A spiritual director needed for salvation?


Is a spiritual director needed to be saved? And if you cannot find a qualified spiritual director would be better to not have one at all? Anybody’s thoughts on this matter?


Necessary for salvation? No - what makes you think that?

And what do you mean by ‘qualified’? I know there’s courses and things that SDs can go through, is that what you mean?

To my way of thinking, really, the idea of an SD is someone who is a spiritual guide and mentor. So all that’s really needed is that they give sound and helpful spiritual advice, and you don’t need to go through a course or anything to be able to do that!


Hello John,

The one spiritual director we need for salvation is Jesus, God the Son. He, with and in most intimate communion with God the Holy Spirit, are very present to us personally to guide and lead and counsel. Their counsel is one, their direction is one: we are directed to God the Father, our vocation.

We all need help on this journey - God made us, His Church, to help one another toward holiness and fruitfulness. Some members of the Church are particularly gifted to help guide and direct others, because of the authenticity of their faith, their personal sanctity, their habitual cooperation with God’s grace - their wisdom, prudence and unction. These are rightly called “spiritual directors”.

These days there are schools for spiritual direction, which “certify” the candidates and give them a certain credibility to others. Schools can help. There is much to learn about the science and the art of spiritual direction - but no school can make a spiritual director. Only God can give the charism; He seeks the holy and humble soul to serve Him in this way - one whose example and wisdom point to Christ. Good spiritual directors are very, very rare.

It is helpful to know that a person might have several helpful spiritual friends and companions along the journey. Some can help along part of the journey, and then maybe God will provide a different person to help along another part of the journey, when perhaps more advanced experience is needed.

It can be very, very helpful to read the saints and good spiritual writers of the Church, to help you discern who is giving you good advice, and who is not - no matter what their “qualifications.” God will lead us, if we will deeply and truly say “Yes” to Him.


I know some people who have spiritual friends, I believe the Irish call them Anam Cara. They meet frequently to discuss their spiritual life. It’s not really direction, but it is a help to them to just be able to share their journey with someone.

On going direction isn’t a necessity, but sometimes people just need to sit with someone to discuss issues. Also there is a bit of difference between spiritual direction and pastoral counseling. Direction focuses on the spiritual and can get pretty deep. It also involves almost total trust in the director and often obedience to his or her direction. It is a committment on both the part of the director and the directee. It involves committment to keep each other in daily prayer. It is not therapy and good directors will see if a person really needs to see a therapist or counselor.


I sure hope not, or I am in trouble!
I’ve had an impossible time finding a spiritual director, but God is still working on me…


I don’t think so, but on the other hand I feel that I do have a spiritual director. Christ is considered a spiritual director to all. But outside of Christ I have someone who I really consider a spiritual director and go to him to a lot of advice. I also have a spiritual director for Christ Renews his Parish


A spiritual director is very useful but not necessary for salvation.

A poor spiritual director can do more harm than good. So if you cannot find one who understands prayer and is absolutely faithful to the teachings of the Church, you’d be better off relying on the Holy Spirit, a good confessor, and the teachings of the Church for now.


This is really good advice. Also find a director that does not try to impose his or her own spirituality upon you. A good director lets the Holy Spirit lead, and as my director says, “I won’t stand in the way of the Spirit.”


PhilotheaZ says it well:thumbsup:

I believe that it was St. Catherine of Sienna that said, “not 1 in a 1000 is worthy of giving spiritual direction”.

I also believe that it was St. Francis de Sales in Introduction to the Devout Life, that told Philothea that “not 1 in 10,000 is worthy of giving spiritual direction”. Am I correct on these quotes or does my memory fade?

Peace, Graubo


There are those in the Orthodox “lung” of Catholicism that have said that a spiritual father is needed for salvation. I wanted to see what a Roman Catholic view of this matter would be.

