Monday, July 11, 2011

Our Lord Was Close To His Disciples

Spiritual counselling has been practised from the earliest history of the Church down to our own times. It is sometimes referred to as spiritual direction or spiritual accompaniment. It is an ancient and tested practice which has produced fruits of holiness and evangelical readiness. 
The Fathers, the Magisterium, numerous spiritual writers and the norms governing ecclesial life all speak of the need for spiritual direction, especially for those in training or formation, as well as for those in certain ecclesial conditions. There are certain moments in life which call for special discernment and for fraternal accompaniment. This stems from the logic of Christian life. “It is necessary to rediscover the great tradition of personal spiritual guidance which has always brought great and precious fruits to the Church’s life”. Our Lord was close to His disciples. Spiritual direction, under different names, has always existed in the Church. 
Initially, it was to be found in the monasteries of the East and West. From the Middle Ages, it was an essential part of the various schools of spirituality. As can be seen from the writings of St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, St. Ignatius Loyola, St. Francis de Sales, St. Alphonsus Mary de Ligouri and from those of Cardinal Pierre de Bérulle, it had a much wider application in Christian life during the 16th and 17th centuries. While spiritual direction was always imparted by monks and priests, other members of the faithful (religious and lay) – Saint Catherine for example – have also given spiritual counsel. Ecclesiastical legislation has drawn on all of this experience and has applied it in the formulation of norms for formation or the priesthood and religious life. There are to be found also well formed lay people – both men and women – who offer this service of counsel along the journey of holiness.
Link (here) to the amazing THE PRIEST, MINISTER OF DIVINE MERCY AN AID FOR CONFESSORS AND SPIRITUAL DIRECTORS issued by the Congregation for the Clergy

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