ANTHROPOLOGY OF CHRISTIAN VOCATION
A PEDAGOGY FOR INTERGAL HUMAN FORMATION
(A PSYCHO-SPIRITUAL PERSPECTIVE)
1. The Title of the Course
2. The Objectives
01: INTRODUCTION: ANTHROPOLOGY OF CHRISTIAN VOCATION AND
A. An Overview
B. Role of Anthropology in Formation
C. A Christian Critique of Modern Psychology
02: NEW PERSPECTIVES AND CHALLENGES FOR FORMATION TODAY
I. The Paradigm Shifts
5. Alienated-Contextualized and Inculturated
6. Relief works-Empowering ministries
7. Institutionalized-Frontier Ministries
9. Formation for Mission-Formation in Mission
10. Clericalized – Laity
II. The Changing Scenario Regarding Priestly and Consecrated Life Today
1. Although as Catholics we are numerically a small minority in the country, the quality of our presence among the poor and marginalized is no doubt a powerful witness to God’s Kingdom.
2. The emergence of vibrant local churches among the indigenous people (Dalits and Tribals) augurs well for the future of the Church in Asia and Africa.
3. There is a paradigm shift in the theology of Missions today and as a result the approach to evangelization is becoming more and more inclusive with greater emphasis on promotion of justice, human rights, gender equality, ecology, inter-faith and inter-cultural dialogue, etc.
- 4.Many attempts are being made all over the country by priests and consecrated persons to join hands with groups of people who are actively involved in the integral liberation of the marginalized and the socio-economically deprived and weaker sections of our society.
- 5.A lot of conscientization is continually taking place among priests and consecrated person at the national, regional and local level through regular contacts with secular movements and social activists on current issues affecting the life and ministry of the Church.
- 6.The Church in India is still blessed with many vocations both for Priesthood and Consecrated life.
- 7.We are really fortunate to have many centers for the ongoing formation and renewal of priests and consecrated person and also for the training of formators.
- 8.While recognizing some of the positive aspects of priesthood and consecrated life today, we cannot deny the fact that there is all round malaise which is affecting our life and ministry today. The globalization for example is taking a heavy toll among many priests and consecrated persons in terms of consumerism, careerism and individualism.
- 9.The post modern culture propagated by globalization seem to totally undermine and disregard, what for centuries were upheld as foundations of human civilization, like family, the Institution of marriage, religious and cultural tradition, etc. The emerging modern culture is in fact in a very subtle way making inroads in all spheres of modern life through a dictatorship of relativism.
- 10.As a consequence of relativism life-long commitment and fidelity to a way of life (priesthood, consecrated life, marriage, etc.) which is founded and guided by Gospel Values (Transcendental) is non-acceptable to modern man and woman. As a result we are witnessing high rate of divorce, single parents, living with partners without marriage, gay marriages, abortions, foeticide and infanticide of girl children, euthanasia, etc.
- 11.While accepting the tremendous benefits resulting from the modern means of communication like Internet, Cell, etc. one cannot deny the adverse effects of these very tools in poisoning the minds of modern man and woman who isolate themselves more and more into a very impersonal world of virtual reality.
- 12.It seems the motivation for priesthood or consecrated life is not strongly founded on religious experience, but is influenced by social security, careerism, ambition for upward social mobility, etc.
- 13.It appears that there is a serious lacuna in the human and Christian formation among many priests and consecrated persons due to which the quality of our interpersonal relationship in the community and with people in ministry is at times quite deficient.
- 14.Quite a few priests and consecrated persons seem to lack the inner psychological and spiritual stamina to face criticism, opposition, failure, emotional and physical stress, and therefore easily succumb to moods and discouragement.
- 15.Many of the young as well as senior religious display serious difficulties in handling their emotional conflicts, and therefore suffer from hostility, fear, envy, inferiority, authority complex and passive aggression.
- 16.There seems to a widespread mediocrity in prayer life, community life and ministry
- 17.The bureaucratization of leadership has apparently reduced the role of leaders as mere functionaries or administrators thus deviating from the Gospel style of leadership that consists of being Servants, Stewards and Shepherds.
- 18.The lack of Role Models among formators, leaders and formed members has led to a sort of disillusionment among the young priests and consecrated persons.
- 19.The formation to priesthood and consecrated life in its present form is heavily focused on acquiring information, knowledge and learning of skills and not adequately directed to a dynamic process of self-transformation
- 20.Quite a few priests and consecrated persons suffer from either ‘burn out’ or ‘early retirement’ syndrome for lack of an ongoing formation.
III. The Challenges to Priesthood and Consecrated Life Today
1. To be a man/woman of God, prayerful/God-centered, another Christ (alter Christus)
2. Human: compassionate, affectively mature, sensitive, courteous
3. A person of credibility with transparency and moral integrity
4. Agent of Social Justice at the service of the underprivileged and a prophetic voice of the poor.
5. A man/woman of inter-faith dialogue.
6. Promoter of team work and collaboration among laity, religious and priests.
7. A sign of contradiction in the post modern relativistic, secularized and consumeristic culture through a life of simplicity and renunciation.
8. A champion of reconciliation, peace and harmony in a society that is fragmented by religious fundamentalism, criminalization of politics, corruption, casteism, regionalism, etc.
03. CREATIVE FIDELITY FOR APOSTOLIC EFFICACY
- 1.A historic overview of Consecrated Life
- 2.The Identity of priests and consecrated persons
- 3.The Essential Characteristics of Consecrated Life
- 4.Creative Fidelity for Apostolic Efficacy:
a) The goal of Consecrated Life is to create an alternate society, community, world on the basis of the gospel.
- b)Consecrated persons are called to prophetically challenge the power of the Prince of the world that in many ways dehumanizes the society.
- c)Consecrated Life authentically and radically expresses and fosters the Gospel Values of the reign of God.
- d)POVERTY is a vow for stewardship, to be a voice for the poor, a divine call for an authentic living of the GIFT ECONOMY as opposed to ‘commodity economy’.
- e)OBEDIENCE is a vow for partnership with Christ in pursuit of the Will of God and a divine call to form a DISCIPLSHIP OF EQUALS where power and authority are exercised in a spirit of service in solidarity with the poor and the marginalized in opposition to relationships characterized by hierarchy, status, power and privileges.
- f)CHASTITY is a vow for relatedness to be passionate lovers of Christ and a divine call to embrace universally with God’s COMPASSIONATE LOVE, the poor and the marginalized empowering them to realize their God-given dignity and honour as opposed to a relationship where human persons are treated and reduced to commodities whose usefulness is measured by his or her productivity in terms of beauty, wealth, pleasure, etc.
- g)Consecrated life is meant to keep alive the memory of Jesus who:
- i)redefined the people of God by challenging social boundaries
ii) enacted the Reign of God through the Table-fellowship
iii) accomplished the Reign of God through the Way of the Cross.
- h)Refounding of Consecrated Life Today.
- i)Conclusion: the relevance of Consecrated Life consists in being a ‘fire in the ashes’.
04: THE JOURNEY TOWARDS SELF-DISCOVERY
1. The Existential human Reality
2. The dialectics of DIVINE AND HUMAN Relatedness.
3. Christian Vocation.
4. Becoming Human and becoming Free.
5. Integrate Human Development.
6. The Process of SELF-TRANSFORMATION.
7. Redeeming the Masks – The False Self
8. The discovery of SELF-WORTH.
05: MOTIVATION IN RELATION TO VOCATION – FORMATION – MISSION
1. PSYCHIC LEVELS OF LIFE: } SOCIAL
} SPIRITUAL – RATIONAL
2. The Structure of SELF:-
SELF- IDEALS (SI)
A. IDEAL SELF
INSTITUTIONAL IDEALS (II)
Present Behaviour (PB)
B. ACTUAL SELF
Latent Self (LS)
3. THE CONTENT OF SELF:-
- 1. Functions of Attitude: b. Ego Defensive
d. Value Ex[ressove
2. The Process of Attitudinal Change:-
4. A. The Three Dimensions in Human Person:-
I. THEOCENTRIC Conscious
III. NORMAL – Pathology
5. The Conscious Motivation
6. The subconscious Motivation
7. Consistencies and Inconsistencies
8. Defense Mechanisms
9. Self-Actualization Vs Self-Transcendence
10. Conclusion: The Road to Self-Transformation
06: HUMAN FORMATION FOR AFFECTIVE MATURITY
1. Introduction: Heb. 2:14-18; 4: 14-16
PDV: 43, 44
2 What is Affective Maturity?
3. Areas of Affective Maturity:-
1. Learning to live in community or presbyteries
2. Psycho-sexual Development and Celibacy
3. Psychological Health: Emotionally balanced
4. Refinement of Character
5. Public Relations
6. Transparency, honesty and truthfulness
7. Commitment to Justice, Human rights, freedom, equality, etc.
8. Physical Health and Fitness
9. Positive outlook on life
10. Taste for culture and the arts.
4. Stages of Development of Affective Maturity
1. Stage when
2. Impulse control
Little control. Often acting out on the level of basic needs as well as psychosocial needs like dependency, insecurity and aggression.
Autonomy Control in the case of Basic needs. Mixture of acting out of sexual needs, aggression and dependency and growing confidence in mastering them through, counter-action, nurturance etc.
Sense of control over psycho-social needs and capacity to integrate needs in the service of one’s vision and values.
Fear and self-gratification.
Pleasing and giving in order to get. Defensive.
Ideals and Values
Personal vision of life.
Minimal.Responsible neither foractions nor
Responsible for actions. But not to consequences.Autonomy is stressed more than responsibility
Freedom with respon-sibility to one’s vision of life as well as to society.Responsibility to actions and con-sequences.
5. Sense of morality
What is bad is what
What is bad is what
Society does not approve
What is bad is what goes against universal principles like ‘love’ ‘greater good of all’ etc.
6. Social stance
7. Response to
Through identification and imitation.
Through Internalized Vision and values.
