In What Direction are you Heading
In what ‘direction’ are you traveling?
Are you seeking to draw on the peace and strength of your faith for your journey of life? As you listen to your life, are you searching to identify and trust the presence of God with you? How are you responding to God and living out this sacred relationship in practical ways? And, would you appreciate being ‘companioned’ along the way?
“Bidden or Unbidden God is Present.” This old Celtic saying reminds us that the Sacred is present - always and in all ways. In the midst of the ordinary, in the everyday, in all of life, God is there. If we take the faithful presence of God seriously we will want to learn how to pay attention and tend the holy in our lives. The desire to nurture our relationship with God will call us to give time to discovering God’s presence with us, and to discerning how we will respond in our daily lives. Both attention and discernment require a contemplative mind.
I love a good cartoon because, like poetry and art, they can creatively transport us into our contemplative mind. Richard Rohr calls the contemplative mind ‘a sacred gift’ and the rational mind, ‘its faithful servant’. I particularly love this cartoon, called ‘Stirrings’ (source unknown). It challenges me to remember that whatever meaning is being carried to us in what we perceive still requires our discernment.
Poet Mary Oliver says “This is the wildest, and the wisest thing I know, that the soul exists, and that it is built entirely out of attentiveness.” So pay attention to your stirrings and allow them, if you want to, to lead you into God and the fullness of life promised. And if you want accompaniment on this journey choose a Spiritual Director/Companion to listen carefully with you to your daily life experiences and to help you be present to God, who is seeking to draw you closer, and receive the life being offered.
Some places, some ideas, some images, some encounters, some life experiences, some joys, some sadnesses, draw our attention and invite us to pause. On any given day we will be more or less receptive to these invitations to reflect and wonder and more or less able to be open to their possibilities. They will make their way into that space in us that experiences unity and belonging. A rainforest, a cathedral, a sunrise, falling in love, an act of kindness, birdsong, friendship, conversation, even death – are all places and spaces where we take that long loving look at what is real and in doing so come to perceive, and to know, the unknowable.
These are open moments, of relationship and encounter, a call to prayer and a doorway into deeper relationship with God and each other. We all have these moments of encounter. There will be movement for life to be found within these experiences. They may become moments of awakening, change and transformation; received rather than created experiences that can shape us from within and clarify things for us. These are sacred moments of encounter with mystery in the midst of everyday life. They ask us to pay attention, to take them to prayer, to respond from the heart and the gut as well as the head and discern - in what direction are you inviting me?
A Spiritual Director will talk with you about how you pray in order to help you to discover how you pray best, and explore with you how you hear God and God’s Word. The direction relationship provides a safe and confidential space to share your hopes and struggles. You will have companionship as you commit to spiritual practice and integrate spirituality into your daily life. You will learn to discern your inner movements, make life giving choices and open yourself to growth in acceptance, forgiveness, justice, tenderness and compassion.
The Ministry of Spiritual Direction has a long and respected history in the Christian tradition. It is a means through which Christ continues to minister to us through God’s Holy Spirit. It has been practiced by lay, religious and ordained ministers and is considered a sacred entrustment calling for the highest standards of formation, practice and accountability. It is not therapy, counselling, teaching, mentoring or coaching. It is uniquely concerned with facilitating a person’s growth in
relationship with God and living out the gifts of that relationship in right relationship with self and all creation. It is an invitation to slow down in the midst of a busy life and take the time to allow God to find us.
Margaret has been a spiritual director since 1992. She has a teaching and ministry background with a Grad Dip Arts/Leadership (ACU), a Masters in Theology (UoN) and a Master of Conflict Resolution and Management (JCU). Marg works ecumenically and in the workplace and is involved in retreat work, formation, facilitation, ministry and group supervision, and staff development. Married with two daughters and two grandsons, Marg is Prayer and Spirituality Co-ordinator at the House of Prayer & Spirituality, a mission of the Catholic Diocese of Townsville.