Tilden Edwards, an Episcopal priest, is founder and senior fellow at the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation in Bethesda, Maryland. This paperback is a follow-up to Spiritual Friend (1980) and offers "a fresh basic text for spiritual directors and directees that views spiritual direction and its context of the spiritual life and modern culture from the vantage point of twenty additional years of experience."
During that time, the adventure of tending the soul has grown with hundreds of programs in theological schools, university graduate schools, retreat centers, jurisdictional spiritual centers (dioceses, synods, etc.), and independent spiritual centers. Edwards predicts a proliferation of lay directors in the future. His definition of this ministry is "the meeting of two or more people whose desire is to prayerfully listen for the movements of the Holy Spirit in all areas of a person's life."
The author presents a brief historical survey of spiritual direction and then goes on to discuss how the following qualities of the soul are nurtured in spiritual companionship: spontaneous compassion, freedom, appreciation, awareness of creation's interwovenness, holy wisdom, desire for the allness of God, and confident trust.
Listening is an essential element in the spiritual work of the director and the directee. Edwards examines the challenges inherent in the devotional path, the path of action, the path of knowledge, and what he calls "the path of fighting it all the way." Chapters on what happens in a session and the art of recognizing a spiritual companion are very informative and helpful. Among the practices Edwards covers are journal keeping, scripture reading, practicing the Presence through the day, and following the liturgical seasons of the year. All in all, this is a substantive and edifying overview of the art of spiritual direction.