By Theresa Tanko
JOS, NIGERIA—The Centre for Renewal continues to meet both the spiritual and psychological needs of participants who come into the centre.
The Centre trains Priests, Religious and Laity in the field of Spiritual Direction, which is one major activity that the centre is known and experienced for. Spiritual Direction is “a process in which a Directee (client) meets regularly with a competent Spiritual Director in order to seek some guidance, reassurance, discernment, and affirmation in developing a deeper, richer relationship with the Lord.” It is an interaction built on trust and facilitates development through insights and change in attitude.
Spiritual Direction deals not with problems as with the progress in the spiritual life of the Directee. The Spiritual Director chat the course of growth in prayer, signs of vocation, openness to God, self-knowledge, the knowledge of God and patterns of subtle temptation for the Directee pursuing a closer relationship with God. The Director assists the Directee towards a healthy spiritual relationship with God, self and others. This is enabled through attentive listening by the Director to the Directee. The Directee is believed to possess the skills and wisdom in responding to his/her spiritual needs therefore, the Director tries as much as possible to refrain from advice and ways that undermine the capability of the Directee.
The Spiritual Direction Programme is in 4 phases spread through the year. It covers a period of 9 weeks with a 30 day retreat between January and February of each year for participants who have not had such opportunity. The first Phase for 2014/015 kicked off with 10 participants comprising of 7 Priests, 2 Religious Sisters and a Lay woman.
Participants had these to say at the end of the Phase one training:
“It has been tremendously a spiritually fulfilling experience. It is a time of going back to life to face the future with hope and enthusiasm. It is a time of beginning anew. I realise I am clay in the hands of God who moulds and remoulds me into the texture that befits his name. There is no attachment to any but to the Lord who has created me, I therefore only need to dispose myself because I am safe in His hands. It is a journey of no return in Jesus. It is an enlivening experience. I am a flower blooming. Just as the river meanders through the channels with its tributaries emptying into the sea, so does God channel me into something through the river of life. The experience has been like that of sunset. It has brought inner healing and brought me to the reality of the cross. I feel at home and at peace within me. The Centre with its beautiful oratory has been for me a place of self emptying and an invitation to surrender all. It has been revealing, broadening, a wow experience, rejuvenating, refreshing, fraternal, re-strengthening, a place of discipleship, enlightening and renewing.”