Seeing God in action
See God Act: The Ministry of Spiritual Direction (Messenger Publications) by Michael Drennan SJ is a valuable companion to the spiritual director who seeks a comprehensive engagement with their directee. It draws on insights from spirituality, scripture and psychology, seeking to unite an understanding of people’s inner and outer journeys.
Drennan emphasises the importance of a full understanding of the person in relationship with a loving God. He writes that looking at the meeting point of the human story and God’s story provides the spiritual director with a basis for understanding and developing their own ministry.
Siobhan Murphy, a spiritual director who trained at Manresa Jesuit Centre of Spirituality, recently read the book and found it very helpful for her ministry. She says:
“Michael – being a counsellor and spiritual director – understands the complexity of the human person. He explores the journey of the Israelites leaving Egypt and connects it to our journey of growth, which is knowing self, accepting self and changing self.
Spiritual direction is about having prayer in life, having a relationship with God. While psychology offers an understanding of the human person, the Christian approach serves to enlarge the horizon and give other reasons for living a particular way when we keep our lives entwined with God.
The book encourages me to deepen my relationship with God – allowing me to surrender more fully to the Spirit guiding me. The daily Examen, which is mentioned in the book, helps to identify unfreedoms and stirrings of the Spirit.
Michael understands that there can be resistances to growth in spiritual directors and directees which needs to be attended to. He makes me realise that my growth is ongoing and nourishes my desire to be a follower of Christ.”
According to Drennan, only when people recognise that they live in relationship with God, self, others and creation can they become aware of how the Holy Spirit – the primary director – is present in their lives. Even in a prayerful and reflective life, further help may be needed to bring greater freedom from unconscious influences.
Michael Drennan SJ has been a Jesuit for over 40 years and involved in training for spiritual directors for 20 years. He is a former director of Manresa, the Jesuit Centre of Spirituality, delegate for Child Safeguarding for the Jesuits in Ireland and secretary-general of the Conference of Religious of Ireland. He currently works as a team member at the Spirituality Centre in Manresa, Dublin.
See God Act: The Ministry of Spiritual Direction by Michael Drennan SJ is published in Ireland and the UK by Messenger Publications and is priced at €19.95/£18.95.