Saturday, September 09, 2006


By Kathi Scarpace

Pastoral ministry is often challenging. There is the actual work of ministering to people in need, coordinating and supporting the various parish groups, envisioning the direction of the parish, and keeping up with the day-to-day tasks of administration.

In addition, lay pastoral ministers do this work while balancing the needs of their families and themselves.

To me, ministry sometimes feels like walking on a tightrope. One step forward; balance again. Wait. Feel the rope. Don’t look down, keep my eyes on the goal.

In order to keep things in balance and in proportion, my spiritual director is a valuable asset. When a breeze blows or when the next step is a little difficult to take, my spiritual director can help steady and assure me just as a balance pole helps a tightrope walker.

I have had different spiritual directors over the course of my ministerial life. The kind of director I like is someone who I can trust, who is insightful, and who challenges me to look at myself.

I visit my current director once a month. I bring my prayer life, the state of my health (mental and physical), and any decisions I am considering to the meetings I have. By visiting my director monthly, I find myself accountable for my spiritual life.

I try to be as honest as possible with my director. For example, if I am not praying regularly, I say that. If I am angry about something important, I address my anger. My director helps me to listen to what God is saying to me.

If you don’t have a spiritual mentor or don’t know where to find one, perhaps your diocese has a listing of recommended people. Often local monasteries and retreat houses offer spiritual direction.

Because of the level of the communication, it is important to find someone trustworthy, who listens well, and whose experience of God and church is compatible with your own. In choosing someone, I have found that being simple about it helps.

God has led me to the right person each time.

Ministry is not easy. The church offers help through spiritual direction. Consider taking advantage of this help.

I think it is a blessing.

(Click here to view the rest of the many wonderful articles that await you in, America's Catholic Lifestyle Magazine)

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