I don’t think that a spiritual father is needed for salvation, but I do think if you have a qualified one he could help you come closer to God. However, finding a genuinely qualified spiritual father in this day and age is very difficult. May I share with you what I read concerning having a qualified spiritual father from a Russian Orthodox saint named Bishop Ignatius Brianchaninov. If anyone feels that what Bishop Ignatius Brianchaninov has to say is not correct, please feel free to correct his teachings in the light of Roman Catholic teaching:

(from “Works”, volume IV, pp. 92-96 by Bishop Ignatius Brianchaninov; as quoted from the book “A brief Survey of Asceticism”)

It is obvious that the mortification of a fallen will, which is affected so sublimely and victoriously by the will of the Spirit of God, cannot be accomplished by a director’s fallen will when the director himself is still enslaved to the passions. If you wish to renounce the world and learn the evangelical life said, St. Simeon the New Theologian to the monks of his time, ‘do not entrust yourself to an inexperienced or passionate master, lest instead of evangelical life you learn a diabolical life. For the teaching of good teachers is good, while the teaching of bad teachers is bad. Bad seeds invariably produce bad fruits. Every blind man who undertakes to guide others is a deceiver, and those who follow him are cast into the pit of destruction according to the word of the Lord: if a blind man leads a blind man, both will fall into a hole (Matthew 15:14)…’ Those elders who take upon themselves the role of the ancient holy elders without having their spiritual gifts should know that their very intention, their very thoughts and ideas concerning the great monastic work of obedience, are false; let them know that their very outlook or way of thinking, their reason and their knowledge are self-delusion and diabolical prelest which cannot fail to give birth to a corresponding fruit in the person guided by them.

If there is no good director available," continues Bishop Ignatius, "it is better for an ascetic to be without one altogether then to submit himself to an inexperienced one… It is a terrible business to take upon oneself duties (of eldership) which can be carried out only by order of the Holy Spirit and by the action of the Spirit.


I think the “experts” from the Roman Catholic Church (for example, Saint Teresa of Avila) would agree that a poor director is worse than no director at all.

Remember that the Holy Spirit is our primary Director. Sometimes we can use a little help in discerning what is coming from the Holy Spirit and what is coming from our own wounded wills (or worse, from Satan).


No a spiritual director is not needed for salvation but I would recommend that one get one if they wish to grow in their spiritual life.

A spiritual director is necessary for one who is discerning a call to religious life or the secular clergy.

As for “training”. Not all of the training out there for spiritual directors is good. Some of it contains things that I think are questionable. Like dream interpretation and Jungian psychology.


Jesus is salvation to all those who come to Him with a heart of repentance confess Him as Savior and obey Him as Lord.


Are you saying that everyone who says to Jesus, “Lord, Lord” (cp. Matt. 7:21) will be saved? :rolleyes:


Yes Jesus is our salvation but if you die in a state of mortal sin you are not saved. Believing in Jesus is not sufficient to be saved.


I look to the saints for spiritual direction (as my uncle did and was a fine example for me). The Catholic Church has Canonized them for a reason, and they have lived lives like we are and dealt with the same challenges we face at different times on our journey.

There are times strangers/acquaintances have hit home with me too. Sometimes family/friends are too kind to touch the spot that needs touching at the moment.

The Bible too is meant to guide one.

I do not have a regular spiritual director as such, other then Christ… and He gets His message to me one way or another. Sometimes through others, sometimes through His Creation (nature) (pets), sometimes through the Bible, sometimes simply by waking up on a different side of the bed (sleeping on it).

Christ is not limited IF I do not limit Him… anything and everything; everyone and anyone can do His Will… and all are sinners if they are human. St. Paul said to “test all things”… “to see if they are from God”… with ‘things’ this is a one-time occurrence; with ‘others’ it is a continuous occurrence.

Our Faith is to be in God… and any/every way He decides to do His work in us.


This is excellent advice, especially for those who do not have a good “living” spiritual director available to them.

Just about the best “spiritual director in a book” that I have found is Introduction to the Devout Life by Saint Francis de Sales.


I second for that. :slight_smile:


I love Introduction to the Devout Life, too. The Imitation of Christ and Divine Intimacy are also on my top ten list of books that steer me in the right direction.

Because I moved around a lot, I could never keep a spiritual director long enough to help me. Frustrated, I started going to Eucharistic Adoration a few hours a week and frankly, I get all my spiritual questions answered there. Unlike human directors,the Lord already knows my whole history, always gives me good advice, and doesn’t charge me anything. You won’t find a better deal than that!


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