I asked him to share his thoughts about guiding people. Maximos Davies is a monk and priest at Holy Resurrection Monastery—he had a lot of wonderful insight. Maximos to give me a general explanation of what spiritual direction is about: “The hallmarks of authentic spiritual fatherhood are: mutual accountability, honesty with as little hypocrisy as possible and Holy Indifference. It is confidential but if a serious issue comes up, it is not sealed.
There needs to be clarity every time (are you going to confession or direction? Most of the time confession and direction happen at the same time, but not always and it should be made clear which you are doing.
The witness of the monastic life, even in times of struggle, is itself a gift and a blessing to encounter.
I could never say only one monk has given me guidance, I do however have a specific monk I go to for formal spiritual direction.
When I stand at the altar table to consecrate the bread and wine into the Eucharist, I know by faith the Holy Spirit is active.
But when giving spiritual direction, I can feel the Holy Spirit when sitting face to face with another human being.
With accountability everyone is honest with one another.
The Holy Spirit can still be at work in this director and a person can learn from them, but have prudence.A married person cannot give something to a spiritual father that is owed to their spouse.Now, receiving spiritual direction should be an outgrowth of the sacrament of marriage.I need to be honest, say what needs to be said, and leave it to the person to accept the advice or not.I must have Holy Indifference to the child’s response, this doesn’t mean I don’t care but it is a way of respecting my spiritual children as being children of God and not slaves; which prevents dependency too.
It is not my job to interrogate or keep track between sessions.