The Center for Christian Spirituality
The Center for Christian Spirituality (CCS) at General Theological Seminary is dedicated to cultivating attention to the Spirit's presence in people's lives. It offers several programs of study to train lay and ordained Christian leaders in the ministry of spiritual direction. It also serves as a resource for those within the GTS community who wish to receive spiritual direction. Finally, the CCS sponsors events and public lectures to enrich the spiritual formation of all people.
What is Spiritual Direction?
"Christian spiritual direction. . . unfolds under the continual impulse, inspiration, and action of the Holy Spirit. Spiritual direction, therefore, involves three persons: the directee, the director, and the Holy Spirit." - Gene Barrette
"A spiritual director is then one who helps another to recognize and to follow the inspirations of grace in his [or her] life, in order to arrive at the end to which God is leading." - Thomas Merton
"The true director is the Holy Spirit; the human director is merely a guide who helps track the Spirit through the landscape of the directees' lives." - Duane Bidwell
"How is spiritual direction undertaken today? Women and men in different Christian traditions now form a covenant of formal relationship in which one person gives total attention to the other's desire to grow in faith, hope, and love. The director gives herself or himself to listening and supportive conversation so that the other may grow spiritually. Director and directee have a common desire, that the directee may grow in discernment, that is, grow in ability to notice, understand, and respond appropriately to the Spirit's presence and direction in everyday life." - Joann Wolski Conn
"In direction the task is not to find the most comfortable way to live in society, but to try to discern how the Holy Spirit may be guiding us to play our part in establishing something of the Kingdom of God in our part of the world." - Gordon Jeff
"How do you know whether you have the gift to be a spiritual director? The indicator is this--that long before you had or sought a credential, people were already telling you their personal stories and seeking your input." - Thomas Hart
"Spiritual direction is two poor sinners sitting down together." - Benedict Groeschel
Discernment Questions for Potential Spiritual Directors
What are the signs that I am called to this ministry?
What are the gifts I bring to spiritual direction?
What are my limitations, or growing edges, at this time?
What are my basic suppositions about. . .
. . . God?
. . . Christ?
. . . the Holy Spirit?
. . . spiritual experience?
. . . human relationships with God?