The Cenacle Sisters of England and Ireland

Spiritual direction and accompaniment

There are times in all our lives when we may all need a little guidance or support to help us with the challenges that life can throw at us. Some will find counselling, psychotherapy or just a listening hear to get an objective perspective on what is going on in their lives; whereas others may choose the route Spiritual Direction/Accompaniment. There are similarities, having a Spiritual Director/Companion has an added dimension in as much as it also challenges us to look at our relationship with God and how we can deepen that relationship. It is an opportunity, with a qualified Spiritual Director, to reflect on our lives not just in relationship to God but with others and with ourselves.

A spiritual director is a companion on life’s journey, helping us to find God in all things and in the ordinary circumstance of our lives. Assisting us with where we might be experiencing resistances or blockages, asking the reflective question that will lead to breakthroughs in our relationship with God and its lived circumstances. We may be feeling that we are:

  1. At a crossroads in our lives;
  2. That we want to explore new ways of praying;
  3. That our prayer has “dried up” or we are experiencing difficulties in our prayer;
  4. That we are in need of guidance in discerning the call of God in our lives;
  5. That we need a spiritual companion to walk a part of the journey of our lives as it is at the moment;

Spiritual direction is available for people of all faiths -- lay, single or married, priests and members of religious communities. Frequency of sessions can be discussed with the director and decided upon according to individual needs. Many people find once a month helpful.

Some Spiritual Directors may also be trained as counsellors or psychotherapist, where problem solving or therapy is the focus. The focus of Spiritual Direction/Accompaniment is on our experience of God in our lives and we become aware of the movement of God in our lives. So with the aid of a Spiritual Director we begin to notice through prayer the movement of God in our lives and in the circumstances and events of our lives.
We are social beings and we need other people with whom we can share and confide the high points and the low points of our lives.

Spiritual Accompaniment can make available a person, who is trained, to accompany another on his/her spiritual journey. 
Spiritual direction is “help given by one Christian to another which enables that person to pay attention to God’s personal communication to him or her, to respond to this personally communicating God, to grow in intimacy with this God, and to live out the consequences of the relationship.” (William A. Barry and William J. Connolly, (The Practice of Spiritual Direction)

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