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Q&A: Ignatian Spirituality & Retreat

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1. What is Spiritual Direction?

Spiritual direction is the help given by one believer to another that enables the latter:

  • to pay attention to God's personal communication to him or her,
  • to respond to this personally communicating God,
  • to grow in intimacy with this God, and
  • to live out the consequences of this relationship.

The focus of spiritual direction is the directee's experience, especially religious experience, rather than concepts. As the retreatant shares his or her relationship and interaction with God in prayer and daily life, the role of the spiritual director is to encourage, facilitate and foster the directee-God interaction. Spiritual direction is neither counselling nor therapy, but a ministry. An Ignatian spiritual direction has the following characteristics:

  • is based on the dynamics of Spiritual Exercises
  • is flexible, adaptable to the dispositions of the retreatant
  • is a companionship, with respect, trust and openness
  • fostering the deeper human and spiritual desires
  • understanding and discerning different movements of the spirits

2. Why do we need Spiritual Direction?

In the inner journey of spirituality, we need companions so as to prevent ourselves from falling into prejudices, misinterpretations, or influences unconsciously. Spiritual direction serves the following purposes:

  • The spiritual director acts as a companion of the retreatant in one's inner journey through support and encouragement in listening and understanding.
  • Through articulation of prayer experiences to a spiritual director, the retreatant can reflect and relish on one's inner experiences.
  • The spiritual director can help the retreatant to pay attention to one's repeated patterns, emerging themes or inner movements in prayers.
  • As and when necessary, the spiritual director helps the retreatant to discern the movements of the spirits.

3. How does Spiritual Direction works?

Each spiritual direction session is about 30-45 minutes. The retreatant meets the spiritual director each day during the retreat period to share on one's prayer experiences, which may include:

  • The scriptures used, the experience and process of the prayers
  • In what way had the retreatant experienced or not experienced the presence of God, and the interaction with God
  • How does the retreatant feel about one's state such as sleep, diet, physical state, inner thoughts and feelings, etc.
  • The desires of the retreatant
  • Different feelings and movement of the retreatant

 

4. How much is Spiritual Direction Fee?

Different retreat houses have different ways of handling the spiritual direction fees, some used fee-charging, and others welcome donations.

Following the Jesuit tradition, Xavier House has all along adopted an offering approach for spiritual direction fee. On one hand, we are facing the increase in cost of this ministry due to stipends, formation and various expenses in recent years. On the other hand, we are cautious that fee charging may create hindrance for some retreatants to receive the service.

After our discernment, we would like to maintain the practice of offering, so that retreatants can support the development of this ministry according to their financial situations. At present, the cost for provision of each spiritual direction session is about HK$200.

If your financial situation allows you to offer more, you are actually supporting other brothers and sisters in need, as well as the development of the spiritual direction ministry.

 

 

Address: 27 Peak Road, Cheung Chau, Hong Kong   Phone: (852) 2981 0342  Fax: (852) 2981 0749  Email: