September 3, 2019

When tragedy occurs we naturally want to reach out with words of comfort. We have to do better than “thoughts and prayers.” We’ve been pelted with tragedies — some human created and others of nature — and many of us are reflecting and praying. Texas mass shootings, multiple other mass shootings, Hurricane Dorian, many other hurricanes that left swaths of populated areas devastated, and the deadly California dive-boat fire are just a few of the tragedies we have grieved over… Read more

August 19, 2019

In this remembrance prayer, we look at the crucial choices we’ve made in the past and reflect on them to gain some perspective. It helps us see how our story fits into the bigger picture, where we’ve seen God in our lives, and how perhaps God is communicating with us to show us our purpose. Further, this exercise helps us determine the steps and choices we need to take to move toward that purpose. Paying attention to a memory can… Read more

August 9, 2019

Spiritual directors are not preachers, missionaries or evangelists. There is no place for proselytizing in this practice. Our ethical standard goes even beyond the Golden Rule: Do to others as you would have done to you. Spiritual directors are to treat clients as they wish to be treated. Our clients, companions, directees (all those names fit) are to be seen as mature, whole people who are on their own spiritual journey — if that’s what they want to call it… Read more

July 22, 2019

Contemplation is the stillness we need to be aware of God’s presence. Jesuit theologian Walter Burghart calls it “the long, loving look at the Real.” It is long because our relationship with God (like our relationships with people) takes time. We must devote ample time to this Person we love. It is loving because we need to shed our judgments and fears and open ourselves to love just as we are. It is a look because we must face it…. Read more

July 2, 2019

One prayer exercise to get in touch with our inner senses is called The Examen. The motto in Ignatian spirituality is to “find God in all things.” We do that by examining our life. As our lives unfold with each choice, our reactions to unexpected challenges, and our search for stability in the midst of change, we get glimpses of God’s loving guidance, companionship, and support. It’s as if Jesus says, “We have eyes to see.” We develop these special… Read more

June 18, 2019

Spiritual directors constantly weigh the pros and cons of marketing our service on the internet. As you can probably tell, I’m very pro marketing and encourage colleagues to use it in any way that suits them and honors the sacredness of the practice. Social media is one area that requires constant discernment for me. I waver between “use it, lose it, or abuse it.” Use it Yes, I’m on twitter (@teresa_blythe) mostly, and Facebook ( now and then. And I… Read more

June 7, 2019

We live in a media-saturated culture. Each day thousands of promotional messages clamor for our attention. Television has become our national storyteller, with the TV screen becoming a focal point in most of our family rooms. But we can find prayer in our media culture — even “Star Wars.” What has prayer got to do with our media culture? Everything. Even if you were to “kill your television” and attempt to ban all brand-name advertising from entering your home, your… Read more

May 28, 2019

It is easy in our busy lives to begin to think that we “have” bodies rather than that we “are” bodies. All of our experience of God is filtered through some aspect of our bodies — usually involving our mind at some point. It makes perfect sense, then, to acknowledge and intentionally include our bodies in prayer. That includes breath. In Jewish and Christian thought, breath is closely related to Spirit. The Hebrew word ruach means breath, spirit and wind,… Read more

April 24, 2019

When meeting with a spiritual director, they may ask you what it is you desire most in life. That’s because our deepest, truest desires are one way God reaches out to us to say, “walk in this way.” Because of this, I recommend the Desire Prayer as a spiritual practice. The Desire Prayer The “Desire Prayer” is one of my favorite practices because it allows us to get our desires before God openly, unabashedly, and with feeling. In this prayer… Read more

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

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