Making a Deeper Connection with God
Traditionally the start of a new year is bursting with New Year’s resolutions. Diets, exercise, and organization top the list of people looking to make lifestyle improvements. Another area that some people look to improve is their relationship with God. Some people look to the new year as a chance to deepen their relationship with God and find more relevant avenues to recognize the Divine in their lives. Spiritual Direction is an excellent tool to assist in enhancing one’s relationship with this loving Being that called all things into existence.
A typical spiritual direction session involves a conversation whereby one shares what has been going on in one’s life. All the challenges, conflicts, surprises and one’s prayer life make a good starting point. The spiritual director listens carefully to where God is showing up and asks questions to unpack God’s movement. One of the goals of a spiritual direction session is to help the directee become more aware of God’s workings in his or her life.
A great twentieth century theologian, Fr. Karl Rahner, wrote about the art of spiritual direction. His inspirational conclusion affirmed that the main end of spiritual direction should be helping a person find the presence of God in his or her life. All the scholarship and education one can attain helps little unless it’s aimed to reveal and guide a person to recognize the presence of a loving God and deepen a personal relationship with God.
When Fr. Solanus met with people in the front office at St. Bonaventure Friary, he practiced spiritual direction in this way. Fr. Solanus listened intently to the person before him. As he listened, he would guide the person to recognize the presence of God in his or her life. We know this because it was said that everyone who left Fr. Solanus’ presence felt that God was with them and that God knew them and the struggles they were going through. Remarkably, if Fr. Solanus indicated there would be a healing or if he said there would be no healing, everyone who left Fr. Solanus’ presence felt a deep sense of peace.
Fr. Solanus challenged those who came to see him to grow deeper in their faith through prayer and sacrifice. Essentially, Fr. Solanus reminded people that one’s relationship with God was indeed the most important relationship one could be a part of. He encouraged people to pray more, return to the sacraments, and make a sacrifice to support the Capuchin missions. If one would cherish the relationship, one would take it seriously. The relationship should not be taken for granted but rather be recognized as a most precious lifelong interaction with the Sacred. Fr. Solanus urged people to foster a real vibrant relationship with Divine Love.
The beauty of spiritual direction is that time is set aside to look seriously at one’s relationship with God, size it up, and make an active decision to grow to love more. A spiritual director is a companion to help guide the way into this Mystery of Love we call God.
Hospitality Coordinator - Solanus Casey Center