Some people seek the assistance of a spiritual director to help deepen their relationship with God. Spiritual direction in the Ignatian tradition assists people in understanding their deepest desires, the obstacles that get in the way of realizing those desires, and how God is present in all things. In some cases, using the method of discernment, spiritual direction presents an opportunity to make momentous decisions, such as choosing a vocation or making a career change.
What does spiritual direction involve? James S. Torrens, S.J., associate director of the Cardinal Timothy Manning House of Prayer, explains it this way: "What it involves is sitting and listening, on a regular basis, to what people choose to tell you of their own story, their own pilgrimage....In this spiritual conversation, the director absorbs what he or she hears, so as to feed it back when appropriate, ask for more clarity at times, perhaps register a misgiving, and above all rejoice in the emerging pattern of God's work....The one called 'director' is really a spiritual confidant. Our real director on the way to God has to be the Holy Spirit."
A number of Jesuits and trained laypersons around the California Province serve as spiritual directors. Individuals interested in pursuing Ignatian-style spiritual direction are encouraged to contact the Jesuit Retreat Center of Los Altos or the Loyola Institute for Spirituality in Orange, Calif. Other Jesuit ministries also can refer individuals to local resources for spiritual direction.
"Waiting can be the most intense and poignant of all human experiences — the experience which, above all others, strips us of affection and self-deception and reveals to us the reality of our needs, our values, and ourselves."
W.H. Vanstone, The Stature of Waiting