Our need for spiritual direction Print
Monday, 08 May 2017 13:23

REFLECTION

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

IN that gospel about the Good Shepherd, we are told that the shepherd knows his sheep, and the sheep also knows the shepherd, can recognize his voice, and follow him.

I remember that while vacationing in a mountain resort some years ago, I saw a modern shepherd, dressed of course now in today’s style and riding on a motorcycle, calling his sheep with a whistle.

The sheep immediately turned their heads toward the young man and followed him. Intrigued, I tried to imitate the whistle which, I must say, sounded like the shepherd’s, but the sheep did not pay attention to me at all. It was as if they heard nothing. And so I had a first-hand proof of the veracity of this gospel.

This gospel somehow reminds me of the great need for spiritual direction. For me it is a good way of truly recognizing the voice of God and not be easily deluded by other voices that can sound like God’s voice but actually are not.

We have to be wary of the many imitations around that can mislead us.

We need to have recourse to spiritual direction, choosing a good spiritual director who should be a true man of God, because we are poor directors of our own selves.

We can easily fall at the mercy of our own weaknesses which we should be humble enough to acknowledge. This is not to mention the many tricks of the devil and the allurements of the world that can imitate God’s voice, offering us sweet poison.

And so, instead of recognizing and corresponding to God’s voice, we may just be responding to our own likes and dislikes, our own ideas, our own biases and preferences. We can also fall at the mercy of our own temperaments and trapped by the many social, political and economic conditionings around. These are not necessarily bad, but they cannot be equated immediately to God’s voice. They can mislead us.

If we are the intellectual type, for example, we can easily convert our Christian life into a kind of intellectualism. If we are the active type, we can easily fall into activism. The many good things we have, all gifts from God, can be easily corrupted by all sorts of moral and spiritual viruses that can come to us in a very subtle, imperceptible way.

We all need to have spiritual direction. We have to allow the intricate workings of our spiritual life, which has to contend with all sorts of things in life, to be guided by somebody else, because though we are the ones who make the final decisions and choices, we all need to be enlightened, guided, suggested, even corrected.

Yes, we need spiritual direction because we have to explore our spiritual and apostolic possibilities, map out our plans for spiritual growth, expose and cultivate our hidden potentials, develop virtues and enliven our piety, not to mention, make strategies for our ascetical struggles.

In short, we need spiritual direction because we need to live our life at God’s pace. And this cannot be achieved simply on our own.