This week we will resume our discussion regarding Spiritual Direction. If you have not read the previous posts on this subject I advise you to read them, since they are all linked together.
Spiritual Direction is not a new fad, or newly-discovered practice in modern-day church, but has been around for as long as mankind itself.
The History of Spiritual Direction
Biblical: When we take a close look at the scriptures we find that all of the stories in the Old Testament as well as the narrative in the New Testament are meant to direct us into a closer relationship with God.
Spiritual directors are like Eli who urged - indeed directed - the young man Samuel to be attentive, to recognise the presence and voice of God, and to respond in the right way.
Jesus himself broke all the rules of pastoral counselling when instead of answering the questions given him often replied with another question or a story that had the listeners leave scratching their head…
The role of the spiritual director was to be part of the ministry of the shepherd, prophet and teacher described in the New Testament.
Historically: For many evangelicals, the emphasis on spiritual direction seems to be a recent development. But it is an ancient practice, and for many chapters in the history of the church it was an important part of pastoral ministry.
Spiritual Direction is an ancient form of Christian soul care that goes back to the earliest days of the church. It has never really gone away…
We know of stories of fourth- and fifth-century believers heading into the desert to seek the insight and counsel of the desert fathers and mothers.
“Ignatian spirituality” has been around for centuries and is just now finding an ear and interest outside the Roman Catholic Church. Ignatius was the founder of the Society of Jesus, typically called the Jesuits, who have always had a rich tradition in spiritual direction.
More closer to home for believers in the Northern parts of Europe we find the deep and practical spirituality of the Celtic believers.
Next week we will go a bit deeper and look at some of the goals of spiritual direction.