August 17, 2018

Worship and Evangelization Outreach / Teresa Venatta

Are you being ‘called to listen’? If so, take that step

One of the “personality gifts” that I inherited from my father was that of not knowing a stranger.

My father would engage almost all the people he encountered in genuine conversation, truly desiring to learn something about or from the person he just met.

As a child and young adult, I remember noticing how the prospect of sharing one’s story or ideas with my father would make those he met come alive! I believe we all desire our stories and journeys to be heard and honored, that in this telling we are called forward to more intimate relationship and personal growth.

If any of this resonates with you, maybe it is a divine nudge toward the ministry of spiritual direction. Fundamentally, this ancient ministry serves to offer spiritual companionship to those seeking greater connection and growth with God.

This offering is not through counsel, but by truly listening to another’s journey to the deepest part of themselves. The spiritual director’s listening is an act of love in accompanying their directees on a path to self-awareness and the discovery of a more intimate and loving relationship with God.

In this age of cynicism and busyness, spiritual direction can provide a means to make our Christianity more personal, practical and transformative. The loving ear of a spiritual director can embody how God meets us where we are and loves us through the joys and challenges of life.

Through the leadership of Father Patrick Beidelman, executive director of the archdiocesan Secretariat for Worship and Evangelization, the Archdiocese of Indianapolis has been proactive in supporting this ministry within our parishes. We are always looking for qualified and well-formed spiritual directors to participate on the archdiocesan directory.

The first step in becoming a spiritual director is to personally find a spiritual director and begin your own journey of self-discovery in Christ. This not only provides the means to experientially understand the dynamics and merits of this ministry, but also the forum to discern whether or not God is “calling you to listen.”

Honest self-assessment opens the door for prayerful dialogue with God. This open door is an invitation to growth and intimacy with God—growth and intimacy that begs to be shared with others. This is the call of spiritual directors: to experience and relate to God in such an intimate and spacious way that one desires to share this gift with others.

In order to respond to the promotion of the ministry of spiritual direction, the archdiocese has created the position of discernment companion to facilitate smooth and prayerful connections between seeker directees and a spiritual director.

The next step is to reach out. Are you being invited to experience the fruits of spiritual direction? And maybe then, “called to listen”? If so, we hope to hear from you.

(Teresa Venatta is a discernment companion and spiritual director with the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. She can be reached at

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