Tag Archives: spiritual director

Spiritual Direction – What the Weary Soul May Need…

     After our early spring vacation to Arizona a few months ago, my life seemed to become exceptionally busy. One thing after another:

     work,

          facilitating a Boundaries group,

               house guests,

                    quick but packed getaway to Montana,

                         40th anniversary celebration,

                              several family birthdays.

     Hey, all good activities my extroverted personality loves. But, I recognized tell-tale signs my soul was weary. I knew it was time to get away and spend some time practicing the ancient spiritual discipline of solitude, which, by the way, is experiencing a 21st Century resurgence.

     My favorite place to do just that is in Cottonwood, Idaho, at St. Gertrude’s Monastery, home to a band of warm, hospitable, no-nonsense Benedictine nuns.

     Tension in achy neck and shoulder muscles dissolved as I drove through the wide-gated entrance. I know from previous personal retreats at St. Gertrude’s that for the next two full days and nights, my spiritual tank—running quite low about that time—would be filled.

     The room I requested earlier—the one with the deep bathtub—awaited. The clean, simply furnished room with quilt-covered bed and gliding rocking chairs positioned in front of a large window overlooking expansive Camas Prairie farmlands, has welcomed many weary souls. It feels safe, and I’m oh, so ready to spend hours reading, writing, walking around the beautiful grounds. I feel at some deep level a longing to be still. A time when I can know God simply and feel known by God deeply.

     I arrived just in time for dinner, which is what the nuns call the largest meal served at noon. The smaller evening meal is supper. Meals at St. Gertrude’s are a treat. The food is wholesome and uncomplicated. Each meal includes home canned fruit, raspberry jam and my favorite—dill pickles.

     After dinner, I returned to my room, sat in one of the comfy rockers, plopped my feet upon the soft ottoman and fell fast asleep. I’ve heard is said that sometimes the most spiritual thing one can do is take a nap. I agree!

     The phone alarm wakened me shortly before the appointment I’d scheduled to meet with the monastery’s spiritual director, Sister Lillian.

     What exactly is a Spiritual Director you may be asking?

     Hopefully, in the next few months we’ll all have a clearer understanding of spiritual direction. I’m excited to let you know that on September 5th I’m embarking on what feels like the most significant spiritual venture of my life. For the next two years, I will be participating in a program leading to certification as a Spiritual Director. A part of me is terrified; another part of me feels like I’m loco; while yet another part of me—probably the biggest part—feels as excited as a five-year-old waiting for Christmas!

     I will be focusing on dynamics related to spiritual direction in the future, including how I was impacted by my visit with Sr. Lillian.

Until then, I’m praying your soul will find rest…

Sue Reeve

S

Choosing a Path of Spiritual Direction…

     A few weeks ago, I met with my personal coach for our final session (at least for now). I mentioned to Jodi I’d been having vague thoughts that seemed bigger than my own imagination nudging me in a direction I wasn’t able to pinpoint. Jodi suggested working for a season with a spiritual director and gave me a name to contact.

     This recommendation has begun a new level of spiritual exploration for me. It just so happened (Coincidence? I think not!) the spiritual director lives in Springfield, Missouri, and Ron and I had a vacation scheduled to that very region. My husband and I enjoyed a great getaway to the beautiful Ozark region, and I was privileged to meet in person with Dr. Debbie, a spiritual director.

     I’m excited for this new segment in ‘listening on my journey…’ In addition to working with Debbie, I plan to join a group she’s leading on a spiritual pilgrimage study tour and prayer retreat to Spain in March, 2018.

     While in Spain, we’ll be visiting places significant in the lives of three influential 16th Century Christians: St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross and St. Ignatius of Loyola. We’ll also spend four days in a guided retreat on contemplative prayer.

     This opportunity amazes me! I can say truly, I never even imagined the possibility of such an experience! I’ll travel with my husband’s blessing but also with trepidation. I’m kind of short and not so strong, and wonder if I’m going to be able to hoist my bags into the plane’s overhead bin without the help of my strong, tall man!

     Prior to the pilgrimage, I’m reading different books in preparation. Today’s post includes photos Ron took while we enjoyed visiting in the heart of the Ozarks. Along with several photos are quotes I’ve read from St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross and St. Ignatius.

My favorite travel buddy! Ron and I shared many special moments in Missouri, including time in a pristine nature preserve, Dogwood Canyon. Recently, I read this quote about marriage: Our marriage isn’t perfect, but it’s ours. That fits for us! Ron and I are two imperfect people committed to a relational journey that’s “ours!” This tall guy and our marriage are among God’s very best gifts to me.

“Act as if everything depends on you; trust as if everything depended on God.” …

~ St. Ignatius of Loyola

Contemplation is nothing else but a secret, peaceful, and loving infusion of God, which, if admitted will set the soul on fire with the Spirit of love.

~ St. John of the Cross


“May today there be peace within. May you trust God that you are exactly where you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith. May you use those gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content knowing you are a child of God. Let this presence settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and every one of us.”

~ St. Teresa of Avila

God leads every soul by a separate path.

~ St. John of the Cross

Accustom yourself continually to make many acts of love, for they

enkindle and melt the soul.

~St. Teresa of Avila

Suscipe

St. Ignatius of Loyola

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding,
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.

You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.

Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace,
that is enough for me.

Debbie introduced me to this prayer of Ignatius. Suscipe is a Latin word meaning “Receive.” I’ve been praying the Suscipe daily and have also listened several times to a beautifully sung version. If you’re interested, check out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UrX_T5QLBXQ

I expect greater spiritual understanding as I enter through this new gate. I’m certain I’ll share aspects of my journey with you. My hope and prayer are that the Divine Spirit will use any word I write to bring glory to God and encourage you to pursue the special path on which God has chosen your soul to travel. I love to hear, and always honor, stories concerning your spiritual direction.

Sue Reeve

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