Kardia Formation

Strengthening Spirit – Releasing Potential

Marlene Marburg Graduation Address


Here I Am, Send Me


Marlene Marburg PhD

From the memoir of the prophet Isaiah in the seventh century before the common era, concerning a vision he received which humbled him before God’s majesty and at which he received God’s forgiveness and invitation to speak on God’s behalf, I read:

 Then (Isaiah) heard the voice of the Lord saying:

Who should I send?
Who will go for Us?

I said:

Here I am. Send me. (Is 6.8)

After his commissioning, “Isaiah exhorts his hearers to place their confidence in God and to lead such public and private lives as manifest this.”[1]

We are doing three things here this evening. The first is to celebrate the graduation of Pauline, Olivia, Julie and Bob from the Kardia Formation Heart Wisdom Program. The second is to transition them to their work as Givers of the full Spiritual Exercises and spiritual directors in the Ignatian tradition. The third thing which we are fully aware of now having completed the first intake of the Heart Wisdom Program is that we are doing Kardia formation, and Bob, Julie, Olivia and Pauline are now Kardia Spiritual Directors. All these things give great joy to us at Kardia Formation.

So what is a Kardia Spiritual Director? Through their complete immersion in and emergence from the work of formation, the four participants in the Program have shown us what a Kardia Director does. They have prayed, listened and wrestled with God so that they could know Love and the grace of resurrection; so that they could communicate to their directees this grace through their very selves. Further, their directees have enriched them, called them forth to be the best they can be, which is nothing more and nothing less than allowing God to do the Christic work of human transformation. Kardia Directors sit with their directees as co-discerners and co-creators. They wonder with them, pleased not to have the answers to dilemmas before them. They would prefer to ponder and wait on the emerging themes and the eventual graces of co-creation. Kardia Directors have strong awareness of the way in which God moves them interiorly. They notice the movements towards life and towards depletion, and help their directees to become familiar with these movements and so make good decisions. Kardia Directors know what it is to incarnate their prayer: ‘Take Lord and Receive’, all that I am, my liberty and my entire will, and then to sense that God does with it what God will.

Julie, Bob, Pauline and Olivia now know the dynamics and graces of the Spiritual Exercises and how they appear or do not appear in the lives of people. They know frameworks for listening. They know the psychodynamics of themselves as spiritual directors. They are astute and intuitive. They are patient and generous. They are kind and trust in the slow work of God in human lives. They take the long view of life which allows acceptance and difference in the various stages of life, knowing that God is leading and loving all the way.

Kardia Directors know that they are on the journey. They are experienced in listening – yes – but they are unfinished creations, and they delight in each creative moment with God, when it feels joyful or hopeful. They trust God when it feels distressing or heavy.

Bob has embraced the work of formation with enthusiasm and energy. We have loved watching his slow and gentle self find a place in this work. Julie presents with eye-watering honesty which gives her directees permission to say whatever they need to say. We have shared in her courageous grace as she trusts her God in her becoming. Pauline has shown a joyful contemplative spirit which refuses to run ahead of the graces God wishes to give to her and her directees. Olivia has exhibited skill and communicated gentle love to those she directs. We are proud and pleased with all four participants in the Program. As Kardia spiritual directors, they are not clones; instead they are individuals seeking their authentic journey and relationship with God. Each one is listening carefully to the desires of God. Each is longing for God’s desires and their own desires to be united. Bernie and I are moved by their tenacity to grapple and be open to challenging self-revelations one after the other.

It has been our privilege to accompany, form and supervise Bob, Julie, Olivia and Pauline through their intensive and practicum work. We are called to this work and we take it seriously. And we also love it. We look forward to hearing the progress of each one as they settle into their roles and respond to their vocation to spiritual direction in the months ahead. We know that people will come to them to explore their relationship with God. We know this because people come to directors who have done the hard yards themselves, which our participants in the Program have surely done.

So thank you to each of you (Julie, Bob, Pauline and Olivia) for engaging with us so responsibly and with great grace. Bernie and I love you very much. Thank you to those of you who have supported each one in various ways and for coming today to celebrate this wonderful achievement with them.

In no particular order I invite Bob, Julie, Olivia and Pauline to address you regarding their experience in the Heart Wisdom Program.

Murphy, Roland E, and Bruce M Metger, eds. The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocryphal and Deuterocanonical Books: New Revised Standard Version. New York: Oxford University Press, 1989.

[1] Roland E Murphy and Bruce M Metger, eds., The New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocryphal and Deuterocanonical Books: New Revised Standard Version (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989). Isaiah notes on page 866.