Systematic Spiritual Direction, an Integrative Colloquium

David B Rosenberg

Systematic Spiritual Direction, an Integrative Colloquium
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Systematic Spiritual Direction, an Integrative Colloquium

David B Rosenberg

In the modern church pastoral care is complex. The pastor and pastoral staff are expected to do many things, but their essential charism is the cure of souls. The recovery of spiritual direction in recent years has once again drawn attention to the main focus of pastoral care, namely, to help Christians develop their prayer life and discover the will of God. Shepherds lead their flock to a spirituality of abundance, an intentional life centered around the reality of the blessings poured down on them by their heavenly Father. Pastoral care, then, must integrate a vibrant catechesis of spiritual theology and make available spiritual guidance. It is this work and nothing else that gives the pastoral vocation its distinguishing mark.The nature of the Christian life is such that no one grows spiritually without some help from others. Strictly speaking, there are no self-taught saints. To think that we can teach ourselves is the worst sort of self-deception. If anyone makes himself his own master in the spiritual life, warns St. Bernard of Clairvaux, be makes himself scholar to a fool. This learning process extends throughout life. Even the most mature Christian needs help from others from time to time. Spiritual direction is simply the formalization of this basic fact of life.The aim of this discussion is to look at spiritual direction as an integrative art that brings the study of spiritual theology to its proper conclusion, not to offer practical help on the direction of souls. Spiritual direction is integrative at many levels: -First, it seeks to bring spiritual theology to the level of actual experience by integrating theory and practice. -Second, it integrates the personal and corporate dimensions of the directee’s life in God. -Third, it brings two persons together into a dynamic traditioning process. -Fourth, it is an art that calls for integrating knowledge and character in the person of the director.

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