Tell me about Spiritual Directors
#1
I returned to the Church a little over 4 years ago and heard folks talking about spiritual directors.  I always thought that was your priest, but apparently laymen fill the role as well and some even charge a fee.  Alarm bells went off when I heard that. 

What exactly do spiritual directors do that your priest doesn't?  Wouldn't a regular confessor fill this role? 

To be honest, I am not comfortable with the idea of a spiritual director, but don't want to discard that option out of ignorance. 

Any input on this would be appreciated.
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#2
Unless I start getting Private Revelations from Our Lord or Blessed Mother... I will never have one. Imagine if you unknowingly went to James Martin for spiritual direction? So unless one is receiving Private Revelation and are told to, I would not do it. Instead we should pray for our Priests, as they provide us with the vital sacraments and help educate us in the faith... they are not infallible though, and the best spiritual direction we could ever get is from Our Lord and Blessed Mother themselves through approved Private Revelation IMO.

God Bless You
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#3
It should be someone who has the time to devote to you and has the wisdom to direct you in, well, the right direction.  Normally that's a confessor that you go to regularly.  It's usually another priest if not your regular confessor.  In the East, particularly Russia, there is a tradition of the starets, who is kind of like the town wiseperson.  This is a layperson, but is respected for their wisdom.  Starets is a derivative of stary, which means "old," so a starets is going to be someone who has a lot of life wisdom - not someone in their 20s or 30s, or even 40s really - and also devout.  The priest's or deacon's wife might be a good option for women.  It's also common to visit a monastery and receive spiritual direction from one of the monks - ordained or not.

They absolutely, never ever NEVER should charge a fee; that's a huge red flag.  You might ask them if there is anything you can do for them if you're particularly grateful for their direction, but you should always be the person to initiate that.  It should never be brought up by the director.
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#4
(07-06-2020, 09:25 AM)jack89 Wrote: I returned to the Church a little over 4 years ago and heard folks talking about spiritual directors.  I always thought that was your priest, but apparently laymen fill the role as well and some even charge a fee.  Alarm bells went off when I heard that. 

What exactly do spiritual directors do that your priest doesn't?  Wouldn't a regular confessor fill this role? 

To be honest, I am not comfortable with the idea of a spiritual director, but don't want to discard that option out of ignorance. 

Any input on this would be appreciated.

The ones that charge a fee usually make a living doing spiritual direction. Often, these are members of religious communities, and the fees go to support the religious community. Also, whenever a priest or anyone else is asked to offer spiritual direction at a group retreat, they are often paid just as the retreat presenters often are paid.

Your everyday diocesan priest isn’t likely to charge a fee, and I’d go with someone else if one ever tried. It’s good manners to do things like buy them gifts for Christmas and take them out to dinner now and then, but most wouldn’t even accept a fee, let alone ask for it. The trick is finding a good priest who will make time to do it.

I once wondered the same thing.
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#5
(07-06-2020, 10:31 AM)Melkite Wrote: In the East, particularly Russia, there is a tradition of the starets, who is kind of like the town wiseperson.  This is a layperson, but is respected for their wisdom.  Starets is a derivative of stary, which means "old," so a starets is going to be someone who has a lot of life wisdom - not someone in their 20s or 30s, or even 40s really - and also devout.  The priest's or deacon's wife might be a good option for women.  It's also common to visit a monastery and receive spiritual direction from one of the monks - ordained or not.

Sounds like a good tradition to me, I like it.

I got to know quite a few Russians when I was in the Army years ago.  I went to Russian language school in Monterey for a year and all the teachers were Russian, many were Soviet defectors.  That was in 1982-83.  I got a chance to visit Russia in 1992 and fell in love with it, especially St. Petersburg.  Sorry, I digress.
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