SEEKING SPIRITUAL DIRECTION is a thorough-goingly Roman Catholic book that may be surprisingly accessible to non-Catholic Evangelicals (like myself).
Dubay fervently believes that contemplation (not voluntary "meditation" but divinely infused "contemplation") is the proper goal of every Christian, not just of an elite corps of mystics, but he is quite clear that the road to holiness is just as narrow as Jesus said it would be, and that few find it. He offers nothing like Spiritual Victory in 3 Easy Steps, but he does set out a notion of the spiritual life that is surprisingly orderly. From the Catholic tradition, he discerns that the Holy Spirit works in definite ways, and that spiritual direction involves helping the directee to remove impediments to the Spirit's work. I get the impression that Dubay is a humble person but knows his craft well and is entitled to confident judgments about these things. Reading his books gives me the strong feeling that there's more real "science" to this field than I would have supposed.
Dubay believes that having a spiritual director is critical for growth in Christ, but he acknowledges that finding a spiritual director (especially one competent by Dubay's rigorous standards) can be very difficult. He offers suggestions on how to find one (but the non-Catholic will probably find his suggestions unhelpful). Chapter 7 of the book is "Can I Direct Myself?", but Dubay forbids you to read this chapter out of order.
Dubay is a thoroughly orthodox Roman Catholic, and this fact shows in his emphasis of such points as: that spiritual direction is ecclesial, and must take place within the ministry of the Church; that sacramental confession is a necessary prerequisite to spiritual direction; and that spiritual growth requires obedience to the Church and docility to its Magisterium. Non-Catholic readers will have to consider whether it's really honest to make a non-Catholic use of his insights, given that the non-Catholic will resist some of what Dubay considers essential and non-negotiable. On the other hand, Dubay's writing is exceptionally accessible to Evangelicals, because his use and citation of the Bible is so frequent and overt. (Parenthetical Scripture references are sprinkled across every page.) His references to our Lord's mother are unmistakably Catholic but extremely modest (see pp. 58, 126, 183, 202-03, 254, 262, 264). (Mary is almost absent from FIRE WITHIN.) Dubay is critical of sensationalism, such as that associated with Marian apparitions. He doesn't mention Medjugorge, but one senses that's what's in mind when he bemoans "sincere people more interested in crossing an ocean to visit the place of an alleged apparition than in visiting the Blessed Sacrament in their parish church" (p. 156).
I have two criticisms of the book: First, that Dubay's editor failed him, and left in some apparently unintentional repetition; and second, that some chapters employ a question-and-answer format that I found off-putting. (Is the questioner fictitious (i.e., Dubay himself)? If so, the naivete of the questioner and his effective compliments to Dubay are odd.) However, these faults don't by any means overwhelm the book's prodigious good qualities.
I find SEEKING SPIRITUAL DIRECTION to be a very helpful and encouraging mix of the theoretical and the practical. As an example of the "practical" end of things, he has a chapter entitled "How can I continue to grow?" that lists and discusses 44 "conditions for genuine progress". Some of them are common-sensical and predictable ("Determination", "Single-mindedness"), while others would not have occurred to me ("Particular examen", "Renouncing trivialities"). As another example, the chapter "Discernment: Assessing my progress" lists and discusses 19 "signs of progress"; and again, some of the signs are familiar, but others are less so ("Pilgrim frugality", "Rejection by the world", "Absence of egocentrism").
I found especially thought-provoking Dubay's distinguishing between sinning, on the one hand, and, on the other, being tempted to sin. It's a distinction that I feel I have always known theoretically, but Dubay's specific comments on it were very illuminating. Maybe the Accuser has duped us into false guilt for non-sins, both to distract us from our real sins and to discourage us from striving for spiritual excellence.
I recommend this book to those interested in spiritual direction or, more generally, in spiritual growth.