Spiritual direction (also known as spiritual accompaniment) is a process to help you grow closer to God. Through conversation with a spiritual companion in an atmosphere of trust, you can be helped to arrive at a deeper awareness of God’s presence and activity in your everyday life.
Spiritual direction has been a part of Jesuit life since the very beginning. St Ignatius himself was a spiritual director to many in his own day. He trained his followers to direct others, mostly in his Spiritual Exercises, which are to be given by a director and not simply read. The early Jesuits referred to each other as ‘Companions of Jesus’.
‘ … let it be presupposed that every good Christian is to be more ready to save his neighbour’s proposition than to condemn it.’ St Ignatius of Loyola, Spiritual Exercises
‘Although it sounds obvious, spiritual accompaniment must lead others ever closer to God, in whom we attain true freedom.’
A spiritual companion helps you notice, savour, and respond to the movement of God in your daily spiritual practices. The companion is a listening and supportive person who creates an environment where you can look honestly at your relationship with God.
It should be noted that there are distinctions between spiritual accompaniment and therapeutic relationships. In general, therapy and counselling deal primarily with problem areas of one's life and attempt to bring healthy resolution to certain issues. Spiritual direction is concerned with finding and responding to God, in the whole of life as well as in times of pain or disorder. Problem-solving is not the primary focus of spiritual direction.