Expert Answer Forum
Spiritual Director QUESTION from Roy Forker May 21, 1999 Dear John Paul Ignatius,
Are there cybernet Spiritual Directors?
If not, how do you recommend that I find one?
I've been thinking about this for several years and have approached a couple priests, one was uninterested the other one and I did not gel which is pretty important in this matter.
It just occurred to me this morning, that a cybernet Spiritual Director might be exactly the answer. I also had the thought that it might be a little too impersonal a medium to do justice. However, I've found a number of people even in chat rooms who have helped me deal with this or that.
So again, are there cyber Priests or Monks who offer Spiritual Direction via the computer? I realize that confession must be in person, but I understand it's better to have a Confessor and a different Spiritual Director.
I appreciate whatever guidance you can give in this matter.
Thanks in Advance, Roy
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius on May 25, 1999 Dear Mr. Forker:
Yes there are people doing Spiritual Direction over the Internet -- but there are some limitations.
In times past even saints received spiritual direction through the mail. Email is just another form of mail.
The limitation, of course, is the lack of face-to-face interaction, but especially with the various technologies available today -- such as Internet Phone (to call long distance for free), Internet Video Phone (so you can see each other), regular phone, ICQ or other chatroom programs for live text interaction, etc. it is possible to conduct spiritual direction over the Internet.
While face-to-face direction should always be considered first priority, many people just simply cannot find an orthodox, loyal, and good spiritual director locally. The good ones may be booked up and others may be flakes.
So, yes, in my opinion, spiritual direction can be done over the Internet, regular mail, etc. especially if one supplements email with Internet Phone, or regular phone discussions and the like.
Finding someone who will do long-distance direction is anopther matter however.
As far as what to look for in a director and what to do if you cannot find a spiritual director, the best book on thie subject is the book by Father Thomas Dubay entitled Seeking Spiritual Direction.
Here is a link to order this online: Seeking Spiritual Direction: How to Grow the Divine Life Within
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