Two disciples were on their way to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem, and they were sharing their fears and doubts over all the things that had happened to Jesus of Nazareth over the last few days, how he was sentenced to death and crucified. While they were discussing these events, someone drew near and walked along with them… He asked them, “What are you discussing with each other as you walk along?”
They stood still, their faces filled with sadness. Then one of them…answered him, “Are you the only stranger in Jerusalem who is not aware of all the things that have taken place there in these days?” When the stranger asked, “What things?” They spoke of Jesus’ trial and death and of their dashed hopes and dreams and the confusion they were feeling.
Then the stranger said to them, I think you are failing to understand and you seem to doubt all that the Prophets have spoken! Was it not necessary that the Christ should suffer these things and enter into his glory?” Then, beginning with Moses and going through all the Prophets, he showed them where to look and illuminated the passages from the Scriptures that pertained to Christ.
This story shows Jesus as the exemplar spiritual director. Here are two disciples who find themselves at a fatal crossroad in their lives. Their hopes and dreams have been shattered and they don’t understand, they can’t see beyond the current events that have brought their world crashing down around them. They are stuck. So, the two just decide to leave, run away and not face their disappointment. A total stranger joins them on the road who seems to be indifferent to what has taken place in Jerusalem. The stranger listens to their anxiety, fears and doubts and he suggests that their grief and confusion may be preventing them from seeing the truth of the situation. So, without telling them what to see but showing them were to look he takes them through the words of Moses and the Prophets and assist them in seeing why the Christ had to suffer and the astonishing lesson about the design of God. When the stranger revealed who he was at dinner and then disappeared the two disciples said to each other; “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
The goal of a spiritual director is to help the directee see life in a different way. In a sense to open up their spiritual vision so they can see the world from a gospel perspective. God’s design for our life and for the world are not the same as ours. We cannot understand why God does what He does. We have to trust. The disciples couldn’t understand why Christ had to die. They were filled with doubt, confusion, fear, anger, anxiety, the same emotions we feel when life doesn’t turn out as we like because of sickness or a divorce or a death of a loved one or a job loss. Because of our proximity to whatever is happening we can’t always understand and we may be prevented from seeing the truth of the situation. Of seeing God’s hand in what is happening. This is where the spiritual director steps in. They listen to the directee, offer a suggestion, listen some more, offer another suggestion and maybe show you a bible verse or suggest a book. They never ever force their views or opinions upon the directee because this would interfere with the work of the Holy Spirit. But the most important role of the spiritual director is as a friend who is sharing in your journey. Walking with you and making your difficult journey easier and hopefully bringing peace and joy to your spiritual life.