a comfortable acceptance of herself. Does she possess an understanding of human behavior that allows her to transform the apathy with which she comes in contact? Is she committed to the tough sort of love that refuses to give approval to selfishness and mediocrity? She should carry this out compassionately, with the heart of a servant and a nonjudgmental attitude. Though your spiritual director will take on a parenting role, she, herself, should be on the inward journey. Is she willing to share her life—including her struggles and doubts—with you? Your present Teacher will be Jesus and, together, you will be learning from him.
HOW WILL A SPIRITUAL COMPANION HELP ME?
The two of you will listen to the Spirit’s voice together. As you listen, your spiritual director will ask questions that encourage you to discern the movement of the Holy Spirit in your life and nurture the entrance of spiritual wisdom. He will guide you to reflect upon certain Bible verses and passages. Perhaps, he will ask you to keep a prayer journal. Writing out your prayers may help you to become aware of the Spirit’s working in your life. He most certainly will share his own spiritual disciplines with you. And, he will pray with and for you.
Though your spiritual companion will serve as a mentor, she is not a spiritual superior or a church-appointed authority. She serves as God’s Spirit-led usher and your relationship feels more like an advisor to a friend. The aim of her direction is to lead you to your true Director. God will use your companion to help open the pathway to the Spirit’s teaching. As you converse about spiritual things, Christ Jesus will join you. His divine Presence will oversee the love and fellowship that bring comfort, strength and warm encouragement to truth, advice, instruction and reproof.
Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. Ecclesiastes 4:9
Do you have a spiritual companion to guide you in hearing God’s voice?