Spiritual Direction is focused on an individual and their relationship with God. Every spiritual journey is unique but there are patterns and things that are frequently experienced. Over the years of Christianity, many forms have developed. It is believed that the first spiritual directors were found in the deserts of Egypt where men, known as Desert Fathers - and a very few women, known as Desert Mothers - gave their lives to deep contemplation. In spite of their isolation, people sought them out looking for wisdom and advice.
The tradition was also a feature of Celtic Spirituality when someone would seek out an anam chara or soul friend who would share their spiritual quest.
Over the centuries, the ministry changed to suit the times and now, in the 21st century, we are blessed with different traditions that will appeal to different people. What is still the same is the gift found in the Desert - to befriend and to help others to read their hearts and to offer spiritual guidance and support.
Descriptions of some of the traditions to come!
The capacity for friendship and ability to read other people's hearts became the basis of the desert elders' effectiveness as spiritual guides.
Edward C. Sellner