8. Quality of maturity
Psychological imma-turity or disturbance + Vocational
Psychological immaturity and maturity + vocational incon-sistency and con-sistency.
Psychological maturity +
5 The origin and structure of Emotions
6. The Process of Affective Maturity:-
I. EMOTIONAL RESPONDING
II. RATIONAL & SPIRITUAL RESPONDING
7. Cultivating Emotional Intelligence (EQ)
5. Social Skills
8. Management of Emotions
9. Signs of Affective Maturity
10. Concluding Remarks
07: A PEDAGOGY FOR INTEGRAL HUMAN FORMATION
1. The Changing Patterns Regarding Vocation Promotion and Formation to Priesthood and Consecrated Life Today.
The Existential Reality:
1. The Church in India is still blessed with many good vocations coming from Families
imbued with deep Christian values and Gospel ideals.
2. It is encouraging to note that there are still vocations from nuclear families even if
3. The recruits of today are friendly and sociable, spontaneous and outgoing.
4. They are very much alive and at home with the audio-visual electronic media Culture of today.
5. The vast majority of the candidates come from the economically weaker sections of our society, from medium or large rural families, where priesthood and consecrated life is still esteemed as social status.
6. It is to be noted that very few promising young men or women who are imbued with religious convictions, excellent in character, good in studies, endowed with Leadership skills, etc. are attracted to the priesthood or consecrated life.
7. It seems that many of the candidates do not have the adequate support of Christian and Human Cultures, both of which are essential for the vocational growth of the candidates.
8. It appears that among many of the candidates the motivation for priesthood or consecrated life is not strongly founded on a religious experience, but is influenced by social security, careerism, ambition for upward social mobility, etc.
9. The youth of today are more at home with audio-visual culture and therefore values of silence, recollection, study, reading, etc., are very hard to practice.
10. Today’s candidates seem to lack the inner psychological and spiritual stamina to face criticism, opposition, failure, emotional and physical stress, and therefore they easily succumb to moods and discouragement.
11. Many of the candidates have serious difficulties in handling their emotional conflicts, and therefore suffer from fear, inferiority, authority complex and passive aggression.
12. In quite a few cases, the candidates, influenced by parents or priests or nuns, come with the intention of getting a good education or to learn the English language, so as to improve their prospects of getting jobs later on.
13. Candidates coming from small nuclear families with one or two children who have been shielded and protected by their parents, have difficulties with regard to discipline, hard work, spirit of sacrifice, capacity for endurance and perseverance when they f ace trials and hardships.
14. Today’s candidates might show zeal or enthusiasm for hard work, sacrifices and challenges, but only on a temporary basis. There seems to be a lack of inner stamina for a sustained commitment, without expecting instant results or success.
15. Many of them are also exposed to sexual acting out during childhood and adolescence period, and therefore carry with them a lot of moral and psychological guilt.
16. Peer group identification seems to be quite a prevalent phenomenon among the Candidates and therefore they tend to yield too easily to group pressures, and thus find it very difficult to stand for certain convictions and principles.
17. The environment of formation houses by and large perpetuates a prolonged adolescence among the candidates and this has a negative impact on the exercise of freedom with responsibility.
18. The Formation as given today caters, by and large, to the growth of academic intelligence and not an emotional one. As a result while exercising the ministry, many of the priests and religious display serious emotional and personality problems.
19. Lack of healthy and exemplary models among formators sometimes causes disillusionment among the candidates.
20. While there is an improvement with regard to academic qualification of teachers and formators today, yet they seem to lack the competence and skills to accompany.
2. The Guiding Principles for Integral Human Formation
i. God respects the gift of freedom he has given to each of us. Therefore it is necessary that we respect the freedom of each candidate.
ii. The candidate is the principal agent of his own formation and as such all other agents of formation are considered to be facilitators.
iii. Behaviour flows from feelings and thought patterns, which in turn are deeply influenced by one’s self image. The work of human formation, therefore, begins with building up of a positive self image.
3. Pre-requisites for Integral Human Formation
- The Goal of priestly formation is to enable the formee to grow …to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ”. (Eph.4:13; PDV Nos.43-59, VC No.65).
- Formation is an ongoing process of Self-transformation.
3. This process is integral affecting the Physical, Social, Emotional, Rational and Spiritual dimensions of the person of the formee. (PDV Nos. 43-60, Charter PFI, No. 3.1.3).
4. This process follows the dialectics of intrinsic relationship of Grace and Nature, the Divine and the Human, contemplation and action.
5. The principal agent of formation is the Holy Spirit. However, the primary responsibility for formation belongs to the formee himself who “is the necessary and irreplaceable agent in his own formation: all formation …is ultimately a self- formation” (PDV No. 69). “With freedom, personal choice, responsibility and inner conviction, he must open himself to the guidance of the Holy Spirit” (Charter PFI 4:1).
6. Self-transformation can take place only in a climate of freedom, responsibility, accountability, self-discipline and self-motivation at all stages of formation.
7. In order to facilitate this ongoing process of Self-transformation, there is need for competent formators; men endowed with deep sense of Christian faith, inner freedom, intellectual competence, affective maturity, and men of moral and spiritual integrity who can serve as catalysts and role models for the young seminarians.
8. Keeping in mind the Integral Human Formation of the Seminarians, there is need for a pedagogy with inter-disciplinary approach at all stages of formation.
9. Given the multi-religious and cultural reality of India as well as the socio-economic disparities affecting vast majority of marginalized groups among whom the priests are called to exercise their pastoral leadership, the formation should be sufficiently contextualized and inculturated in order to prepare the seminarians for the future ministry.
10. Priest is not only a Messenger but also by his very life a Message. So that in an through his personality he “becomes a bridge and not an obstacle for others in their meeting with Jesus Christ the Redeemer of Man”. (PDV No. 43).
4. Formative Challenges Today
1) A Society in Transition:
The globalized market is able to manipulate and arouse needs and desires which it tries to satisfy by the latest, better and faster gadgets and consumer commodities. Speed is the mantra today. What is pragmatic, that gives instant results, success and happiness is valued. And therefore the great pillars of the society: family, religion, church, marriage, etc. that tried to uphold the universal and absolute values are being shaken by post modernism. Relativism has become the norm of the day.
2) The Challenge for Excellence
Advances in education and training of professionals in every sphere of human activity have created a situation where excellence is reinforced and mediocrity is eliminated. Unless the priests and religious excel in their field of competence, they will be found irrelevant in the modern world. While we need to recognize and acknowledge the marvelous commitment of thousands of Consecrated persons all over the world, their number is outweighed by those whose vocational mediocrity and fragility undermines the credibility of the Church and its mission. This raises many questions about selection and formation of candidates for priestly and religious life. Dr. Bastemeir (1972) has this critical comment on seminary formation:
“We take promising young men from 13 to 25 years of age, feed them well, educate them diligently, and eight to twelve years later we ordain them, healthy, bright, emotional – thirteen – year – olds” (Sipe, 2007).
A longitudinal study of the formative impact of traditional formation on the formees showed that it had little impact on the maturity in the formees even after four years of formation. (Rulla et al. Anthropology of Christian Vocation, Vol. II, Existential Confirmation). The world today looks for expertise and excellence from us in God experience, Word of God, Transcendent Values, Moral Guidance, Prophetic Commitment and witness of religious truth. It is doubtful if many of those who came out of the formation centres after several years of formation can claim sufficient expertise in these areas. The challenge of formation is to move from mediocrity to excellence in the domain proper to us.
3) The Challenge for Authenticity and Credibility
Many cultures in the past looked up to religious and priests for moral and spiritual guidance. The episodes of sexual abuse by clergy and religious in some countries have done much harm to the Church. People no longer accept pulpit proclamations unless they are backed by authentic and credible life of the preacher when an authentic formative journey is not embarked, the longer years of formation seem to end up as seeds sown on rocky ground or among the thorns. While expressing the joy of having crowded seminaries in some countries, Pope Benedict XVI (2005) insists on the need for proper discernment and cautioned against the dangers of mundane motives that may attract vocations.
4) Man of God
The need for ‘master’ (Guru) than ‘teacher’. Many of our formators seem to be academically qualified as teachers. They may have a doctorate in Spirituality, Psychology,Theology, Scriptures and may have secured a ‘summa cum laude’ without being affected in their personal life by the topics studied. The absence of experiential dimension reduces many of our formators as mere teachers with knowledge and not as masters with wisdom who are very much valued in the oriental cultures. The need of the hour is for authentic spiritual leaders in the midst of a growing universal culture marked by consumerism, hedonism, individualism and careerism.
5. The Parameters of integral Human Formation
The Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on ‘Pastores Dabo Vobis’ in Ch.V, articles nos. 43 & 44 enumerates at length the various aspects of Human Formation:
“Future priests should therefore cultivate a series of human qualities, not only out of proper and due growth and realization of self, but also with a view to the ministry. These qualities are needed for them to be balanced people, strong and free, capable of bearing the weight of pastoral responsibilities. They need to be educated to love the truth, to be loyal, to respect every person, to have a sense of justice, to be true to their word, to be genuinely compassionate, to be men of integrity and, especially, to be balanced in judgment and behaviour.
Of special importance is the capacity to relate to others. This is truly fundamental for a person who is called to be responsible for a community and to be a “man of communion”. This demands that the priest not be arrogant, or quarrelsome, but affable, hospitable, sincere in his words and heart, prudent and discreet, generous and ready to serve, capable of opening himself to clear and brotherly relationships and of encouraging the same in others, and quick to understand, forgive and console(see also 1 Tim 3:1-5; Tit 1:7-9). People today are often trapped in situations of standardization and loneliness, especially in large urban centres, and they become ever more appreciative of the most eloquent signs and one of the most effective ways of transmitting the Gospel message”.
