Alan Jones is Dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco and former professor of ascetical theology at General Theological Seminary in New York. In this new edition of a 1982 book, he explores the ancient art of spiritual direction. In the introduction, he writes, "The spiritual director or friend of the soul is someone who listens to us lovingly and accurately and, by the gift of caring attention, reveals to us God's open heart."
Throughout the book Jones uses the images of battle, pilgrimage, and sacrifice to describe the essence of Christian companionship. He concurs with Eastern Church tradition where the four requirements of a spiritual guide are love, discernment, patience, and an utter frankness and honesty on both sides of the relationship. Since he sees the mature Christian life in terms of the choices made in the face of temptation, suffering, and conflict, Jones believes that the spiritual director should be a wounded healer who helps in "the hatching" of our hearts.
The friend of the soul must have a firm grasp of the scripture, prayer, and worship. Best of all, this person relies on the grace of God to provide an imaginative vision of the Christian adventure.