Consolation is a word used to describe the realization of God’s drawing near. It often includes an increased sense of experiencing his love or an increased sense of one’s own faith in God or hope for the future, and that is quite encouraging. In fact, consolation and encouragement are in many ways synonymous.

Consolation and encouragement are good outcomes to look for in spiritual direction. That is not to say our goal is to finish every session in a state of great consolation. Sometimes, that simply will not be the case. And spiritual direction is not a coaching session, so our goal is not necessarily to finish every session encouraged or build skills in contemplative practices.

But our goal is to seek, together, the presence of God, which is the essence of consolation, and discern his activity in your life. God’s presence, his activity in our lives, and being guided by the Holy Spirit is the Pearl of Great Price (Mt 13:45-46). It is hard to imagine anything more encouraging than finding that.