There are some who easily accord too much importance to direction, there are others again who do not value it enough.
To those who minimize the utility of direction, one ought to recall traditional doctrine. To be able to consult an experienced master at certain times and in certain states of soul means much, otherwise there would be according to St. John of the Cross, a grave risk of going backwards; of leaving the right path; of becoming hesitant; or at least of suffering some setbacks in spiritual progress.
In not a few cases the tendency is to exaggerate the importance of direction. It is necessary then to listen to those who counsel moderation.
"Many souls suffer more from too much direction than from a lack of it," writes the Lazarite M. Portal. "I am not in favor of much direction," writes Dom Marmion, and he loves to cite the incident of that descendant of Thomas More, Lady Gertrude More, who when dying was visited by her director, the Benedictine, Dom Baker. When the abbess informed the patient of his visit she answered simply, wishing to indicate that God was giving her all strength and light, "I have no need of man."
I must remember that I should learn from my directors, as soon as possible, how to determine upon the right course of action myself, not through pride and self-sufficiency, but through a judicious liberty of spirit, which does not hesitate in more difficult and delicate situations to seek counsel, to ask advice, or to make a manifestation of conscience in all simplicity and modesty.
"Holy Spirit, You who are the interior Master, teach me to use as You desire those whom You have chosen as intermediaries for my soul in order to help it mount towards You, directly, courageously, peacefully."
Adapted from Meditations for Religious
by Father Raoul Plus, S.J. (© 1939, Frederick Pustet Co.)