I came across a wonderfully analogy for the pursuit of the interior life in Dan Burke’s book, “Navigating the Interior Life.” He also maintains a website promoting the themes in his book. I highly recommend the book to anyone whose prayer has led them to an awareness that a spiritual director is needed. While you’re still searching for one, this book is a godsend.
When we begin the work of a serious commitment to holiness, we will discover that the field (the soul) that we desire to plow and plant is riddled with rocks (sins) that need to be removed in order to make progress. At this point of discovery, the faithful farmer begins to remove these big obvious rocks (usually mortal sins). At some point the farmer becomes satisfied with this effort, pulls the plow out of the shed and sets out to prepare the soil, but then is startled at a disconcerting discovery: Though all the big rocks are gone, there are many more rocks that are smaller (venial sins) that had not been seen before. The big rocks had properly drawn all of the attention. Now that the big rocks are clear, a more detailed and sometimes more rigorous effort is then needed to further prepare the field. The same is true with the progressive nature of root sin identification and clarification as we grow in spiritual maturity.