April 16, 2019

Spiritual direction training programs are unlike any other school you might attend. They are a hybrid of a retreat, a spiritual formation class and intensive training. The Hesychia School of Spiritual Direction, which I run, just ended its 2019 program, and I’ve been reflecting on the effect these schools have on the aspiring spiritual director and some basic precepts you need to know going in. Spiritual Direction Training is Hard Training to be a spiritual director is not academically hard,… Read more

March 26, 2019

So often I’m asked, “Can you make a living off spiritual direction?” The answer is not simple because, of course, it all depends on the person, the market and the philosophy. Spiritual Directors International has now had two webinars on the subject (I contributed to the first one) and when you watch these, and I hope you do, you will get the long answer to your question. I will attempt to give you the short answer here. Can it be… Read more

March 12, 2019

Increasingly, people “done with Christianity” are showing up in spiritual direction. White evangelical Christian support for Donald Trump through a troubled presidency is causing some young adults to “break up with their church” and others to avoid church altogether.i I saw the statistics and heard lots of commentary on this, but it was a gut-punch to read what pastor and writer Jayson D. Bradley (@jaysondbradley) posted on Twitter recently.ii This post drove home to me how serious it is when… Read more

January 9, 2019

Within the Christian context, most of us know the passage in James that says “faith without works is dead.” And that is certainly true. But what I observe in many churches (especially progressive liberal ones) is that “works without faith are deadening.” Both are true — they are two sides of the same coin. We are over the age-old conflict that pits contemplation and action against one another (activists complaining that contemplatives need to get off their meditation cushions and… Read more

December 24, 2018

There are only two stories of Jesus’ birth in the Gospels — Luke’s and Matthew’s. For this prayer, we will be using lectio divina (praying with scripture) with Matthew’s nativity story. When praying scripture, it is more important that you allow the scripture to speak to you than it is to intellectually understand it. There is a time and place for interpretation and historical context, but lectio divina is not about putting it all together and making sense of scripture,… Read more

December 23, 2018

Our Advent imagination prayer is getting closer to the manger! Today’s passage around the Nativity has the angels departing for heaven and the shepherds taking to the road to Bethlehem to check out this birth for themselves. As you imagine yourself part of the shepherd’s caravan, see if you can catch the emotion so close to the Nativity scene. The Practice Begin by turning your attention to the presence of God in prayer. Ask for the awareness of how God… Read more

December 22, 2018

One of the most beautiful passages in Luke’s gospel is the prophecy of Zechariah, a poem known as the Benedictus.  Zechariah was a priest married to Elizabeth and in their advanced age they conceived a long awaited child — a boy who would become John the Baptist, a relative of Jesus. Zechariah didn’t believe the angel Gabriel when he said that Elizabeth would bear a child, so as a sign of his lack of faith, Zechariah was stripped of his… Read more

December 21, 2018

As we continue our Advent imagination prayer with Luke’s birth narrative, we spend more time today with the shepherds, angel and the multitude of the heavenly host. Imagination prayer has a long history. St. Ignatius of Loyola built his Spiritual Exercises — a set of meditations, reflections and practices to draw a person’s heart deeper toward Christ — on imagination prayers. He invites us to become part of the scene as our minds imagine what it might have been like in… Read more

December 20, 2018

Desire is a popular emotion in Advent. Advertisers use our superficial desires in the hope that we will want and buy things we (and our gift recipients) probably don’t need. This prayer looks at our deeper desires — the ones that come from God and inspire us to fulfill what God wants for us. This is a good prayer to use when you feel like your desires are getting out of hand. It allows you to give them over to… Read more

December 19, 2018

When Jesus begins a story with “What do you think?” we are invited to share exactly what we think about the story in scripture. The following is an illustration about what it means to be faithful. So, what do you think? The Practice Matthew 21:28-32: The Parable of the Two Sons 28 “What do you think? A man had two sons; he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’ 29 The son answered,… Read more

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