An Encouraging Word — Group spiritual direction

Fr.Knott-fLet the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be acceptable before you, Lord. Psalm 19:15

One of the reasons I started writing this column in the first place was to satisfy the large number of people who looked to me for spiritual direction when I left the

Cathedral of the Assumption. I kept getting invitations from individuals who wanted me to be their personal spiritual director. There was no way to do that, but I hated to tell them no.

I have always considered parish preaching by the pastor as “group spiritual direction from the pulpit,” but after I left the Cathedral, I did not have a regular pastor’s pulpit. It occurred to me one day that if they would give me a regular column in The Record, I would have an even bigger pulpit to do group spiritual
direction for an even larger number of people.

Who knew then, that with this column, I would have concluded 12 years of doing this kind of group spiritual direction? It might be just the most effective thing I have ever set out to do and the thing that brings me the most satisfaction, week in and week out. The responses I get are so encouraging when people tell me how much reading these columns helps. I laugh when I hear how they tape them to the refrigerator, send them to relatives out of state and even link them to their blogs.

One of the most frequently recurring questions I was asked when I started talking about retirement was, “You are not going to quit writing for The Record, are you?”

Some of those questions had an air of panic in them. The answer is: “Of course not! I get too much out of writing them!”

It is so much a part of my own spiritual life that I could not stop writing even if they quit publishing them. Knowing that I have to come up with a column every week forces me to think, pray, read and observe in a more intense way.

Since I am not paid for writing these columns, I am not opposed to shamelessly promoting my own books. So, if you’d like this past year’s columns in book form, or columns from previous years, Volumes I through XII of FOR THE RECORD are available at as well as at Tonini Church Supply Company, 966 Breckenridge Lane, or 502-897-7190.

Writing is not for cowards. Writing requires the disciplines of observation, reflection, organization and, yes, it requires nerve — the nerve to put yourself out there for people to laugh, attack, ignore or applaud.

It is scary, but it is worth it. It helps you understand yourself more, as you get valuable feedback, negative and positive. Even critics can help. As Frank A. Clark said, “We find comfort among those who agree with us — growth among those who don’t.”

For the last 12 years, thanks to my fans and thanks to my critics.

Father J. Ronald Knott

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