The above course was organized by the AORC for the OMI Priests of Asia-Oceana Provinces in the month of June from the 21st to 26th. This was facilitated by PRERANA Ignatian Spirituality Centre, Bengaluru, India. 48 Oblates from Asia Oceana provinces took part in this course on spiritual direction. Jesuit priests who were experts in this particular field, facilitated us on different topics. At the conclusion of each session, we had time to clarify and discuss certain things related to spiritual direction. Fr. Prashanth D’Souza SJ, the director of the above center had coordinated this program extremely well. Five Oblates namely Frs. A.J. Roy, Celestine M., Sebamalai Perera, B. Jeyabalan and A. Amalathas from the Province of Jaffna benefited from this course.
Spiritual direction is “help given by one Christian to another which enables that person to pay attention to God’s personal communication to him or her, to respond to this personally communicating God, to grow in intimacy with this God, and to live out the consequences of the relationship.” (William A. Barry and William J. Connolly, The Practice of Spiritual Direction). As growing a life with God is an essential dimension of the Christian journey, spiritual direction becomes a practice of the church that involves accompanying others in prayerful reflection and conversation as they attend to God’s presence and calling in their lives and grow in Christian maturity.
To describe spiritual direction as a process is to emphasize its dynamic, developmental nature. Something happens. Something changes. There is a growth and becoming. One enters direction with a certain element of risk, because it means opening oneself to learning what God wants, being ready to let go of whatever hinders growth, and dying to parts of oneself that may be cherished. It is freely submitting oneself to God’s action, and trust in God’s loving will. A fundamental choice for what God wills — or at least a desire for such a choice — seems essential for direction to be fruitful.
A commitment to spiritual direction will involve:
· Giving time to your-self, and paying attention to the journey;
· Being open to God;
· Paying attention to the movements in your life;
· Being prepared to change as you discover more about how God is seeking you out;
· Meeting with the Spiritual director on an agreed, regular basis.
Personal relationship with God and contemplation of life events lead us to the truth that God loves us unconditionally. The whole human journey is a response to that love. Prayer is everything to do with wholeness and holiness. Spiritual direction is all about sharing one’s spiritual growth and its “metanoia” of going deeper, soul searching, and uncovering of one’s self (including blocks; psychological and spiritual) as one strengthens one’s relationship with God, with others and the Universe. Our whole lives are somehow a revelation of God to us. Our images of God affect us in the same ways. They affect the way we pray, what we receive in prayer and how we receive it. Ultimately, they affect how we relate to life, to community and to self. We sincerely thank the AORC team for their initiative.
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