Why spiritual direction?

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Over the years people have asked me lots of questions about the purpose of spiritual direction, who should seek it, and why would someone invest years in training and study to be a Spiritual Director.  Of course, there are many was to answer these questions but instead of text-book answers, I would like to share with you a reflection by Thomas Merton that really speaks to the heart of my experience with spiritual direction and my calling as a director.  Merton calls it, “le point vierge,” or the virginal point within, that belongs to God.  He writes:

“At the center of our being is a point of pure truth, a point or spark which belongs entirely to God…This little point of nothingness and of absolute poverty is the pure glory of God in us. It is, so to speak, God’s name written in us, as our poverty, as our indigence, as our dependence, as our sonship and daughtership. It is like a pure diamond, blazing with the invisible light of heaven. It is in everybody, and if we could see it, we would see these billions of points of light coming together in the face and blaze of a sun that would make all the darkness and cruelty of life vanish completely…. I have no program for this seeing. It is only given. But the gate of heaven is everywhere.”

While Merton says there is no program for seeing this, my spiritual direction journey over the years has been a gate of heaven for me, revealing glimpses of my own “le point vierge,” that same spark of the divine in us all.

In ways that are wordless and inaccessible by my human nature, all I can say is that the journey has been given as a pure gift; a Divine invitation, a calling, the same gift given to the apostles by the Holy Spirit.  Some are gifted to speak in tongues, some to prophesy, some to perform miracles, and to some, like me…to the discernment of spirits.  To hold with another that center of being where there is a “point of pure truth, a spark which belongs entirely to God, a little point of nothingness and of absolute poverty that is the pure glory of God within us.”  Seeing glimpses of that in me and in others has been more gift than I could have ever imagined.


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