When I started in this role as vocations director two years ago, I quickly realised that I would need to develop the skills necessary to help men to chart the waters of discernment. It's a real privilege to accompany another person like this. But it requires certain skills.
So, I enrolled last September in a course in spiritual accompaniment here in Cork. It takes two years and involves attending a meeting for one weekend per month. I look forward to these monthly meetings with twelve other participants.
We share the fruits of our reflections and what we have been assigned to read. We learn the skills of accompanying another person on his or her spiritual journey.
I've noticed that these weekends have really helped my own self-awareness. It's important for the director to know that he is not the finished and perfected product!
One learning that I want to share with you concerns busyness and activity. It's hard to develop as a person if one is constantly running from one activity to another. It's vital to stop and listen in order to know God, to know myself, and to grow in understanding of how I relate to the world.
Spiritual accompaniment helps me to become more aware of God’s presence, both in my life and in the world around me. This awareness opens up the door to increased responsiveness to God. And that makes room for growth in becoming more Christ-like. This is all advice that I already give to discerners. But it's nice now to hear it myself.
Awareness...responsiveness...growth, that's quite a package but it's worth it!