This recognition of the human as the overarching dimension of priestly formation is indeed a remarkable progressive step concerning priestly formation. In doing so, the Church is showing her openness and interest in human sciences like anthropology, sociology and psychology, whose valuable insights on understanding the mystery of human person, shows with clarity the intrinsic relationship between Grace and Human Nature. The healthier the human nature, the greater is the possibility for grace to penetrate the human person and transform him/her from within. Hence the importance of following parameters to facilitate a psycho-spiritual process that hopefully brings about a self-transformation in the candidates.
1) The Dialectics of Christian Vocation: The recognition and nourishment of any Christian Vocation takes place in a climate of the Divine and Human consciousness where grace and nature interact. The sign to distinguish this ongoing interaction between grace and nature is one’s inner freedom which enables the candidate to discern the Call of God.
2) Integration Fosters Freedom: Freedom to respond to God’s Call is the result of another process called Integration where the different dimensions in human person: The Physical Socio-cultural, Emotional, Rational and Spiritual act in a harmonious and unified manner.
3) Integration Leads to Self Discovery: The discovery of one’s authentic and true self is a gradual process of self-emptying of the EGO, the false self (the masks) and coming to terms with one’s True Self with all its strengths and weaknesses, qualities and limitations. In other words, the Self emerges with all its beauty and richness when the person is able to celebrate the wonder of one’s Being stripped of all illusions caused by the perennial temptation to identify one’s worth with Doing, Having and Feeling.
These three parameters are very central to the process of Integral Human Formation. In order to initiate and sustain this process it is of paramount importance that the formee goes through an ongoing accompaniment by way of Vocational guidance or spiritual direction.
4) Transformation Through Integrative Model of Accompaniment: I find the integrative approach applied in pastoral counselling and spiritual direction to be a useful strategy for an integral formation. This model emerged from the field of counselling and psycho-therapy in the context of a healthy rapprochement between the disciplines of moral theology, psychology and spirituality. When a formator has a fair idea of the dynamics involved in the vocational journey of a young person whom he accompanies, he will have to look for effective strategies to accompany the growth process in different spheres of life.
The Domains of Transformation: The integrative model views spiritual growth as transformation of the whole person in various domains of life. Following the schema of Sperry, we identified the following domains of transformation with the addition of those aspects proper to consecrated life. (Sperry, 2002).
– Somatic: refers body and its wellness despite of a disability or disease.
– Affective/community:refers to emotional wellbeing, healing of past hurts, healthy integration of all emotions and achieving capacity for team work and community life.
– Religious/spiritual: spirituality based on the biblical image of God, replacing the false idols such as reputation, wealth and power and seeking God’s will and Kingdom values.
– Moral:to move from simple gratifications of immediate needs to principled living based on objective values.
– Intellectual: pursuit of truth amidst ideologies and personal prejudices. Developing a critical grasp of theological issues and to critique false value systems that corrupt Christian conscience.
– Socio-political/Inter-cultural: moving beyond self-transformation to bring about the reign of God in one’s community and the society. Growing in the capacity for universal brotherhood and the pastoral dimension of the vocation
– Charismatic/Vocational: discovering and growing in One’s Unique call to conform to Christ within the Charism of the Institute.
Transformation in one domain influences the transformation of other domains. For example, affective transformation favours religious and moral transformation. Intellectual trans- formation reinforces the transformation in socio-political domain. This is why an integral approach is necessary for a holistic vocational growth. Once the domains of growth are delineated, the necessary virtues, spiritual practices and self-capacities necessary for growth in each of the domains are identified and described in order to make it operational. This is necessary for moving from mere desire to concrete action. Transformation in each of the domains require that the formees cultivate corresponding virtues, spiritual practices and self-capacities. The following table illustrates the whole profile of transformation in a vocational journey. (Sperry, 2002).
DOMAIN OF SPIRITUAL
TRANSFOR- VIRTUES PRACTICES SELF-CAPACITIES
Somatic Temperance Transforming Self-activation
Physical fitness craving Self-mastery
Affective/ Trust, Healing the heart, Spontaneity, Intimacy,
community Compassion, Learning to love Frustration Tolerance,
Religious/ Charity, Holiness Vision Self-surrender
Moral Trust worthiness Living ethically Commitment
Intellectual Prudence Developing wisdom Critical reflection
Socio-Political Justice, Fortitude Expressing spirit Social consciousness
Intercultural in Service Empathy
This outline can be a helpful guide to view different domains of growth in a formee. It becomes operative when a realistic action plan adapted to the personal and socio-cultural context of each formee is drawn within the ambit of personal accompaniment.
6. Indicators of Integral Human Formation:
i. Authenticity, honesty to God, self and others, openness and transparency.
ii. Self awareness and acceptance, self confidence and assertiveness, optimism and realism, sense of humour and joy.
iii. Sensitivity, understanding, empathy, compassion and caring
iv. Adaptability and flexibility, spirit of forgiveness and reconciliation.
v. Responsibility, accountability and willingness to accept one’s mistakes.
vi. Interiority and prayerfulness, being comfortable with solitude, respect for the integrity of creation.
vii. Sense of belonging, being comfortable in relationships, capacity for meaningful friendships and intimacy.
viii. Respect for all persons: elders, women, children, and especially the poor.
ix. Ability to dialogue: care-fronting, offering constructive criticism
x. Initiative, creativity, pro-activeness, commitment, hard work, team spirit, sacrifice and resilience.
xi. Concern, involvement and action for peace and social justice.
7. Constraints for Integral Human Formation:
i. Lack of proper motivation: Our efforts at formation meet with a major block in as much as the candidate comes with misplaced motives.
ii. Peer group pressure: The candidate’s ability to take decisions for himself is often influenced by the need to belong to the peer group, and the peer group is itself frequently controlled by a dominant few.
iii. Large numbers: The large number of candidates in formation houses makes it difficult to provide the personalized care and attention so necessary for integral human formation.
iv. Cut off from realities: The structure and geographic location of formation houses isolate/shield the candidate from real life experiences. This retards the process of integral human formation.
v. Lack of adequate training of formators. The personal accompaniment which is a pre- requisite for integral human formation suffers when formators are not equipped with the necessary skills.
vi. Fear of reports: The existing system of reporting to the superiors on the evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the candidate tends to lead to fear complex and masked behaviour.
vii. Unhealed woundedness. Some of the unconscious wounds of earlier experiences of the candidate remain unhealed and render the personal accompaniment of the candidate difficult and ineffective.
viii. Outside influences: The programmes towards integral human formation sometimes fail to bring about desired growth in the candidate since the climate in outside society (family, friends, parish, diocese, media, etc.) counter the positive influence of formation programmes.
ix. Lack of adequate language skills: The lack of comprehension and expression skills of the candidate limits the effectiveness of formation structures or personal accompaniment.
8. Strategies and Means to actualize Integral Human Formation:
A. Paradigms for Integral Human Formation:
i. Participatory Processes in decision making and assessments
ii. Personal Accompaniment
iii. Healing of Inner Woundedness.
i. To constitute/strengthen students’ councils as consultative bodies of decision-making.
ii. To hold community dialogues/assemblies where students and staff have a free interaction on issues affecting formation.
iii. To constitute/strengthen participatory structures for evaluation of candidates, formators, formation programmes and house management.
iv. Formators to equip themselves with basic counselling skills for a better personal accompaniment of candidates. Basic counselling skills are to be a considered a pre- requisite for a formator.
v. The system of ‘small group living’, variously called animation system, mentoring system, living group system, etc. to be initiated where they don’t exist and made more affective where they do.
vi. Bishops/Major Superiors to initiate ongoing formation programmes for junior clergy so as to enable them to keep up their integral human formation in the context of ministry.
vii. Care to be taken to make evaluation methods less threatening for candidates and formators.
viii. Arrangements to be made by each formation house for a professional counselor to help candidates deal with their inner woundedness.
9. The Environment for Integral Human Formation:
1. Provide sufficient scope to grow in freedom with responsibility.
2. Provide opportunities to exercise leadership attitudes and skills.
3. Provide facilities to develop one’s talents and skills.
4. Spell out clearly the parameters for accountability.
5. Involve the community in decision making.
6. Provide opportunities for ministries on a regular basis.
7. Maintain contacts with groups, movements, etc. whose inputs could be challenging.
8. Have regular faith sharing sessions.
9. Have regular meetings to reflect over various experiences in relation to personal growth.
10. Have periodic community dialogues to evaluate life and mission.
08. THE DISCERNMENT OF VOCATION AND FORMATION:
I. The preliminary clarifications:-
A. Christian Vocation is a gratuitous gift of God – divine realm (GRACE)
B. Response to the Call is a free personal gift – humam realm (NATURE)
C. The reasons for assessment:-
1) According to Vat. 2: Priestly Training (OT) no.6:-
- 1.Freedom of Choice
- 2.Mental Health
- 3.Emotional Maturity
- 4.Inherited Family tendencies
2) According to Pastores Dabo Vobis: nos. 43 & 44:
- 1.Human Maturity and Freedom
- 2.Functional ability and availability for personal growth.
- 3.Human wholeness and Authentic integrity
- 4.Availability for authentic relationships
- 5.Intellectual abilities
II. Purpose of assessment is to discern:
A. Candidates for apostolic community vis-à-vis therapeutic community
B. Candidates as brothers/sisters vis-à-vis lodgers
C. Candidates as companions vis-à-vis parasites
D. Candidates as crewmembers vis-à-vis passengers
III. Areas for Assessment and Discernment of Vocation:
i. Faith and Morality
ii. Developmental problems
iii.The Vulnerable Subconscious
IV. The role of Psychology and Assessment in formation:
V. The Criteria for selection and promotion of Candidates
VI. Points for preparing the report on assessment of the candidate:-
- 2.Vocation and Mission
- 3.Pastoral Involvement
- 4.Commitment to studies
- 7.Affective Maturity
- 10.Commitment to service
- 13.Inter-personal relationship
- 14.Dealing with girls/boys (women/men)
- 15.Dealing with authorities (superiors & formators)
- 18.Community Involvement
- 19.Openness to Guidance
- 20.Overall fitness for priesthood/religious life
VII. The Methods and procedures in preparing the report on assessment:-
- 1.Self Evaluation
- 2.Assessment by 2 or 3 companions proposed by the candidate
- 3.Assessment by 2 or 3 companions chosen by Superior or Formator
- 4.Assessment by the entire group-class wise
- 5.Assessment by all the companions individually
- 6.The collective assessment by the Formation team which scrutinizes the consolidated report of 1,2,3,4 and 5.
