A CATHOLIC IN CLEVELAND
Certified Spiritual Director Andrea McGovern
Spiritual direction is an ongoing relationship with a spiritual friend, one who has been specially trained to listen and ask questions that can guide a person to tuning into God’s presence in his or her own life. It’s an invitation to allow someone else to share one’s sacred story. Our sacred stories include the moments when God’s presence is close and comforting as well as the moments of seeming estrangement from God. Often it’s only in telling the story to someone else that we truly hear it ourselves.
A spiritual director may suggest scripture passages or other reading to help in this process of becoming more aware of God’s presence. Willingness to journal about prayerful experiences helps, too. Most important, though, is the opportunity to have a spiritual friend who is willing to meet me where I am today and journey with God and me.
Spiritual direction isn’t psychological counseling. In spiritual direction we enter a “contemplative stance,” which means we put aside our own agendas and truly listen to what is being said, by each other and by God, who speaks through our interaction and in our hearts. The spiritual direction encounter isn’t between just the companion and the “directee.” There are three present in this encounter, and all the first two really need to do is let go of their own egos and listen to the third. God is the real Director in spiritual direction, as in all of life.
Andrea McGovern is a spiritual director in the Cleveland, Ohio area. She is certified in the Ministry of Spiritual Direction through the Ignatian Spirituality Institute of John Carroll University.