Margaret Guenther 3

Margaret Guenther III

“Lighten up" (don't) turn prayer into a work but listen for God and let oneself be surprised. Overly rigid adherence to a spiritual direction built around formal liturgical adherence and highly structured prayer time can work against the sanctification of the ordinary. Christ is effectively imprisoned, to be visited at stated times and otherwise ignored.”
 Margaret Guenther, Holy Listening: The Art of Spiritual Direction

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Again, Margaret Guenther’s book, Holy Listening, The Art of Spiritual Direction, in my experience, remains one of the best practical handbooks for spiritual direction. She reminds us that the director’s job is to be a guide, a midwife, to birth, to help bring forth knowledge that is already present in those coming for direction, where the therapist might spend more time analyzing.

The director needs to let herself be known in her own vulnerability and limitations as he or she encourages play (prayer), asks questions like “Could you say a little more about that? Can you give me an example of what you mean by...?”

The spiritual director should help the directee to live the questions, to keep peering into the empty tomb.

 The director can encourage the directee to keep a log of her schedule to find times to pray, invite the directee to read psalms, or a gospel all the way through.

Guenther also reminds the director to keep that inner alarm that rings when we find ourselves becoming overly curious, taking sides or becoming over-invested emotionally in directees.