Spiritual Direction

Friday, September 28, 2007

In his writing, Introduction to the Devout Life, St. Francis de Sales advises that a good spiritual director, "must be full of charity, of knowledge, and of prudence; if one of these qualities are wanting in him, there is a danger."

A simple way to be sure that a priest has the above qualities, we need to examine alter Christus (another Christ) in him. The life of the priest ought to mirror the life of Jesus, therfore, in The Crib (Poverty), the priest must be poor in his dwelling, in clothing, in food, in his household and humble in spirit and heart before God, men, and himself. The greater the poverty of a priest and more humble he is, the greater glory he receives from God, and the more useful he is to his neighbour.

Subsequently, in Calvary (Death to himself), the priest must die to his body, to his own mind, to his will, his reputation, his family, and the world. Additionally, he must immolate himself through silence, prayer, work, penance, suffering and death. The more a priest dies in this way, the mroe life does he possess himself and the more he gives to others.

Lastly, in the Tabernacle (Charity), the priest must give his body; his mind; his time; his possessions, his health, and his life. He must also give life to others by his faith; by his teaching; by his words; by his prayer, his faculties and example. The priest should be like nourishing food to be eaten by everyone.

Father Garringou-Lagrange O.P. sums up these qualities in three pharses:
  1. The priest is a man stripped of everything,
  2. The priest is a crucified man,
  3. The priest is a man to whom others look for their food and sustenance.

The life of the priest reflects greatly of his spirituality. Look out for these qualities in the priest(s) you would like to approach for spiritual direction.

Hope this helps!


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