James Empereur utilizes the Enneagram system of human development as a tool of compassion and as a map of experience. The author, a Jesuit, works as a spiritual director, which he defines as "a process in which a Christian accompanies others for an extended period of time for the purpose of clarifying the psychological and religious issues in the directees so that they may move toward deeper communion with God and contribute to ministry within the Christian community."

Empereur discusses the interface between the present day Enneagram studies and spiritual direction. He then moves on to chapters on the nine personality types (each with their particular energies, blockages, and gifts). He assesses adult development stages (the Conformist, the Conscientious, and the Interindividual) for each personality type and suggests how these people can image God, relate to others in more loving ways, and become more sensitive to their own thoughts and feelings. This is a very helpful resource for spiritual directors.