Holy Listening: The Art of Spiritual Direction

by Margaret Guenther. Cowley Publications [1], 1992.

For some, “having a spiritual director is like having your own personal trainer at the gym; it makes you upwardly spiritually mobile.” Author Margaret Guenther asserts, however, that spiritual direction is a ministry of compassionate presence that helps us define ourselves authentically and spontaneously in relation to our world and God. Explaining that spiritual direction is not personal training, psychotherapy, or even pastoral counseling, Guenther guides the reader into the many facets of spiritual direction. First, it could be thought of as a presence—a “holy listening” presence with attentiveness toward the directee. The spiritual director is charged with creating a hospitable atmosphere where the directee feels safe. Second, spiritual direction is teaching; the learner and teacher work at discernment and drawing forth insights and understanding. Third, it is a form of “spiritual birthgiving,” in which the spiritual director serves as midwife. With a separate section on women and spiritual direction, 'Holy Listening' can benefit experienced directors and directees as well as persons contemplating the giving or receiving of spiritual direction.