48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
This book was provided to me by Emmaus Road in exchange for an honest review. I try to be fair and review books in the order I am sent them, but I have to admit that it was hard for me to wait for this book because the cover kept drawing me in. It was a real test of patience not moving this up in my queue.
For those of you unfamiliar with Daniel Burke, he runs a website entitled Roman Catholic Spiritual Direction and also writes and is the Executive Director of National Catholic Register. The primary aim of this book is a call to holiness and drawing closer to God through spiritual direction. I would attempt to explain to you what spiritual direction is, but I would not do Mr. Burke justice. One should just know that people find this spiritual direction under a spiritual director, generally a religious but sometimes a lay person. The book stresses repeatedly that one should not attempt to be their own spiritual director.
This book is intended to be read slowly, prayerfully, and if possible in front of the Blessed Sacrament. However, this is hard to do as a lot of the chapters are short and all of them leave you longing to read more. In this book, you will find advice on who to find as a spiritual director, questions to ask of your spiritual director, evaluation (to be done under spiritual guidance) of your root sin and where you are at in your spiritual journey. These last two can be done by yourself on a superficial level, and if you are honest with yourself, the answer will probably humble you at how far away you are from God and how much closer you could be.
Although this book is a Catholic book, it has a very Eastern Orthodox feel, not that that is a bad thing. Our Orthodox brothers and sisters in Christ place more emphasis on spiritual direction than we do in the West. Hopefully, we will see more good Catholic spiritual directors emerge as we are all in need of guidance on how to draw closer to God. I give this book 4.5 out of 5 stars, and the 0.5 star deduction is because there were several typos in the book. It is still a great book though and worth reading, and as the book said, pray that you may find a spiritual director to guide you.
35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
on December 5, 2012
For Christians, spending eternity in heaven is our ultimate goal, yet most of us know very little about what it takes to get there. Most of us were also never taught that God longs to have a deep and personal relationship with each and every soul, while we are still living our earthly lives, yet it's true!
There are many wolves in sheep's clothing who call themselves spiritual directors, and there are many who believe that spiritual direction today is nothing more than being companions on the journey. Jesus called this the blind leading the blind. Don't be fooled; our eternal salvation is at stake, and spiritual direction is as important for the laity as it is for religious and the clergy. We are each responsible for our own sanctification.
Based on the time-tested teachings of the Church, Sacred Scripture, and the lives and writing of the saints, (Who have made the journey before us) Dan's book is a reliable guide to get us started, or to provide new insight for the spiritual journey, the journey of a soul to God.
30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
on December 3, 2012
If you have any desire to deepen your relationship with God, this is the book to help you do just that. Navigating the Interior Life walks you through where your relationship is with the Lord and then shows you what you need to do to strengthen that relationship - step by step. And, the book shows you how you can reach out to others so you don't have to venture on that journey alone.
Whether you have studied scripture before or just know the basics of the Mass, you attend Mass daily or going only for Easter or Christmas, you were born Catholic or have converted to Catholicism, you have an understanding of Spiritual Direction or you have never even heard of the term before, this book is an enlightening outlook on how you can deepen your relationship with the Lord - all you need is the desire to do so.
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on January 18, 2013
I thoroughly enjoyed reading 'Navigating the Interior Life' by Dan Burke and found it most useful in providing a means to be introspective about one's spritual life. It helps one obtain a way to sort out the direction to go more succinctly to rise higher to God. The Spiritual Evaluation chapter is a real eye opener but is a practical means of determining where one is on the spiritual journey. It helps you understand your root sin(s) and their corresponding virtue(s) and provides some helps on how to attain that virtue. I have found this book most enlightening and helpful and because of it, I have determined a Rule of Life for me. One needs to be serious and work towards improving their spiritual life if they want a deepening relationship with God and this book will help you in this regard.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on January 24, 2013
This book was not about a subject that I was familiar with even though I'm a senior and a cradle Catholic. It was recommended to me by a website and I followed up and ordered one. Let's just say that it came at a very appropriate time in my life where I'm searching to find meaning in what I think and do in my spiritual life. It has provided be with an honest insight of myself. At first I found it to pull me down a bit as I started to dig deep and reflect on my root feelings and ideas. Then slowly it brought me back up and made me realize that everything has a reason behind it and now I feel as though I might be ready for a spiritual director. I have managed to read the book during my time with our Lord during Eucharistic Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. I would read, then look up and reflect on what I was reading and ask Our Lord to help show me the way. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is soul searching. The charts for self evaluation are well worth the price of the book especially if one feels that they are free of sin. I liked the book so well that I bought three more to give to friends for Christmas.
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on March 15, 2013
The great Dominican St. Vincent Ferrer once said: "A person who has a director by whom he allows himself to be guided, whom he obeys in all actions, great and small, will more easily and quickly arrive at perfection than he ever could by himself, even were he gifted with an extraordinary degree of intelligence and supplied with books explaining the nature of all virtues and the means of acquiring them."
As Catholics, we know that there is nothing more important in our present life than that of preparing for our future life. This is exactly what Dan Burke's new book, Navigating the Interior Life: Spiritual Direction and the Journey to God helps us do. In Navigating the Interior Life, Burke prepares us for the next life by leading us to holiness in this life.
