Here is a helpful reflection for spiritual directors to use after offering spiritual direction.
After offering spiritual direction, take some time to pray with what transpired. Begin by opening yourself to Christ’s presence. Descend with your mind into your heart and look into Jesus’s eyes. See his delight in you. This depiction of Jesus by Jack Jewell might help. Remember that Jesus isn’t interested in measuring your performance; he only desires to actively love you.
- Consolation: When did you experience consolation during the direction session? Consolation draws you toward God and is often experienced as a feeling of joy, peace, or wholeness. However, unpleasant feelings, such as sadness, boredom or helplessness, can also draw us closer to God. Take a few minutes to be with Jesus savouring your consolation. Talk with him about it. Is there anything else Jesus would like you to notice or receive?
- Desolation: When did you experience desolation during spiritual direction? Desolation draws you away from God and is often experienced as an unpleasant feeling such as anger or frustration. However, a pleasant feeling such as confidence or elation can also draw us away from God. Talk with Jesus about was going on in the session that evoked this desolation. How would Jesus like to be with you in this?
- Dialogue: If you prepared a verbatim, look closely at your part of the dialogue. Circle the statements or questions that drew the directee into their hearts and opened them to God. Underline what did you said that drew them into their heads or got them thinking about life or God. Take a few minutes to be with Jesus as you consider what you underlined. Invite the Holy Spirit to reveal to you what was going on for you in those moments. Talk with Jesus about it. Allow Jesus to speak or reveal himself to you in some way. If you become aware of an unfreedom or fear, ask Jesus for the grace you need or consider talking about this with your spiritual director.
- Gifts for your directee: Notice what the Holy Spirit did for your directee in the session. Give thanks for the grace you were given to lead your directee deeper. Give thanks that God will use whatever you did to deepen God’s love for your directee.
- Gifts for you: Name something you received from God in this direction session. Perhaps an image or insight that was given to your directee was particularly meaningful to you as well. Why might God be giving this to you now? What is God’s invitation?
- Let go; give thanks: Now, let go of all happened and didn’t happen. Give thanks for gifts received and God’s loving kindness for your directee and for you.
Thanks for the outstanding material. In addition to spiritual direction, this approach has so much application to other areas of life — like leadership or any other important conversation. We can prepare for conversations, be engaged during the conversation — but then, move on to the next activity without adequate reflection. We lose a valuable opportunity to fully experience what “transpired”, what God did, and valuable insight about future opportunities. I also like the separation point of “letting go”.
This material is helpful in many areas in my life. Thank you!
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Thanks, Dave. I just realized that this examen fits in perfectly with the theme of waiting which I am writing about for my upcoming posts. I like God’s timing with things.
Have a great day!
Wonderful posting Esther! I started receiving spiritual direction with Rev. Sharon Salomons and it is good to see the process that the directors engage in to be open to God before, during and after the session. I love the painting!
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Great to hear. I’m glad sd is going well for you. You might be interested to know that many spiritual directors attend peer supervision monthly. (In fact, SoulStream will not put you on their list of sds if you are not in regular supervision.) If Sharon doesn’t have a peer group like this, she may want to join ours. She’d be welcome to give me a call.