Thursday, 31 January 2013

Spiritual direction - watch this space




Divine synchronicity or an equally divine kick up the posterior to get on with something I should have been working on for a while? My blog-friend Greenpatches has been posting about Spiritual Direction, here and (in response to one of the many interesting comments her post generated) here. Do read it... And have a look at ramtopsrac's post too.

In case you didn't know, Spiritual Direction is a ministry I've been involved in as a practitioner, trainer and supervisor for many years. And yes, I'm aware that even using such "professional"-sounding words runs counter to how some people perceive the ministry! My own "formation" has been in the Christian tradition and particularly in the spirituality of Ignatius Loyola. A while back I promised a colleague I'd write something about Spiritual Direction Ignatian-style... Thanks to Greenpatches' prompting I may now get round to it, and I hope to share the results in this blog, in case anyone out there is interested. This squally, blustery afternoon might just be the time to make a start... So watch this space.

Meanwhile, what about that icon? It's of St Menas, and his friendship with Christ - notice Christ's arm around Menas' shoulder. While I was training I heard this icon referred to as the "Spiritual Direction Icon." At the time, I assumed this meant that it represented the director and directee together - and maybe that's what the speaker intended. But now I see it differently. It's often said that an icon is only completed by the person who "reads" it and prays before it. So Christ is Christ in the icon, and his friend is the pilgrim - the directee. The director is the one who holds the sacred space open but isn't in the picture; who pays attention with prayerful awe but doesn't get in the way.

What do you think?
To be continued (some time!)


4 comments:

  1. That's quite a thought; a really helpful way of explaining the relationship.

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    1. Thanks for that, GP. I'm still sitting with that image myself...

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  2. We have that icon on our lounge wall. This means I can look at it now to remind myself to keep myself out of the process between God and the directee and "hold the sacred space open" Thank you.

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    1. Thanks, Julianne. Good to hear from you. I find it a lovely way to pray for a directee - to imagine Christ embracing them as in this icon.

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I'd love to read your comments, and I'll try to reply to each one.