- 7.The final feedback given by Superior or Formator to the candidate.
09: THE ROLE OF FORMATORS IN THE ACCOMPANIMENT OF FORMEES TOWARDS THEIR INTEGRAL FORMATION
A. Preliminary clarifications
- 1.The terms 1) Formator, 2) Accompaniment, and 3) Integral Formation needs clarity.
- 2.Both the formators and formees need to have a common understanding of the overall objectives (Goals) of formation according to the Vision or charism of the Institute.
- 3.There is need to spell out the profile of candidates for each stage of formation and the pedagogy to realize it.
- 4.The formators need to be of one mind and heart on the ‘essential’ aspects of formation.
- 5.The persons chosen for the ministry of formation should be men of certain credibility, persons who command respect because of their moral and spiritual integrity.
B. Clarification of Terms
- I.FORMATOR: It must be affirmed without any hesitation that in the context of any Christian Vocation, the principal agent of formation is the HOLY SPIRIT whose role in the transformation of the formees is of paramount importance. After the Holy Spirit the next important agent in the order of priority is the formee himself who shares major responsibility for his own formation. Only then comes the formator (in the technical sense) who plays a role mainly as a facilitator or a catalyst in the ongoing process of transformation.
- II.ACCOMPANIMENT: Journeying with the formee as a fellow-traveler, a pilgrim, as someone who is genuinely searching, at the same time struggling in his efforts to live an authentic life. From this lived experience he is able to assist the formees in discerning and interpreting God’s will revealed through persons, events, joys and sorrows, success and failure, etc. He serves like a mirror wherein the formees can with openness and trust see themselves freely their strengths and limitations and with the help of the formator journey towards wholeness and holiness.
- III.INTEGRAL FORMATION: The Integral Formation refers to the process of transformation of the various dimensions of formee’s personality that gradually promote a well defined, secure and stable IDENTITY, namely the Physical, Intellectual, Emotional, Social and Spiritual. And thus the formee is enabled to freely enter into dialogue with God and live his vocation and mission in an effective manner. This is a life long process. This process does not take place by itself. Some time or other one has to consciously start this inward journey. And the formator can definitely be a catalyst for the formee in his journey towards wholeness.
C. An Agenda For Integral Formation
1. The point of arrival: (Ideals, Charism) – WHY?
A. The establishment of God’s Community
B. The following of Christ (PCO)
C. The Prophetic Mission
2. The point of departure: (The Germinative and Vulnerable) – WHAT?
a. Family background
b. Personal History
c. Educational Background
d. Faith formation
e. Vocational History
3. Psycho-Spiritual Dynamics of Formation – HOW?
I. The Process of Integration:
1. Self-fulfillment for Self-transcendence
2. Personal Growth for Apostolic Efficacy
3. Balance between Freedom, Responsibility and Accountability
4. Harmony between Values, Needs and Attitudes
5. Exposure and role plays for interiorisation of Vocational Ideals
6. Balance between the affective-rational and spiritual
7. Harmony between ideologies and spirituality
8. Integration between Contemplation and Action
II. The Content:
1. To facilitate the Self-Discovery-SELF-AWARENESS and SELF WORTH
2. To discern God’s will in daily life
3. Helping the formees to verbalize their thoughts, beliefs and emotions critically
4. Help them to take charge of their lives.
5. Help them to realize that there are no quick solutions to their problems
6. Help them to understand better their own psychological and physiological reactions to their problems.
7. Facilitate better communication between formee and formators, between formee and his companions.
8. Help them to think positively and constructively
9. Reinforce accepted social and cultural patterns of behaviour and thus inhibit certain regressed forms of behaviour.
10. To evolve alternate solutions for one’s problems
11. To work out an action plan to bring about a change
12. To integrate various dimensions of personality
1. Rigorous application of criteria in the selection of candidates to the Institute
2. Remedial helps at the initial stages of formation to foster human and Christian culture
3. Regular accompaniment of the formees at all stages of formation
4. Coordination and follow up of formation programmes at all stages
5. Team work and collective discernment with regard to selection, promotion and formation of Candidates at all stages of formation.
6. Greater stress on ‘intellectual excellence’ (reading and study habit, oral and written articulation, etc.)
7. Graded formation to integrate prayer, study, community life and apostolate
8. Emphasis on process of self-transformation more than information, compliance to structures and learning of skills
9. Active collaboration between formative and apostolic communities
10. Training of formators to be professionally competent.
BIBLIOGRAPHY Fr. Joe Mathias, S.J.
ANTHROPOLOGY OF CHRISTIAN VOCATION
A PEDAGOGY FOR INTEGRAL HUMAN FORMATION
Joe Mathias, S.J.
Mt. 13: 3-9 (Parable of the sower)
Understanding the human person from a Psycho-spiritual perspective:
God’s word, the seed, blessings, grace, mercy of God, all the gifts and talents one inherited by birth
Human nature, the soil, obstacles coming due to the factors that work in human personality, traumas, unhealed wounds, inferiorities, false beliefs, etc. This study is an attempt to understand the on-going dialogue between human nature and the divine that is grace. There is a deep connectedness in the two. God expects co-operation from us to become receptive and free to bear fruit in plenty.
Christian perspective is both theological and psychological. Formation related to the foundation to be laid on scripture and human formation. Over the years the hedonistic culture of the world has watered down the theological and Christian perspective. Grace does wonders in our life. Therapeutic help given is not enough. This is only a tool. The therapeutic help should help us to become more Christian.
- 1.Holistic understanding of a human person from a Christian perspective
- 2.Become aware of the germinative (growth promoting) aspect or positive dimension of our personality as well as the vulnerable dimension (due to family upbringing, situational aspects, genetic disorders, etc.) of oun’s personality.
- 3.Recognize and identify the psycho-spiritual processes that either promote or hinder the vocational growth and transformation
- 4.Make an attempt to evolve a new pedagogy for integral formation
PERSPECTIVE – Psycho-spiritual
METHODS – Role plays, group discussions
2nd session Questionnaire for discussion. Reporting based on the paper – Theories of personality: significant contributions and dangers of the main theorists to Christian formation Issues.
– Upto Vatican II ( till 60’s)
Holy Uniformity – Structures to live a holy life
– In 70’s and 80’s
Holy Personalism – Self Actualization, self fulfillment, and personality development with maximum optimistic theory but naïve with very little self transcendence. So many behavioural techniques without much theology or philosophy
– Today there is no school that can offer a systematic approach for the religious formation.
Critiquing modern psychology from a Christian point of view
- Human person is created in the image of God – endowed with dignity, self-worth (I am great because I AM and not because I have or I do). So every human person is graced, worthy of every respect. God
- Human person is created for Communion – Intimacy with self
This is expressed through love cosmos
It has three dimensions( Benedict XVI – Deus Caritas Est)
a. Eros –Physical, attractions etc.
b. Phylia – Friendship
c. Agape – Self giving expressed through liturgia, Koinonia, Diakonia,
3. Human Person is fallen (existential reality), bound by sinfulness, liberated
by grace of Godthrough the incarnation of Christ. We need help, structures
such as community, celebration of Sacraments especially the Eucharist.
4. Human person is redeemed and redeemable
5. Salvation is a gift from God, given free, a gratuitous gift
6. Kenosis – Christian way for self realization
(from the notes)
– Paradigm Shifts – 10 points
– The Changing Scenario Regarding Priestly and Consecrated Life Today – 20 points
– Challenges to Priesthood and Consecrated Life Today – 8 points
Creative Fidelity for Apostolic Efficacy
Creative Fidelity is being faithful to the charism, to be responsive to the signs of the times in a more creative manner. E.s. Frontline ministries. The spirit of the original charism remains. This enables the re-founding of Consecrated life.
One needs to go back to the Roots:
1. In the Gospel way of life. That makes us relevant
2. In the Charism of the Institute – recognizing the signs of times. Vita Consacrata No. 37 speaks of this creative fidelity.
In the 4rd century many fathers of the Church went to become desert fathers to live a life of austerity, contemplation and prayer. They became the signs and reminder of a prophetic life the church should follow.
Later St. Francis of Assisi with his mendicant life, St. Benedict with his monastic life, St. Catherine of Siena with her contemplative life, St. Ignatius of Loyola with his apostolic availability and many others founders and foundresses till date have dared to bring the church back to its original mission that is the mission of Christ.
- 1.I to be a spiritual and prophetic voice of the church
- 2.I to be a counter-cultural sign – a sign of contradiction. Our culture is a culture of hedonism, women are exploited, pleasure, comfort are largely focused upon, corruption, deceit, violence, euthanasia, child labour, ex trade, female foetecide etc. are rampant. We are called to be with Jesus and at the same time we are sent out.
- 3.Our identity should not be tied to a job, power, position, title, qualification. This makes us hyphenated priests and consecrated people
Goal of the mission of Christ
To establish here on earth a community of the people of God, who could live with: dignity
At the time of Christ his community was fragmented:
Chosen ones(Jews) vs gentiles
Insiders vs outsiders (Samaritans)
Orthodox vs sinners (publicans, prostitutes, camel drivers, tax collectors)
Clean vs unclean( lepers, women in their period)
Masters vs slaves
Man vs woman, child
Hence Christ was set to form a community of all the people of God. In our communities too there is fragmentation: caste, colour, job inequality, etc. But as Christians we need to transcend all cultures.
