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Many, many years ago a friend shared that receiving spiritual direction had helped her grow in her relationship with God.  This was a new thought for me.  I explored  that spiritual practice.  Since that time I’ve found it invaluable as part of my spiritual journey.

Spiritual direction is a spiritual practice in which an individual or group share how they are living their lives in order to grow in their relationship with God, the Divine and/or deepen their spiritual life.

Spiritual director is a title for a spiritual guide/companion or mentor.  The practice of spiritual direction  has been a practice for thousands of years though it wasn’t given that title.   In Hebrew Scriptures we find many examples such as Samuel being guided by Eli  (I Samuel 3:1-18)or Joseph who interpreted dreams (Genesis 40:1-41:37).

In the early days of the church people would go to the desert to consult with the desert mothers and fathers for spiritual guidance.  These desert mothers and fathers had gone into the desert to deepen their own relationship with God and thus were known as ones who could also guide others.

Even today, people who want to deepen their spirituality or focus more intentionally on their relationship with God, look for a guide or mentor.

Receiving spiritual direction is an opportunity to share one’s spiritual hopes, struggles, joys and concerns.  It helps one be accountable in growing spiritually and deepening one’s relationship with the Divine.  In spiritual direction the directee shares with the director what has been important in their spiritual life since the last meeting.  They may share their prayer life, dreams, life experiences and where they are aware of the Divinity in their life.

A spiritual director listens to what is said and reflects back.  The Spiritual director is also aware of God’s spirit being the real director.  Thus the spiritual director does not usually give directions but through asking questions helps the individual find the directions that are already in one’s heart.

I find that talking with a spiritual director on a regular basis helps me stay focused on how God is working in my life and helping me in ministry.  It helps me be aware of when I think that all I do depends on me, rather than on God.  It helps me remember and be thankful for the gifts God gives me.

Now, not only is spiritual direction a very regular spiritual practice for me, I’ve also become a spiritual director for others who want to use this spiritual practice to deepen their spiritual life.  I encourage all who are interested to engage in this spiritual practice of meeting regularly with a spiritual director.

 

December 17, 2017 0 comment
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What does it mean to listen to the Mind of God, to follow God’s mind?  I hear people say God has told them this or that.  How does that happen?

I believe we learn of God’s mind or God’s direction in numerous ways.  Some may actually hear the spoken words from God.  But I think there are other ways that most of us learn of the mind of God.    Scripture, creation, music, art and life’s coincidences are how I think most of us become aware.

Scripture consistently shows how God was faithful to God’s people even though they weren’t always faithful to God.  Jesus taught about a loving God and he demonstrated that in his lifetime by frequent healings and forgiveness.

In the book   Things Hidden:  Scripture as Spirituality  Richard Rohr wrote (p.200) that “Divine love is not determined by the worthiness of the object but by the goodness of the subject.”  He adds “Jesus didn’t come to change the mind of God about humanity but to change the mind of humanity about God. “

Scripture gives us examples of God as loving, caring, patient, merciful, compassionate as well as challenging.

God provided

  • Water for Hagar and Ismael when they were in the desert.
  • Provided manna and water for the Israelites when they were wandering in the desert.
  • Direction to Ezekiel to the mountain cave where God came to him in the quiet breeze.
  • Questioning of Job where he was when God created the world

Jesus gives us many examples, too.

  • Forgiving – Peter who denied him three times
  • Be merciful – woman taken in adultery
  • Compassionate – examples of healing – deaf man
  • Caring – changing water into wine at the wedding of Cana
  • Challenging –Gerasene Demoniac to go back home and recout all God had done for him.

The mind of God is a mystery.    Although Scripture gives us ideas about the mind of God, I also find  glimpses of the mind of God in the beauty of creation and in life’s coincidences.

When I look at nature and see the variety God created for us, I’m amazed.  In just around the block where I live I see robins, finches, hummingbirds, sparrows, doves and many other birds I can’t identify.  Then the variety of trees – oak, maple, evergreens, elms, poplars and others.  Present are even insects such as wasps, mosquitoes, bees and others, that I admit I don’t appreciate,

Once I heard that instead of complaining that roses have thorns, one should rejoice that the thorns have roses.

What an imagination God has!

I believe that God’s mind is present in what many call coincidences.  For example, after much research, I found the apartments in which I’ve lived.  None were what I thought I was looking for in the beginning, but each has brought joy as well as challenges.  Through all of them I’ve grown and hopefully became a more spiritual person.

A creation coincidence happened one Pentecost when a brilliant red cardinal perched on my balcony railing.  This happened only once in the 17 years I lived there.  It reminded me of the Spirit and the Pentecost passage in the Acts of the Apostles.

Another memorable coincidence happened when I was in the middle of a difficult four day exam.  One afternoon someone had a beautiful red rose delivered to my door.  This gave me hope and encouragement.

Other examples of the mind of God in our life are in music and art.  Often they touch my soul and leave me in awe.

The more I’m sensitive to such coincidences, the more I open my heart to God.  Then I’m aware of an inner peace and God’s help throughout life’s struggles.

Holy Mystery,

Thank you for giving us glimpses of You in Scripture, creation, art, music and life’s coincidences.  Help us be more sensitive and appreciative of all life and of your constant loving presence.  Give us the strength to listen to and follow your guidance.  Amen.

 

 

January 2, 2017 0 comment
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