As this semester has been flying by, I am reminded again and again of the importance of having a deep spiritual life to even entertain the idea of being a pastoral counselor. Other than my own personal desire to grow closer to God, there’s also the desire to do so for my clients so that I can help them in their spiritual life. One way that I can deepen my spiritual life is to learn more about virtues and focus on different virtues that I may be struggling with. Virtues are nearly universal and other people can relate to these areas and they can be discussed and worked towards.
One virtue in particular that I have been working on is the virtue of charity, in my role as a counselor, but also in my social life. As any other human, it can be difficult to love certain people, and as a Christian it can be a daily struggle. As a counselor, we are called to love our clients unconditionally. This means that we love our clients despite their flaws, despite the mistakes they have made and continue to make, and despite their backgrounds. We may come across a client that we don’t particularly like, but we are called to love them anyway for their benefit.
By experiencing this desire for sainthood and moral maturity, we understand our clients better in areas where they may be weak. I firmly believe in using our own personal experiences to relate to our clients. While we are working towards developing these virtues, we can learn different ways to help our clients. This can apply to other areas other than developing virtues; by delving into scripture, sacred readings, and personal prayer time we can deepen our faith life, pray for clients, and while also knowing our clients, know what kind of spiritual life may best suit them.