Sign Up for our Free Daily Email Updates

What is the difference between confession and spiritual direction?

GiuseppeMariaCrespiConfessionWGA05764Crop

Q: Dear Father John, what is the difference between confession and spiritual direction? A: Confession and spiritual direction are like partially overlapping circles: they share some common characteristics, but their centers, their essences, are distinct. The Distinction of Confession The essence of confession is the sacramental grace that Christ gives to our soul through the ministry of his priest.... Read More

Navigating the New Year

December 26, 2012 by  
Filed under Dan Burke, Program of Life, Root Sin

Christ Calms the Sea Featured

Lay people often overlook a source of deep spirituality and safety. One of the spiritual secrets of those in the religious life is a kind of spiritual guardrail system that helps them to know the path of peace on a moment to moment basis. This wisdom-born approach has aided thousands of ordinary people to become saints and to experience the heights of union with the Lord in this life. One part of this... Read More

Should I relax my “Rule of Life” during the holidays? – Part II of II

Q: Dear Father John, Is it right to relax one’s Rule during a holiday period (or a day off)? If so, what should we hang on to and what should we ‘shelve’? What about a priest with a fairly demanding Rule of Life? As you will have guessed, I am a priest and am unsure about my own practice. I also find that this question comes up among other clergy and among committed and faithful lay folk... Read More

Should I relax my “Rule of Life” during the holidays? – Part I of II

 Q: Dear Father John, Is it right to relax one’s Rule during a holiday period (or a day off)? If so, what should we hang on to and what should we ‘shelve’? What about a priest with a fairly demanding Rule of Life? As you will have guessed, I am a priest and am unsure about my own practice. I also find that this question comes up among other clergy and among committed and faithful lay... Read More

How can I identify my root sin?

Q: Dear Father John, I am not in spiritual direction right now, but I am trying to put together a program of life anyway. Can you give me some pointers about identifying my “root sin”? A: You are already on the right track. A program of life is worthless (well, almost worthless, at least) without having identified our root sin. Unless we understand the dynamism underlying our frequent faults and... Read More

How much of spiritual direction should focus on prayer versus sin and virtue?

Q: Dear Father John, How much of a discussion in spiritual direction should focus on moral issues, such as habitual sin and possibly that of grave matter which may not necessarily be mortal sin? So much discussion here is only about how to pray well, making a program for life, finding a spiritual director and things of that nature. What about living life every day? It seems to me that talking to a... Read More

What is a “program of life” and why is it important to my spiritual progress?

Q: Dear Father John, what is a “Program of Life” and why is it important to my spiritual progress and Spiritual Direction? A:  One of the enemies of good spiritual direction is excessive subjectivity.  We all have urgent personal issues that come and go; they occupy our attention and energy intensely for brief periods, but they really don’t touch the deeper regions of our character... Read More