Spiritual Direction is a means of helping us effectively and serenely orchestrate well-defined goals of responsible family stewardship, professional excellence, and a robust Catholic discipleship. It is a technique of guided and systematic self-discovery, together with the formulation of personal goals that focus on the virtues, both human and supernatural. The discovery, practice and growth of these virtues are crucial as they are the ordinary means we have of achieving every ideal that we can ever dream of in this life and in the next. Problems sort themselves out. Truth be told, absolutely no regrets. Indeed, it is an existential game-changer, but it comes with a price tag.
“Success” in this method presupposes complete openness and discipline. It begins with looking for a coach who is, in fact, a man's man. He should be compassionate, prayerful, focused, modest, staunch; he should be a competent professional who keeps his family first. He should also go to spiritual direction himself. Truthfulness guarantees that we keep our coach always on the same page as our struggle. Candidness opens the way to spot-on personal goals. Speaking about these goals with our coach helps us practice accountability and will be the primary motive for the exercise of discipline in making sure that these goals are carried out. Part of this discipline begins with committing to a regular meeting or chat. Usually, these conversations take 10 -15 minutes once a week or at least once a month.
As soon as we decide to begin spiritual direction, the demanding practice of the virtues required of friendship, work, focus on what is important, taking action, initiative, constancy, professionalism, and chastity become important. With our spiritual director’s help, we establish the time we must set aside for prayer, family, rest and recreation. It entails devoting time for Catholic doctrinal, philosophical, and theological study to enlighten ourselves and allow God's truth and love to sweep us off our feet. This, in turn, favors the development of a conscience that is tender yet demanding. Consequently, this coherent knowledge sparks a certain fire in the heart that makes the practice of virtue, like Christian apostolate, almost second nature to us; our interpersonal dealings begin to fill with understanding, forgiveness, and affection. It also creates a mysterious, innate loathing for evil not borne out of fear but rather out of a keen desire to avoid offending God as a result of having blown away by the experience of His unconditional love.
Sooner than later, we will be amazed to find ourselves habitually giving of ourselves. We may never achieve total human perfection. However, this reality does not diminish at all the gratification that follows from our ever getting closer to it. We are not surprised to find that in this venture, as in so many other worthy endeavors, the name of the game is no pain, no gain. No matter how small, the experience of our achievements is deeply exhilarating. Human effort and sincere prayer put all these towering goals well within reach. The experience of keeping a tight grip on our self-determined priorities redounds to a deep sense of fulfillment, meaning, and confidence. Growth in the life of prayer leads to learning how to slowly replace the malady of disturbing and wasteful internal chatter with the serene awareness of God's presence; it fills our heart with the certainty of God's affection and the consequent experience of an abiding joy of living, leaving us with no regrets, except perhaps that of not having tried even earlier and harder!