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Spiritual_Direction.jpgThe Spiritual Direction Program at Grace

MaryBeth Buschmann, Grace Lutheran Church's Parish Nurse, has studied the art of Spiritual Direction and offers these services to Grace members. She wrote the following article to introduce this new ministry.

Let me ask you a few questions. Have you ever wanted to tell your story without interruption to a trusted person who would be really engaged and interested in listening? Do you wonder just what your relationship with God is and how you can grow in it?  Have you been beset with dilemmas, confused as to which option to pursue? Is it all just too overwhelming and complicated to deal with on your own?  

I have just completed two years of education, training, and practice in the art of spiritual direction at Catholic Theological Union and the Claret Center, both in Hyde Park. Spiritual direction is a ministry (or method) of intuitive listening with the director using a minimum of words (yes, MaryBeth can do that!) to guide the person seeking guidance (the “directee”) to find the answers inside of himself. It is an ongoing relationship among the directee, director, and the Holy Spirit. Psalm 139:13 reminds us that God made us with our gifts and talents and wove them into us while we were yet in our mother’s womb. But, we don’t always recognize these gifts and talents -- hence our confusion. We don’t always know how to listen to God – hence our feelings of isolation. The spiritual director, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, discerns what is being said as the directee tells his story, and guides him to hear what he has communicated to help him discern his path.

Spiritual direction is generally a term used for one-on-one spiritual mentoring. But there is more to it than that. Spiritual direction is a formal covenant arrangement between a director and directee for the purpose of enabling the directee to find the spiritual path to which God is calling her. The one being directed, who has sought out a director, engages in this effort as a means to grow spiritually as she is helped to discern God’s will for her life.

Spiritual direction is one pilgrim helping another to find the path of God’s plan for him or her. “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)  It is soul-walking, hand-in-hand. The one called “director” is not the director, but an instrument in the hands of The Director, the Holy Spirit.  The human director, with a honed gift of discernment, is a fellow traveler who has become sensitive to the traveling of other journeyers and acts to lead, to encourage, to entice, to invite, to help those who have stumbled, to see God standing before them.

The director is a mentor, but at the same time is being mentored by her own spiritual director.  She is a soul-friend to whom your very shy soul may be revealed without fear or consequence of judgment. The director is a loving and gentle, yet inviting and challenging sounding board, allowing you to hear yourself and that “still small voice” of God calling you into God’s eternal future.

Spiritual direction is accomplished through one-on-one, sacred meetings of 45-60 minutes or longer. At the first session, both director and directee discern if they are an appropriate fit for each other. If so, a short-term covenant is created and other pertinent details are discussed. No fees are charged here at Grace (a session of spiritual direction typically has a fee of $40-$60). If you are interested in learning more about how the ministry of spiritual direction might support you on your life’s journey, please contact MaryBeth Tank Buschmann, Spiritual Director, at 708-366-6900 or mbuschmann@graceriverforest.org.