Navigating the Interior Life is a comprehensive guide to spiritual direction, which answers all the questions one might have on the topic in a concise manner. In a clear, candid, comprehensible style, using the teachings of the Catholic Church, the Scriptures, and the wisdom of the saints, Burke leads us on the path to holiness by explaining exactly what spiritual direction is, how to find a spiritual director, and how to get the most out of spiritual direction. Sharing from his own experiences, as well as the teachings of the spiritual masters, Father Garrigou-Lagrange and St. Louis de Montfort, Burke emphasizes the necessity of Marian devotion and consecration in developing sanctity. Through self-evaluation charts, he helps us identify our predominant faults and root sins. Sharing the teachings of some of the Doctors of the Church, including St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, and St. Catherine of Siena, and others, he defines and demonstrates the three ways of the spiritual life: the purgative way, the illuminative way, and the unitive way. He also enables us to determine where we are in our spiritual journey and then makes practical suggestions on how to progress from one level to the next. He even helps us develop a rule of life - a daily spiritual schedule - to keep us on the path to sanctity.
As someone who has had spiritual direction from three different spiritual directors in my adult life, I found Navigating the Interior Life to be an excellent book, which provided new insights and information on spiritual direction. To me, the most interesting bit of information in the book was the affirmation that lay "spiritual mentors" are equipped to provide spiritual direction and that even Pope John Paul II had a lay "spiritual mentor" prior to becoming the Bishop of Rome.
Most importantly, Burke's book helped me to realize that, as a Catholic, if I am not progressing in the spiritual life, I may actually be immobile, stuck in a state of apathy or even worse, I may be backsliding due to spiritual or emotional blind spots, which could result in serious sin and alienation from God. On the other hand, if I am involved in spiritual direction, my spiritual guide can help me move forward by diagnosing the difficulty, interpreting it for me, and by helping me overcome the difficulty. Also, if I am going through a period of dryness, the spiritual director can recommend ways to rekindle the fire of love I have for Jesus in my heart.
In summary, I found Dan Burke's Navigating the Interior Life to be a clear, concise, candid, and comprehensive guide to understanding the interior life that every Catholic should have in their hands, particularly during this Year of Faith. It provides step-by-step instructions on how to cultivate an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ, how to nurture that relationship, and how to grow in that relationship through spiritual direction. I highly recommend it.
23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on December 2, 2012
The idea of getting a "spiritual director" is misunderstood by many. Burke defines it as a relationship between the Holy Spirit, the director, and the directee with the main focus being union with God. He points out that Jesus set up a world in which people need people through interpersonal relationships. Even Jesus put himself in the position of being born of the Blessed Mother and submitted to her care. Scripture also shows that although Jesus revealed himself to St. Paul in a personal encounter on the way to Damascus, St. Paul was still told to receive spiritual direction from Ananias.
Navigating the Interior Life covers everything from how to find a spiritual director, what to expect, and spiritual helps such as a "Spiritual Self Evaluation" and insights on the spiritual life shared by some of the Church Doctors. Burke explains, "My hope is that this simple effort will provide a light on the path to the great, but often forgotten treasures that lie waiting for any heart who sincerely desires them." As one who just recently began receiving spiritual direction, I understand the excuses NOT to get a spiritual director are many, but none trump the advantage of getting on a secure path to these treasures.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 14, 2013
This book is a how-to-design a strategy plan for you to reach total unity with God.
It is well grounded in research from more than 2000 years of spiritual wisdom. It's concise size and practical advice is very well written; leaving the reader ready to engage in the work set before him. The book guides the reader in a step by step process in:
1) Understanding the role of a spiritual director
2) Making one's self assessment
3) Understanding the process from sinner to saint.
What I loved about it, is that it shows us mortals what OUR part in the process to holiness is; how to organize it; and what to do about it. The rest we can rest assured that assuming we're doing our part, God WILL come to meet us in the process and take us deep into contemplation, with the hope being total union with Him, of course.
A must have to anyone reading thru spiritual books and wondering how in the world do I lay a plan that is tangible, concrete, measurable and realistic towards holiness. This book will help you craft the roadmap and once crafted -everything else falls into place and the reader understands exactly where and how it can aid him towards the summit of his holy journey!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on February 28, 2013
by Joseph Pronechen, Catholic journalist
Dan Burke's book is a near perfect guide answering every question a person might have, and even must have, about spiritual direction. The author treats everything from what spiritual direction is and is not, to why we should have spiritual direction to grow more quickly in spiritual life, to how to find and choose an excellent spiritual director. That's a major point he details thoroughly because there can be problems if we pick a director not in tune with Church teachings who will only lead us off in the wrong direction. NO chance of that if we follow Burke's wise advice and guidance. He gives us all the details on how to pick a real, true spiritual director and avoid the wrong ones out there today.
And he writes this very wise guidebook (it also has an imprimatur) so clearly and with such great examples and wonderful analogies that anybody can easily understand everything that's needed to know what spiritual direction is, how it will help them, and how to find the best spiritual direction they can. Burke navigates us safely and wisely through every aspect of spiritual direction. You won't find a better or clearer guidebook, especially for beginners, but also for those already in spiritual direction.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on December 6, 2013
Love this book! I am on my second reading. Burke makes the process of spiritual direction and delving into the deepening of one's spiritual life clear, including "worksheets", without dumbing down the topics. I highly recommend this to anyone who is considering spiritual direction or who is currently in spiritual direction.