Essential Characteristics of Priestly & Consecrated Life
- To be a seeker of God/quest for God. Has the aspiring young candidate a thirst for god? Capacity to remain in silence and solitude, love for prayer, service in the community, forgiveness, sacrificing spirit, love for the poor. Sometimes the formator can be in the illusion of judging the characteristic on the talents and giftedness of the candidate. Seeking God makes a person the disciple of Christ and not her/his talents. Seeking God above all is not inborn but cultivated in due time.
- To be a visible sign of God’s Kingdom.
- To be living symbol of Consecration Intimacy with the Father
Doing the will of the Father
Service to redeem humanity
4. To be Prophetic Witness of God’s Kingdom – to be a source of comfort to the poor, a sign of hope. To denounce all actions of dehumanizing even at the cost of our life, not propagating violence. E.s. – Rani Maria, Romero, Nelson Mandela, Gladys Steins are some of the prophets of our times
5. To be a sign of Unity and Fraternity in a society that is fragmented and broken
6. To be and to become the Anawim , the people of the Beautitudes
Poverty: Express our dependence on God (Providence), living of the
Gift economy as opposed to Commodity economy
We don’t have We claim our right over it.
ownership. It is We are attached to it.
a gift given to Possessive of it. There is
be shared in solidarity danger of seeking only comfort.
with the poor Not prepared to face hardships
& needy. This is the
mission of Christ.
Chastity: Seeking universal, compassionate love of God. Passionate lovers of Christ for the service of God’s people with compassion.
Obedience: Those in authority have a function to see that the mission of Christ is realized individually and collectively. Gospel agenda is followed. When there is no counsel of obedience little dialogue or consultation is taking place. Lots of discernment is needed in this context.
Strategy used by Jesus to build his community of disciples: (Notes p.4, g.)
- 1.Redefined social bounderies
- 2.Table fellowship – Eucharist
- 3.The way of the cross
- He challenged religious establishments represented by high
priests of his time
- He challenged theological establishments of Pharisees and
- He challenged political establishments of Herod, Pilot
Joan Chittister: Future of the Church will largely depend on how each one chooses to live his/her life. So keep the glow fresh(Fire in the ashes)
3rd Session ( Reporting on Questionnaire no. 2)
- 1.Most significant experiences
- 2.Pardigm shift:
- oChurch is understood now as communion of the people of God
- oMore involvement of the laity
- oChurch open to all unlike in the past where only selected ones were the invitees
- oChristianity is able to adapt different things from other cultures.
- oMore awareness in the ongoing formation
- oPeople coming forward to do theology
- oClergy and consecrated people identifying with the people
- oBishops and priests taking part in politics indirectly
- oHuman person is given priority
- oChurch more open than before for new ideas
3. Draw backs/disadvantages – Laity undermining the authority of the parish
priest as leader. Laity trying to control, identity crisis.
- oTo become prayerful, holy
- oTo become Christ centered
- oTo become role model
- oTo work among youth, collaborate, use of media
- oTo go beyond individualism, casteism, consumerism
- oTo grow in interpersonal relationship
- oTo enter politics
- oTo welcome cultural change
- oNon cooperation from civil authorities
5. Causes for recent unfortunate scandals
- oMedia blowing any atrocities out of proportion
- oExposure to too much outside world
- oEmphasis on too much religiousity
- oLess attention to the psycho-spiritual growth of the person
- oLack of faith formation
- oSingle parents
- oLack of emotional maturity in the priests/consecrated people
- oGratification of basic needs
- oLack of affective maturity
- oLack of motivation
- oFormators assessing intellectual capacity
- oLack of abba experience
- oLack of love for silence and solitude
- oImpact of Mass media
- oLack of spiritual and moral integrity
6. Response of the Church to anti-Christian Campaign
- oHold meaningful inter-faith dialogues
- oInvolve media and communication
- oChurch leaders to come forward to raise their voices
- oInterfaith dialogue as a ministry
- oCommon celebration of the festivals of other communities
- oEncourage more and more lay leadership
- oLaity to be in politics and IAS/IPS jobs
8. Message from the parable of “Boiled Frog”
- oAny change is a gradual process
- oLoosing sense of sin gradually
- oAbuse of mass media
- oInfluence of Hindutva ideology
- oSex scandals
- oCrisis/conflicts management is not in priestly/religious formation
- oTo be pro-active through media, through like minded people
- oTake part in current issues
- oNeed for constant updating
Self discovery( Point 04 on paper, page 4)
To be constant with each other. If the messenger gets weak the message gets distorted. We cannot use many means. Media too has to correspond with the message.
Self, Person: refers to the identity. The core of self is WHO I AM. Permanent as created by God. Nothing can be changed.
EGO : The sum of my personality, what I give to myself, my traits, situations, religion, media.
Self is full of goodness. Lack of integration leads to get approval, person becomes touchy, sensitive for little hurt. Self is not to give power to others. Ego protects us from making mistakes. Ego develops due to lack of good upbringing, What I expected I did not get. Self does not grow by itself. It is nourished/actualized by love, freedom, security. Ego is boosted by external stimuli such as dress, talents, degrees, positions, wealth, friends, appreciation, etc. Strong Rootedness with self helps us to face the challenges, as well as our weak Ego. When others hurt us our Ego is hurt. Self nobody can diminish in us. It is there given by God. It has to be affirmed by others in the child. Otherwise the child gets succumbed to the Ego Problems. Ego needs boosting, needs external means. Self needs internal affirmation (in the childhood by significant adults and in adult stage by the person himself/herself). SELF-WORTH is given by the creator himself. Affirmation is greater when we are connected with God.
EXISTENTIAL HUMAN REALITY
Self has 3 dimensions:
- 1.Physical(Sarkikos): Wonderful media of expressing of Self. Inner reality is expressed through the body. Mere focus on Physical dimension is self-centeredness. Our body is created by God with all its attractions and urges and desires. Affirmation of Self means taking good care of the body, healing, in sickness, balanced diet and exercise, etc. Taking care of one’s emotions also come in this dimension
- 2.Social (Psykikos): Self discovery is enhanced by social interaction. It takes place interpersonally. From my Self I move to the other in relationship, in social interaction. Virtues of trust, acceptance, respect for the other, listening capacity, empathy etc., develop.
Criteria for growth: WHOLESOME OR PATHOLOGY. In the formation we need to give attention to healthy, interpersonal relationships. Repression Self takes place in exclusive communities.
- 3.Spiritual-Rational(Pneumatikos): Having a vision of life/cosmos. Life in the spirit. Seeking solitude and silence. Retreat and prayer. Understanding the mystery of life. Transcending one’s needs.
Physical Social Spiritual-Rational
(Sarkikos) (Psykikos) (Pneumatikos)
Self Other God
Health Sickness Wholesome Pathology Holiness Sinfulness
EGO and SELF can be compared to 1) Cake with icing. Icing is only peripheral where as cake has undergone a process of baking. Self goes through various life experiences. 2) Lotus flower in the slushy mud. Lotus the self is the beauty of the person even though his/her surrounding are dirty and unwelcoming.
Journey towards self-discovery is a pilgrimage. Every person wants to be happy, loved, fulfilled, find meaning in life. So we cling to external means to gain what we want in life.
EXISTENTIAL RESTLESSNESS is inevitable. This restlessness is because of:
- 1.Human identity is limited, mortal, fragile
- 2.Purpose/Goal of our life is union with God. Deepest longing cannot be fulfilled by another created reality, but only by the creator.
- 3.Paradoxes and contradictions such as health and sickness, light and darkness, joy and sorrow, etc.
- 4.Unmet human needs
- 5.Emotional conflicts. Lack of integration of these
- 6.Pathology such as aggression, suspicion, paranoia, split personality, borderline personality, etc.
Remedies: We humans seek remedy in temporal things like drugs, pleasure, gadgets, skills, degrees, power, wealth. They are not lasting. They are perishable. We need to find lasting ones, having a vision of life. Temporal remedies are passing in nature.
For discovery of self it is necessary to have –
God relatedness Human relatedness
God orientedness ALONG WITH Human orientedness
God centeredness Human centeredness
Noblest human qualities come out when both aspects are integrated.
Self-Worth Discovery is facilitated by a freedom from clinging, fixations, etc. Freedom is capacity to become what one is called to be: a child of God, created in the image of God which is love. In loving we discover self. Love is possible when there is freedom, no fear. Freedom has to be actualized at Personal, social and transcendental level. Becoming human is becoming free. Freedom is the result of integration, harmony, wholeness at the level of:
– Physical (Body)
– Social (relationship) HOLINESS
– Rational (meaning)
– Spiritual (God)
One who is whole is holy. Subjective holiness is clinging to external means that bring about a change in me for better. Objective holiness I attain in spite of my non-willingness. Es. I may not feel to actively celebrate Eucharist one day. But I merit the blessings all the same. I need to go beyond my feelings in order to achieve objective holiness.
Self-Concept – Scientific way of understanding of human person
Self-Image – The way I perceive myself – low or high, true or false. Depends upon
the information fed by significant persons in my life., a cognitive
Self-Esteem – The way I feel about myself; good, joyful, sad etc. Affective
Self-Worth – Given by God at my birth; my dignity, my respect as human person. It does not diminish with the given circumstances of life. It is affirmed by adults. It remains the same. It refers to my being. God’s image is the same in me that is love. It comes with birth and departs at my death. Others will help me to experience my dignity and respect as a person. It does not diminish with age. Skills diminish.
BEING DOING HAVING
Skills. They are Power, Position, wealth,
only means. They property, talents. They are
are not permanent necessary but not important
Emotions/feelings pleasant or unpleasant; positive or negative are neither good nor bad. They are not a guaranty for our well being. Doing, having feelings are unreliable sources. Often we follow a philosophy of life – feeling good, looking good, doing good. These are external sources. Some consecrated people are obsessed by it. A person who has a deep sense of rootedness enjoys his/her self-worth. Has tremendous impact on their doing. Searching for happiness (Kingdom) from outside source is not lasting.
