How to know if ...

How does one know if they have found a good Spiritual Director, and/or Confessor?
I understand that a ‘good’ one would follow the Doctrines of the Church, yet, that is something that I have difficulty grasping, no matter how much I read or try to learn. So I would be reliant on my Spiritual Director to guide me.
How do I know if the person is guiding me well?

Thanks for any help you can give.
And thanks for those of you who advised and prayed for me to find a good Spiritual Director. :slight_smile:

Strive to find someone you feel comfortable in which you can confide your feelings & thoughts. You will know in your heart when you have found the right person. Pray to the Holy Spirit to give you strength, fortitude, guidance & direction to find your Spiritual Director. I’ll be praying for you.

You might call your local Archdiocese as they may be aware of Priests who are known for being solid spiritual directors. I suggest this versus searching on your own, as we can all select someone we like over someone that is good for our soul and needs. Selecting a good spiritual director does require prayer and some investigation. Make sure you let the Archdiocese know you want a Priest as a Spiritual Director, as sometimes they can also suggest other individuals who are qualified to counsel, but this means they can’t hear your confessions.

You might simply visit your parish priest a few times and see if that turns out to be a good option.

Spiritual Directors need not always be Priests as for some people who may be uncomfortable face to face with a Priest. That is why they also may be Deacons, Nuns or Brothers.

SoulSolace, do you already have a confessor and/or spiritual director (not the same role and not necessarily the same person). If so, is there some reason to question whether this person is giving good advice? Or are you concerned about how to evaluate a potential spiritual director or confessor?

I have to say that I don’t exactly spend time discussing Church doctrine with my spiritual director. In fact, there have been times when the discussion is turning too theological and he’ll pull me back by asking how this affects my relationship with God or how it matters in terms of how I live my life. In terms of discerning the right decision to make in a particular situation he’s not likely to say “the Church says X so that’s what you have to do” but rather work with me to explore the possibilities and potential outcomes.

If you have a confessor or director who you don’t trust or can’t rely on, then you should find someone new. This is a relationship based on trust and it’s absolutely essential.

Or lay people.

Some people are most comfortable when they share certain qualities with a spiritual director, so that a mother may want another mother as a director or a married person may prefer another married person. It’s really such an individual relationship and a little different for each person, just as our relationship with God is a little different for each person.


Correct, I inadvertently omitted Lay Persons.

Neither do my spiritual director and I discuss theological doctrine (ie: dogmatic theology). We get into moral and spiritual theology, but not getting into stuff like what the Church teaches on the Trinity, etc. That being said it is still essential to have a Spiritual Director who is faith to the magisterium. Your can’t have a heretic helping you to discern spirits. If I went to my SD and started telling him I was having locutions and they were telling me x,y,z, x,y, and z better be in accord with what the Chuch teaches. If it’s not, they must be disregarded.

My SD and I also don’t sit around “discussing my relationship with God”. We focus on the attainment of perfection in the spiritual life and what I need to do to become a saint in this life.

Personally, I would never have a SD who isn’t a priest. Having a priest for a SD allows us to deal with matters of conscience. His priesthood and office of confessor also gives him the grace of state that goes well above and beyond what a layperson or even a deacon would have as a spiritual director. Granted, I’m discerning a vocation so I have easier access to good solid priests for spiritual direction who are otherwise too busy to do fulltime spiritual direction with those who aren’t discerning a vocation or consecrated in some way (ie: priests, deacons, consecrated people, etc who require a SD.)

I had a Confessor/Spiritual Director, but for reasons I can’t go into in detail, it wasn’t a good fit.
My concerns with finding a new one have been that there are so many (it seems) who don’t follow the teachings. ie; if I forget to confess a sin, my last spiritual director told me I couldn’t confess any that I remembered in future after that confession. All were put down to scrupulosity, and yet, the sins I would remember were mortal.
I do have some problems with that (scrupulosity) but those problems have tended to make me not confess some things, rather than the usual opposite.
Kind of like debating over a sin because it didn’t have all three “requirements” to be mortal.
Proper reflection? That would get very twisted in my mind. What is proper reflection? Sometimes, after having committed the sin, I would look back and say “What was I thinking?”, and thus, if I could see the gravity after the fact, did I really see it before?
Well, many of us, after giving up a sin, can later see just how bad it was, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t proper reflection beforehand.
I think any of you can see how very complicated and confusing this can be. Perhaps more so because I am a convert. I know the tenets of the faith very well, but the Reconciliation, and other things, are very difficult. One site will say to confess anything and everything, another site will say “exact” numbers, another will say, if there was something that changed the nature of the sin, that needs to be confessed, and gone over with details, and yet another will say, don’t tell details to a priest as it can infringe on his conscience.

I thank all of you for your input. I tried to get here a few times earlier today, but it seemed like as soon as I logged in, something else would come up. :slight_smile:
Thank you for prayers too.
The one thing I know for certain is, I am sorry for all of my sins, and don’t want to go back to any of them, just wish I could get this whole confession thing done… (I know there will be more in future, but this one is a major hurdle)

God bless each of you.
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