I have had another meeting with the Vocations Director for this Diocese and this time we discussed the need for a Spiritual Director for each Aspirant to the Permanent Diaconate. I knew of this requirement but forgot about the urgency of it given that it is now the end of June. For those who do not know, each Aspirant must have a Spiritual Director assigned to him during the propedeutic year. The National Directory and Norms for Ireland states: "Each aspirant will have a spiritual director, approved by the bishop, to whom he will have regular recourse."
Spiritual direction is nothing new to me as I have had a lay Spiritual Director by my side since 2005 and he was what they call a Numerary of Opus Dei. Nothing wrong there either as they have a wonderful ability in helping you to join your journey in the world with your journey to holiness. In fact this is their charism. Holiness in the midst of the world.
As our conversion continued he informed me of the difficult financial position that faces the Diocese at present and that they may not be in a position to recruit Spiritual Directors for the seven of us. Instead they are considering asking us to choose our own Directors and then to let them know of those we are thinking of inviting to journey with us during the Propedeutic Year. The Director is to be one trained and well versed in matters of Spiritual Direction. Hmmmmmmm.
Of course I started thinking about those Priests I know who I think might be suitable. Of course I would be under the impression that all Priests are suitable, but I am aware that only a few of them are trained in this particular field. I know that all the Priests of Opus Dei are trained very well in this area (and in others) and I would have no difficulty asking one. Problem is that they have dedicated themselves to their lay members, obviously, and to those who are considering a vocation to the Prelature. Now since the whole thrust of the ley members is non-religious affiliation, I don't know if they would consider being a Spiritual Director to one who is in formation for a 'Religious' life. Suppose they only way to find out is to ask.
to show just how much they value holiness in the world we can see it here in the following excerpt. In September 2008, the Prelate of Opus Dei, Bishop Xavier was asked the following question: Can we speak of an Opus Dei charism? Is "sanctity in one’s work" still the pillar of its spirituality?
He responded: "Yes, and it always will be. Any honest work, any upright occupation, when it is well-done, finished out of love, can and must be the place where God is to be found, where we can serve others, and where we improve personally. God calls us not only when we pray but throughout the day. It would not be correct, then, to term some jobs or occupations "second-rate." Any job or work can be an opportunity to draw close to God. And not only at work; for married people, for example, the loving fulfillment of their spousal and family duties is also a true path to sanctity, just as is the priesthood, and the loyal fulfillment of civic duties for all citizens.
In short, God calls everyone to holiness—not just some of us, but all of us. We all can and should live in intimacy with God, because we are all his children, and he expects love from all of us.
Then, closely united to that central message, comes unity of life, love for personal freedom, and the eagerness to sow peace and joy everywhere in society, without rejecting anyone."
So! I can't see, bar the religious aspect of the Diaconate, where exactly the problem might lie in their availability to me. Holiness in the world in the midst of ones lay vocation is what will be expected of each and every Deacon that the Lord chooses as His own. To live sanctity in the midst of the world together with the charism of Ordination will empower them to act officially in the name of the Church and with the power of God. In fact all are called to live this way: to seek holiness in everything they do offering it to God as a Spiritual bouquet.
It is for this very reason i.e. the charism of holiness in the middle of the world that I begin to think that just maybe having a Priest of the Prelature as my Spiritual Director would be the most ideal. This is something I would have to run by the Vocations Director next time we speak.
On the topic of Spiritual direction we must ask ourslelves "What is Spiritual Direction?" I went about doing a quick search on the topic and found a lovely article on the whole area written by Fr C John McCloskey, who himself is a Priest of the Prelature of Opus Dei, on www.positionpapers.ie. It does the whole area of Spiritual Direction a great justice.
You can download the document, in pdf form, by clicking on the title of this post. Well worth a read.
Múlier, ecce fílius tuus, Totus Tuus!