Low Self Esteem: Some symptoms are excessive anxiety, apologizing often, exaggerated reaction to failure, can’t tale criticism, chronic indecisiveness, excessive desire to please others, perfectionism, neurotic sense of feeling guilty, moodiness, controlling behavior, feeling overly anxious, strange behavior, cut throat competitions, power rivalry, envy, exaggerated or grandiose self image or very poor self image.
Difference between High & Low Self Esteem
High Self Esteem
Low Self Esteem
Can discuss ideas, issues
Talks about ideas, agenda
/sense of humility
Courage of conviction
Confidence Focus on character
Blames the whole world
Talks about people
Goes along to get along
Discovery of Self Worth – Each person is unique. No one is the replica of the other. This is show in the thumb impression as well as in the DNA of each person. Self worth is discovered through:-
- Behaviour that is conditioned by emotions. Therefore healing of emotions has to take place to discover our true self-worth. Unhealed emotions are a block for the discovery of self-worth that is revealed through unhealthy behavior
- Thinking also affects. Unhealed emotions affect the thinking, irrational thinking and beliefs. Thinking comes from self image which is the result of the series of experiences from the time of conception. Self image can be true, false or authentic. When it is a false image then it is called mask.
True, authentic self image – I am comfortable with my qualities, talents, skills, freedom, relationships, intimacy, limitations, weaknesses, shortcomings, sins. Impact of qualities is greater than the talents and skills as talents and skills are not always there in a person. But qualities do such as sacrificing nature, sensitivity to the poor, compassion, generousity, freedom. Qualities are not inborn but they are acquired.
True Self False Self
(Positive and Negative Qualities) (Masks)
Sr. Sherina’s Notes and Power point
- 1Three levels of Psychic Life
- 2Structure of the Self
- 3Degrees of Consciousness
- 7Three Dimensions based on Values
- 8Conscious and Unconscious Motivation
- 9Self-Actualization or self-Fulfillment as a side-Effect of Both Self-Transcendence and Internalization
- 10Consistencies and Inconsistencies
- 11Sings of Consistent Person
- 12Preparing Priests/Consecrated People-Road to Transformation
Fr. Joe Mathias
Motivation (Latin = motus means motion, movement) is a conscious and/or unconscious movement/motion triggered off by tension. Tension initiates motion. It activates energy at the physical, emotional, social, relational, rational and spiritual level, resulting into a response that is positive or a reaction towards an object.
When there are masks these energies are not activated. We become lifeless, moody. A well motivated person is alive in all levels.
Person living at the theo-centric level constantly energizes self (Charged by the Spirit) and therefore well motivated. Dissonant needs will be under control. Goal of life will be clear. When dissonant needs take upper hand (unhealed) energy in all levels gets dissipated. To reach the 1st dimension (theo-centric) conversion/freedom of heart is necessary. Only with freedom I can internalize kingdom values. I grow in this dimension out of my freedom. Conversion of heart (metanoia) is necessary because in living out our vowed life we get into our natural inclinations (Es. In Poverty – property, possession, security; in Chastity – conjugal relationship; in Obedience – self will, personal agenda). To overcome these inclinations we need constant conversion of heart.
Human Formation for Affective Maturity
Affective Maturity includes wider areas than just emotions. In PDV 43,44 as well as Redemptoris Hominis No. 10 Affective Maturity and love is emphasized respectively. Emotions play a curial role in Affective Maturity.
Affective Maturity can be explained as a person who is able to assess a situation rationally and meaningfully, experiencing emotions that are appropriate and proportionate to the context and enjoys inner freedom to act in accordance with a worthwhile vision of life could be considered as affectively matured
Role Play depicting various emotions negative as well as positive in working situations of priestly and consecrated life.
Origin of Emotions
My perception and its interpretation causes emotional activity within m. The reality outside is the same. But reaction to that reality is different in different people. Psychological and neurological processes taking place within when encountering a reality. This process can be explained in the following way:
Hardware: Brain, brain circuits, neurotransmitters
Software: Perception, interpretation
Perceptional interpretation is coloured by DNA, personality traits, education, upbringing, religion, culture, media, etc. The experience is recorded and formatted in the brain for the software – the perception. Perception is formatted in our psyche through series of experiences from the womb itself. The starting point is perception which is psychological in nature. It is preceded by stimulation, a neurological process ( record of all the experiences).
Perception Stimuli AMYGDALA
that carry the
Physiological Pituitary Gland
Changes Emotions Adrenaline Gland
Interpretation of affective memories stimulates senses that affect neurological system. Perception is affected by physiological changes that stimulate the gland hypothalamus which releases cortico-steroid hormone. Negative perception induces series of bodily changes. Due to repeated anxiety the organism gets affected, is forced to secrete juices/hormones that bring about diseases such as ulcers in the stomach, asthma, arthritis, various types of allergies, etc. Emotions have impact our body. Pituitary gland also gets activated. Physiological changes produce emotions.
Lack of affective maturity is due to the unhealed emotions. Evangelization of senses, healing of painful affective memories is necessary. It takes place in therapy and counseling sessions, in spiritual direction, prayer, sharing, meditation, relaxation, etc. All feelings are not emotions. Feelings have body sensations. All emotions are feelings. Es. I feel hungry, I feel raged. My body sends out some sensation of this feeling. Emotions affect us as we perceive the reality.
Process of promoting Affective Maturity
1) Emotional Responding (Primary Process)
Senses are affected, impressions are formed that are very deceptive. There is
sense judgment that is coloured. Based on sense judgment emotional attitudes
are formed that gives rise to the development of emotional habits. Over primitive attitudes which are judgmental and that are not erased from our system. It is important that the person rises from here to become the person he/she wants to be – a priest/consecrated person and pursue the mission/goal of his life.
2) Rational and Spiritual Responding (secondary Process) We have to make it happen (meaning, love, charity, hope, forgiveness, etc.). I need to be freed from some affective memories. Negative behavior is because the person is stuck up with the primary process.
Rational and Spiritual Responding is initiated in a Reflective Faith Judgment. This in turn helps us to develop intellectual and spiritual attitudes. When they are acted upon they become intellectual spiritual habits. Sometimes in therapy desensitizing technique is uses. Es. Face the fear and do it any way” Principle.
IQ – Intellectual Quotient (Left Part of the brain)
EQ – Emotional Quotient or emotional intelligence(Right Part of the brain) This is responsible for the interpersonal relationships we form, empathizing capacity, expressing our emotions, etc.
SQ – Social or Spiritual Quotient
The impact we make on the outside world largely depends on our Emotional Intelligence. We need:
- Self Awareness
- Self Regulation – Learning to handle emotions rationally and meaningfully. Feeling the need to be disciplined
- Motivation as energy is fed by emotions and is very effective. Jesus made an impact on his people because of his high level of affective maturity.
- Empathy – to feel with the other and communicate accurately. Empathy is liberating. In counseling our formees we need to keep professional distance. Hence sympathy may not help. If the professional distance is not maintained we may begin to identify with the problem of the formee/counselee
- Social skills – good manners, politeness, modest look, dress, etiquettes, etc.
Some Common Feelings:
Anxiety and Fear – Anxiety is the perception of any threat to my existence, well being, values, talents. It is General, irrational, pathological. Fear is much more specific. Es. Fear of darkness, drunkards, lonely places, creeping creatures, etc. Both can be rational. That means there is a normal reason to feel that way. It is irrational when it is abnormal or pathological. This requires clinical assistance or medication.
Anger – If not handled on time it can develop into hostility. Es. Revenge, grudge. Motivation here is to harm others. Anger in itself is good. When our needs are not met or our plans are not executed we feel angry. Anger for a value is good. Jesus got raged to see the temple being desecrated. Hostility is unhelpful. Hostile people are negative. When anger is developed into hostility it is acted out in Aggression.
Jealousy is relational. It is the fear of losing someone who I am possessive of. Envy is when I am unable to bear someone else’s prosperity
Guilt is feeling bad for oneself. Self disapproval. I regret. Guilt can be healthy also when it gives us chance to repent. Types of Guilt:
- Transgression Guilt – Moral, spiritual. It promotes sensitivity to the other. When values, ideas, vows, commandments are transgressed we feel guilty. Therapeutic means to overcome this guilt are confession, reconciliation, prayer, spiritual guidance.
- Perfectionistic Guilt – It is caused due to one’s strong super ego, over idealism. Not a healthy sense of morality. A feeling ‘I am not up to the mark’. Persons cannot forgive themselves. Lot of counseling is required. Persons can suffer from scrupulosity.
- Rejection Guilt – Caused due to deprivation or physical violation. Es. Sometimes significant persons tell the girl that they expected a boy and she was born. As a result a guilt can come up that she is the cause of unhappiness of her parents. A rejection is experienced for which the person holds himself/herself responsible. Some can think of committing suicide. Counselling/therapy/spiritual direction are curative and preventive measures.
- Depression Guilt– Thinking becomes negative. Negative view of self, others and the world. Filters only the negative in the affective memory. Likes to remain alone. Helplessness, worthlessness and hopelessness. In extreme cases can think of committing suicide. Some signs are losing appetite, stays alone, cries easily, gets irritated easily. Anti depressant drugs give some symptomatic relief. Sometimes depression can follow a death in the family, amputation of the important part of the body etc. Therapeutic helps includes: 1) grieving, 2)moaning, 3)dialoging, 4)saying goodbye, farewell, 5)healing 6)prayers.
Management of Emotions (Healing)
- 1. Recognition Naming ‘as it is’
- 2.Acceptance Claiming ‘give myself permission.
I have a right to feel that way’
3. Regulating Disciplining Taming through various ways,
bringing them under control
4. Expressing Channelizing Aiming. Unhealthy way would
be using defense mechanisms.
Healthy ways would be sharing, dialoguing, self talk, fantasy exercise, sublimation(discharging the energy through some creative exercise) reading good literature, physical exercise, prayer, meditation.
