Thursday, May 21, 2009

A guided journey

One of the lesser-known benefits of religious practice is to be found in Spiritual Direction. While many Anglicans know that this is something they would expect their priest to undertake, on the understanding that every priest needs someone to talk to about their own spiritual development, far fewer realise that the benefits of this practice are open to all, lay people as well as ordained. They are missing a great deal.

It's easy to assume that because you talk about matters of faith and practice to friends or fellow-members of your congregation that you don't need anything so esoteric or - to the inexperienced - so scary as one-to-one conversation with someone who would initially be a stranger, but this would be to miss the point. You cannot experience the full benefit of this exercise with someone who is involved with your ordinary day-to-day life, let alone a friend: there will be too many extraneous considerations - such as the maintaining of a relationship - to get in the way of honesty. And the benefits are incalculable, with the resultant self-knowledge and assistance with spiritual growth far beyond what is achieved by the more comfortable discussions with someone on your own patch.

This is where organisations such as Cursillo can be of great value. By laying strong emphasis on the benefits of direction and by providing assistance with finding a suitable and experienced director for those who wish one, Cursillo can take anyone interested past the initial and sometimes daunting stage of asking someone to join in a fascinating journey.

And it's a journey infinitely worth making.

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