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The Practice of Spiritual Direction

4.1  ·  Rating Details ·  206 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
The Classic Work on Helping People Become Closer to God

Fathers Barry and Connolly see the work of spiritual direction as helping people to develop their relationship with God. In thinking and practice they have absorbed the insights of modern psychotherapy, but have not been absorbed by them. This highly practical book reflects the authors' experience at the Center for Rel
ebook, 240 pages
Published September 11th 2012 by HarperOne (first published April 1st 1982)
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Feb 07, 2010 Tristy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spiritual, ministry
When I was in seminary, this was the only book about Spiritual Direction that was even close to being Interfaith. Now, I believe there are a few more options, but none really capture authors William Barry & William Connolly's openness and grounded advice and guidance. That being said, everything shared in this book has a Christian approach. The Williams just assume that everyone agrees that Spiritual Direction is always about the relationship with God and Prayer. I beg to differ and my priva ...more
Nov 16, 2010 Paul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very practical book which lays an excellent foundation for the practice of a form of spiritual direction that is entirely focused on helping people develop a growing, intimate relationship with a loving God. It helps spiritual directors facilitate, not dominate, the process. This book is very lucidly written and full of wisdom born of long, prayerful and practical experience. This book is must reading for anyone who is considering, or who is fulfilling, a vocation in this form of ministry. Thi ...more
Dec 31, 2016 Jeremy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ministers
This is the book I've been looking for! All the books on spiritual direction I've read to this point have been rather vague and abstract, which is understandable given the nature of spiritual direction. However, I've been wanting to read about the practical aspects of what spiritual direction looks like. This is that book.

I would not recommend this book to anyone who isn't currently pursuing the contemplative aspect of the Christian life as the book will likely be either uninteresting or even of
Apr 01, 2009 Nate rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really great introduction into the differing aspects of spiritual direction from two Catholic priests with open arms to Protestants. It taught me a lot of things about what I should be looking for as a directee, and how to help people overcome obstacles in their relationships with God. This really clarified the purpose of spiritual direction -- to help people attend to what God is saying to them through their life circumstances, and to respond accordingly. It's a primary foundation of Christian ...more
Amy Beth
This book is written to explain how to become a spiritual director, but it is just as informative for the person who wants to improve in prayer. The essence of the book is that becoming close to God is like any relationship--it takes time, authenticity, and communication. As in other relationships, periods of closeness will be intermingled with times when we pull away for many reasons. The best solution is to realize what our blocks are and to talk to God directly about them.
Aug 26, 2008 Melinda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent explanation of spiritual direction in both the director's role and the directee's role. It gives examples and comments and looks into contemplation..."Those who are helped by spiritual direction will, we hope work for the coming of the kingdom of God on earth..." p.199 Which is basically the whole point of the book and of spiritual direction.
Lori Neff
Oct 16, 2013 Lori Neff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent resource for those new to the concept of spiritual direction.
Steve Gambino
Nov 16, 2014 Steve Gambino rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books I've read on this subject.
Anne Roat
Oct 13, 2013 Anne Roat rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I use this as a textbook and my adult students really like it.
Feb 15, 2016 Vina rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure what I'm missing, with everyone else loving this book. I did really like the introduction.
Jun 04, 2012 Schwiedessen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Don't judge the book by the cover!
Oct 09, 2015 Elysha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very meaty book. Most of the pages I dog-eared or marked up. The bibliography is enormous and has tons of additional books I intend to read.
Laura rated it it was amazing
Oct 06, 2014
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William (Bill) Barry, a distinguished spiritual director and author, was born in Worchester, MA. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1950, studied philosophy in Germany from 1953 until 1956, and was at Weston College for theology studies from 1959 until 1963. Ordained a priest in 1962, Barry went on to earn a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Michigan in 1968.

In 1969, he began tea
More about William A. Barry...

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“It is frequently quite easy for people to recognize that they can move from a dull dialogue to a much more varied and colorful one by expressing feelings that they are aware of. Sometimes, however, we are not aware of the feelings that are there to be expressed. A director can then be helpful by asking: “Do you remember the last time that prayer was exciting or interesting for you? What were you talking about?” And then: “What happened to that topic?” Often after pondering such questions, we recognize that prayer went dull when a difficult topic came up between God and us, and we chose not to pursue it. The prayer will remain dull until we come back to that topic. When we do, the change from dullness to new interest is often dramatic. This characteristic of the dialogue with God in prayer can keep prayer firmly linked to the dialogue with God in life outside prayer. If a man is troubled by the way his wife and he are interacting, for example, and yet does not permit himself even to advert to the trouble in prayer, he may well find that his prayer is boring. The prayer, in other words, lets him know that he is not being himself with God. Attention to the quality of the dialogue with God helps us discern where we may be blinding ourselves to the light in our lives. Thus, one of the major criteria for the authenticity of our prayer and our lives is: “Is the dialogue working?” In other words, “Do I have something to say to God that means something to me? Is God somehow communicating to me something that seems to mean something to God?” If these questions cannot be answered affirmatively, the person would do well to ask God what has gone wrong. “Is there something you want to say to me that I don’t want to hear? Or is there something I don’t want to tell you?” By paying attention to the quality of the dialogue the person can learn to become more and more deeply transparent with God. The procedure could not be simpler. When we are expressing attitudes that are real and deep within us and relevant to our lives, prayer will be alive and engaging. When we are not, prayer will go dead. The director who has become accustomed to the fact that very often difficulties in prayer are due to the suppression of important attitudes and feelings does not quickly encourage directees to accept at face value statements like: “I had no time for prayer,” or “I prayed only on the run.” The director tends to ask what was happening the last time the prayer was alive.   M” 0 likes
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