On Monday evening, my classmates and I were commissioned to the service of Spiritual Directors, or, as they’re known in the Celtic Christian world, soul friends. We graduated from the HeartPaths Spiritual Center in Oklahoma City, an ecumentical center that recognizes the diversity of religious expressions that God has called into being.
It was a three year process based in the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises:
- Year 1: Spiritual Formation—There were about a dozen or so of us when we started out. We met once a week and practiced various prayer styles. We also start meeting with our own spiritual director (some of us had different directors throughout the 3 years). We read and discussed key books in the field of spiritual formation, spiritual disciplines, and prayer. We wrote reflective papers, and prepared and presented a closing project to demonstrate proficiency in organizing and leading a prayer workshop. Mine was on, you guessed it, Celtic Christian Spirituality.
- Year 2: Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius—Our group dropped to about 9 or so. We continued to meet weekly as a group and went through the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. We focused on a primary text, participated in daily prayer exercises and reflections, discussed our experiences with the Ignatian Exercises, and met monthly with our spiritual directors.
- Year 3: Practicum—Our final year comprised of an even smaller group. We continued to meet weekly and with our spiritual directors monthly. This year we focused on actually doing spiritual direction work—we read and discussed books related to the practice of spiritual direction as well as articles from the journal Presence: An International Journal of Spiritual Direction. Lastly, we prepared and presented a final project to demonstrate our understanding of spiritual direction principles. Mine was Anamchara: Spiritual Direction and Celtic Christian Spirituality.
Our little group has grown pretty close over these last three years and we plan to continue to meet quarterly to talk and help each other.
Congratulations, my friends! May God-All-Loving guide us and walk with us as we listen to the Spirit in the stories of those with whom we sit.
In the Love of the Three in One,
Br. Jack+, LC