Pedagogy for Integral Formation ( as it is in the notes of Fr. Joe Mathias)
‘Fulfilment’ is the term that comes in the conversation among the consecrated persons of today. There is nothing in life if there is no fulfilment. Even in secular world we see there is a great movement in search of this fulfilment where people are going for ‘live in’ experience before the marriage. Today even the religious are not happy with the life they lead as a consequence we have credibility problems in terms of pedophilia, women ordination etc.
People who have made the commitment to the Lord live a happy life. They accept the life as a gift from God and offer it to the Lord through religious vows. They are able to offer their real self and not superficial self. As a result they are able to accept their strengths and weaknesses and move forward in life doing the will of God in their lives.
Unhappiness happens because the consecrated person has made her commitment to the congregation and not to Christ. When it is to the congregation her performance matters and she will be in look out for the possible favours, and when it is not able to get in her life she feels rejected and depressed and becomes a thorn in the flesh for others in the community.
The old formation programmes insisted on the piety and regulations of the community and the members observed them with scrupulosity and expected others to do the same. There was little attention given to human aspect of the person, because body was considered as an evil thing and so they inflicted pain on the body.
Today what we need is the integrated formation giving importance to both human as well as spiritual formation. Therefore I would like to focus my attention to it taking St Teresa of Avila as model. She was able to find fulfilment in her life and doing and living real life in day today life situations. Her fulfilment was as St Augustine said ‘our hearts are restless o Lord until they rest in you’.
1. CONSECRATED LIFE: LIVED TODAY
He went up the mountain and called to him those whom he wanted and they came to him. (Mk 3/13). It is a special call to consecrate oneself whole heartedly to the fulfilment of God’s kingdom. A religious is person who seeks God and God alone in all the circumstances (Sr Anice & Fr Lawrence Pinto, AJVF, 1998). The Gospel of Mark speaks about the call of disciples to be fishers of men. “Formation is concerned about the transformation of the whole person and every aspect such as intellectual, moral, communitarian, cultural, spiritual and social pastoral development of the person should be the object of formation, but sometimes we neglect the human aspects and more importance given to spiritual aspects as it happens almost everyone who goes through formation learns lot about what is religious and how it is to be lived. In other words we got more information. Most religious succeed in learning to live without creating too much trouble. In the past concept of human formation was given neither sufficient attention nor a particular emphasis in formation houses. It was confined the areas of good manners, right conduct and polished behaviours (Kuriakose P, 2007, P.12). For a long time the great concern of religious did not go beyond their own sphere rather they were self centred and primarily sought personal salvation. It is understandable that the clinging to the structural and normative modes would be stressed by the conscious of the weakening of the original spirit (Marcello A, p. 10). We have a phrases like fully human is fully divine and the glory of God is a human person fully alive.
2. PURPOSE OF CONSECRATED LIFE
Religious life and formation should aim at a prophetic spirituality today. Its salient features are the following:
A personal God experience: each person is unique so the God experience is also different, we can give to others only what we experienced, this is a very significant point in giving shape to a religious spirituality.
A radical sense of justice: their dream was a just human relationship, they condemned injustice. No religious life is possible today without taking a strong and clear stand about the corruption and injustice.
An integral vision of Man: their vision of man is integral. The call and the mission of religious today are to maintain the harmony and unity of the totality that embraces the whole reality (Mathew V., AJVF, 2001, p.62-63).
To become a true disciple of God one must undergo integral human formation. One can’t be a good Christian unless one is good human being. The need for human formation and integrated personality is all the more basic necessity today for a religious.
3. HUMAN FORMATION: Necessity of the hour
Human formation as facilitating the process of becoming fully and genuinely human. Man is internally a complex unity of different dimensions. So he is externally placed in a net works of relationships to other human beings to the surrounding physical environment and to God, quite in tune with his specific personal nature (Fr Thomas Scrampickal, AJVF, 2001, p.17). Today’s religious are very much exposed to the world. Human formation in the light of Pastors Dabo Vobis clearly revealed that the human formation of priests show its specific importance when related to the receivers of mission in order that his ministry may be as humanly credible acceptable as possible. It is important that the priest should mould his human personality in such a way that it becomes a bridge and not an obstacle for others in their meeting with Jesus Christ the redeemer of man (Fr. Louis Malickal, AJVF, 1998, p.6-7).
This view is applicable to each and every consecrated people. We must cultivate many human qualities for our own growth and fulfilment. These qualities would make us balanced, strong and free to face the situations and help us to be a true disciple of Lord. In formation the human is quite often identified with the elite. But if formation is in view of an in the style of the elite, it can be hardly be suitable for the masses. Hence any programme of human formation must be rooted in social awareness that would impart to the formees the necessary mental perception, spiritual motivation and physical skills to become messengers of Jesus ( Fr. Louis Malickal, AJVF, 1998, p.10).
4. PRE-REQUISITIES OF HUMAN FORMATION
Integral human formation as a process of self transformation does not happen by itself but it is a gradual process. The following pre-requisites will help us to grow a fully human and spiritual person of God.
Self esteem is a source of inner strength. It is a state of mind of an individual arrived at a result of careful analysis and assessment of his or her competence (John Monbourgutte, 2006). Why do we need to cultivate self –esteem? Self esteem is a state of mind which emerges from the very way in which we live. This self view has to do with the vast complex of past and present influences our memory bank of good, bad and neutral actions and impressions (K.S Joseph, 2007, p.44).
If we possess a high degree of self-esteem we will probably be less defensive, less anxious, easy to accept others as they are and also better able to make decisions. If we have a poor self image our personality can’t take proper shape and also easily fall prey to depression and other psychological disturbances. When we really love ourselves and approve and accept ourselves as we are, everything in our life works. It’s as though little miracle spring up everywhere. ( Louis Hay)
4.1.1. Four signs of Self-esteem
Recognise that I have the right to live: it means living with quiet confidence and pride in ourselves. We need to tell ourselves that we are not an accident but well planned project of God. I need to accept the fact that I have both good qualities and weakness in life and I need not hide them rather I need to over – come those that are negative.
Be conscious of being unique: the value of a man is measured by the esteem in which he holds himself. Valuing ourselves as unique learning to accept all the aspects of ourselves as part of our personality is major challenge for self -esteem.
Accept all aspects of the person: I recognise as mine everything that belongs to me. I can know myself better. By doing this I can love myself and have a good relationship with each part of myself. Love of self begins with authentic compassion towards the self.
See myself as loved, and loving myself: the worst solitude is not to be alone, but to be an unbearable compassion for oneself. The most violent solitude is to be bored with one’s own company (K.J Joseph, 2007)
4.2. SELF AWARENESS
Self awareness is the knowledge about ourselves as human individuals. Individuals with a strong sense of self awareness can be autonomous. They can be sure where they are strong and where they are weak and need change.
4.2.1. Emotional self awareness
Here we are aware of what we think and feel in the present. When we have this ability we will be able to know which emotions we are feeling and name them as well as give reasons for having such feelings. We will be able to make out how these feelings are affecting our performance. It will give insight into our strengths and weakness and in turn we become more self-confident.
4.2.2. Awareness about our behaviour
A number of traits and habits constitute our character and personality. We can be active, passive, aggressive or even manipulative in behaviours. A person who is active when confronted with problems will be able to deal with it rather than escape from it. People who are self conscious and shy tend to be passive, and so they fail to influence people and people ease to respect them. It can lead to lowering their self esteem and feel ashamed of themselves.
Some of them may be manipulative, but we need to keep in mind the famous saying that no one can cheat others all the time. The truth is bound to be out and people will know who we really are. Therefore there is a need to know where we stand with respect to our behaviour. We need to be alert and self critical in order to change ourselves. Therefore we need to retain some qualities that are meaningful to our life such as composed, active, affectionate, fair, flexible, generous, friendly etc. at the same time there is a need to think and change few of our negative behaviours such as hostile, rash, rigid, self-centred, submissive, shy, withdrawn etc.
4.2.3. Awareness about locus of control
Quite number of people believes that they are the masters of their own fate. They believe that they can control what happen to them. They set their goals and make to happen they are makers and breakers of their own lives and they are called internals. On the other hand there are others who believe in stars and fate and superstitions and what happens to them they have no control and blame on the outside factors, they are called externals. People who are internals are progressive and externals are on the downward movement. (K.J Joseph ,2007, p. 22-25)
4.3. SELF CONFIDENCE
Self confidence has to do with the belief that one is able to do things. It involves a strong sense of self worth. We need to have firm belief in our skills in order to use them to their fullest. At the same time over confidence is destructive. Domineering behaviour in a person is generally seen as assign of excessive self-confidence. Lack of self-confidence may manifest itself in feeling of self doubt. This may also make its appearance in the form of fear, anxiety, worry etc. they fail to take risk in their life, so to say they remain passive and fails to take initiative in any task.
Self confidence gives the inner strength to face the opposition in life, to remain courageous in time of temptations, helps to make decisions in life, and helps them to work harder and longer and to persist despite difficulties. In the absence nothing worthwhile can happen. (K.J Joseph, 2007, p.36-37)
Recognising our aptitude and limits and refusing to compare ourselves to others are the two essential conditions for gaining self esteem. If esteem for ourselves and esteem for our abilities are unbalanced we will not act in healthy ways. The negative driving force leads to choose wrong motivations. Human motivation is a complex and its study in the context of psychological examination is a challenge.
To act we need a motive. Every meaningful behaviour has a reason. Something that directly or indirectly inspired. Most of the candidates do not have a clear goal about their vocation because the negative forces such as poverty, disfunctional family atmosphere, materialism, and consumerism also force them to take wrong decisions. So it is very important to purify the motivations. Motivation is cumulative term very meaningful behaviour originates in a plurality of motives. It can be conscious or unconscious, actual or habitual (Sr Anice & Fr Lawrence Pinto, AJVF, 2000, p. 6)
4.4. 1. Ways to Motivate
According to Kelman there exist three different ways of being motivated. In real life situations they are presented in mixed forms. What is important is to see what prevails in the person and the urgency to purify the motivation.
One is motivated to act for the sake of reward or punishment. This stage which is proper to children may come into the life of religious life, when one is not convinced of one’s vocation is a call from God to do his mission. She will do it as a profession which demands reward in terms of reinforcement.
The motivating factor is the desire or need for admiration and acceptance. These are the people who are not able to accept themselves as they are. They have very low self esteem and so they do the act in order to gain acceptance. They go to such an extent of doing it perfection but not out of love.
Function of value experience. The people who accept the values of Christ and internalize are able to grow in life and contribute to the mission of the church whatever may be the situations, because they are convinced of the fact they are created in the image and likeness of God. They do it because one discovers one’s own system of values. There is no need for social reinforcement, because the gratification comes with living it with conviction. Even when one does not receive appreciation or one has to pay for the faithfulness to it, she will continue to do it (Cencini A & Manenti, 2009, p. 426).
Renowned psychologist and spiritual writer A Vankaan says “Motivation is central to personality”. The vocations we receive today are from the world where there is a paradigm shift from the sacred to the secular. In order to help the individual to recognise and overcome the inconsistencies that hinder human and spiritual growth, psychological evaluation is to be needed. Essential characteristics of motivation for religious life are: a clear understanding of the distinction between human needs, attitudes and values will help the formee to understand better the vocational values and attitudes. This knowledge help them to check whether one is oriented towards needs or values and both these can be known through the expression of attitudes (Sr Anice & Fr Lawrence Pinto, AJVF, July-Dec., 2000, p. 11).
Needs are action tendencies which seek actualising the different types of needs, basic needs satisfy needs , self esteem, self transcendence. The safety needs are not met one may feel insecure, rigid, lazy and fearful. If the self esteem need is not met one begins to compare oneself with others. Transcendence needs which goes beyond. A formee must be aware of her needs because needs motivate our action in general.
Attitude is a mental and neutral state of predisposition to respond, organized through experience and exerting a dynamic influence on behaviour. Attitude is an inward feeling expressed by behaviour both values and needs can be known through the expression of attitudes when the attitude is positive the mind expands and the progress begins.
According to Allport a value is a belief upon which a person acts by preference. Values are the treasures of life. Vocational growth presupposes the ability to internalise spiritual values and to live by them. Internalisation of values is precisely the process of maturation ( Sr Anice & Fr Lawrence Pinto, AJVF, July-Dec., 2000, p.13).
Religious vocation is primarily an internal grace, which demands a total consecration of oneself to the person of Jesus. As religious vocation is a process of growth and the depending of one’s motivation is an important aspect of it. In this process of growth, the development of an integrated personality, wherein the formee will have the ability to recognise her own feelings and respond to them in an appropriate manner with the strength of spirit that paves the way towards maturity and wholeness.
4.5. AFFECTIVE MATURITY
A person who is able to asses a situation rationally or meaningfully, experiencing emotions that are appropriate and proportionate to the context and enjoys inner freedom to act in accordance with a worthwhile vision of life (Kuriakose P., 2007, p. 105). The process of human growth involves moving from immaturity to maturity. St Paul says “until all of us come to the unity of the Lord and of the knowledge of the son of God, to maturity to the measure of the full stature of Christ (Eph 4/13). It is meaningful to look at the affective, cognitive and behavioural aspects of human maturity. A mature person would consistently act in accordance with her proclaimed vision of life. One who preaches what she practices.
There are some signs of a matured person:
Have a capacity to face reality and confront it, other words capacity for living with tension. Accept and integrate their needs with vocational values and attitudes; they enjoy interior freedom; basic trust towards others a result of self acceptance and acceptance of others; they do not invest in worrying over the past or being anxious about the future but in living in the present (Kuriakose P., 2007, p.106).
Human formation in the light of Pastores Dabo Vobis document high lights that affective maturity is necessary in order for the priest and religious to be capable of unselfish love, healthy celibacy and even appropriate and artistic sensitivity. An affective matured person is fully human and fully spiritual.
God calls every human being to be in communion with him. It’s a growing process. When we have a strong desire for God, God enters the soul. St Teresa of Avila describes the human soul as an externally beautiful castle of clear crystal or diamond that contains many rooms. God himself is at the centre of this castle and continually invites the person to come inside and remain in his love. The mystical journey consists in entering the castle one’s way through seven mansions.
First mansions: Mostly used vocal prayers. In this stage person is preoccupied with honours, possessions and other worldly things. If we aware and work with them slowly we can enter into the second stage.
Second Mansions: those who realize the importance of leaving the first mansions are in the second stage. They hear the king calling through books, sermons etc. God desires and perseverance will lead the person towards God.
Third mansions: the souls having greater fervour and interest to go forward enter the third mansions. They practice charity in life. They are fond of ascetical practices.
Fourth Mansions: it marks the transition from acquired to infused contemplation. The soul is experienced quiet, recollection, peace and joy.
Fifth mansions: this stage is called prayer of union – the soul is in God and God is in the Soul. In this stage distractions disappear, effort from the soul is absent and God takes over.
Sixth mansions: it is spiritual betrothal. The Lord grants great favours and prepares the soul to be with him fully.
Seventh mansions: God desires to remove the scales from the eyes and shows himself to the persons. This stage is called spiritual marriage. The grace of the spiritual marriage is a grace of perfect union – a union that can never be broken (Class notes, Developmental Psychology).
A fully spiritual person is a fully transformed one. The deeper the prayer, the greater will be the compassion and the sensitivity. It is impossible to be a contemplative without having great love. We must lead the formee to fall in love with God and then leave them to live this love in their own unique way.
The challenge of the present is the shaping of the future in the Lord. Otherwise the future will shape us (John Carroll SJ, Human Development, 1981, p.16). Our formation should lead to an integrated human personality. To live healthy lives, develop harmonious relationships, we must acquire knowledge of the biological, psycho social and spiritual aspects of our reality and integrate them into a wholesome optimistic and happy approach to life.
Once we are able to accept ourselves as we are, we let God in to transform our self into true self that is hidden in God (David G, 2007, p. 53) which Avila was able to do through her mystical experience. We must receive it with hospitality, not hostility. Until we are willing to accept the unpleasant truths of our existence, we rationalize or deny responsibility for our behaviour. Often in our religious circle we face the problem that we are perfect and we need no help once we make our final commitment, forgetting the fact that we are on a journey and formation is lifelong.
Therefore the call of the religious life is to accept the fact, as we are and move towards self transformation. Our vocation is love God and neighbour as Jesus said ‘love your neighbour as yourself’. To do this one has to be transformed into Christ by the self transcendence (Fr Roque D’sa, AJVF, July-Dec., 2005, p. 54). Once one is able to transcend she will be able to relate to the other taking into consideration other as child of God, as a consequence she will treat the other conferrer as a gift from God and not as object of one’s selfish ends. She will make space and time for the growth and find God in all situations and relationships.
Two anthropological realities related to Christian Vocation:
The Christian vocation may be understood as the call of God to the human person so that the latter might cooperate as a partner in the New Alliance which God willed to establish between Himself and man. This call is a gratuitous gift of God which makes it possible for man to respond to thanks to the continuing action of the Holy Spirit.
Nevertheless, this divine call to the human person goes not fall on neutral ground, but encounters two anthropological realities which are part of human nature.
In the first place, there is in man the possibility, the “capacity” of transcending oneself theocentrically, that is, of going beyond oneself systematically: beyond all that one has acquired, all that one thinks, wants, and accomplishes, all that one is, in order to project oneself beyond one’s present situation and reach God as an ultimate objective. This capacity for self-transcendence can converge with the call which God may direct towards the person in the Christian vocation.
In the second place, the Divine call encounters another anthropological reality: we mean limitations of various kinds inherent in the human person which, in the final analysis, may obstruct, to a greater or lesser degree, the freedomof man to live out this anthropological thrust towards theo-centric self-transcendence.
As one can see, the two anthropological realities inevitably called into play in a Christian vocation are in a certain sense divergent: that of self-transcendence is in itself favorable to human cooperation in the New Alliance, whereas that of human limitations leading to an imperfect freedom may be an obstacle to this cooperation.
In this course, we will:
1. confirm the existence of the two above mentioned realities in the human person from an analysis of the human personality from the psychological perspective,
2. Consider the relationship between the two anthropological realities in so far as they influence the vocational process.
We will seek to demonstrate how these two anthropological realities influence each other and how they are particularly important for the process of growth in Christian vocation.
Often in spite of sincere and generous attempts to reach a better understanding of vocational problems and to find more valid solutions to these, one tends to forget one or the other ( or both) of these anthropological realities.
Thus one may undermine the thrust towards theocentric self-transcendence by subjectification of values. A religious institution may proclaim that it wishes to live according to moral and religious values while subordinating such values, in practice, to other values which are prevalently natural or humanistic ( prestige, professional success, self-realization, etc).
On the other hand, one may overlook the possible limitations inherent in human freedom, even after redemption by Christ, and attribute to person or institutions a false capacity for autonomy, an illusory view of its capacity to be free in pursuing vocational growth, without any help from outside or by help of structures. One overlooks the fact that every family, every religious community, and every academic or professional group, must struggle daily in order to overcome the inner disintegration which threatens its functioning or even its existence as a force for Christian vocational growth.
The three levels of Psychic life:
There exist three levels of psychic life or three levels of desire as tendencies to action.
The first level is that of physiological appetites.
This level includes sensory and motor functions of seeing, hearing, and moving, to be seen clearly from early infancy, and also the non-intentional states or trends such as fatigue, irritability, hunger, thirst, and sexual discomfort. These are instincts related to a distinct state or physiological disposition characterized by a deficit in the tissues outside the central nervous system. These dispositions are felt as a tendency to a specific action and which sensitizes the organism towards specific objects offering satisfaction to the person. The instinctive appetites are satiated by consummatory responses; for example, the animal ceases to eat when it is full. Such satiation does not occur at the other two levels of psychic life.
The second level is called the psycho-social level.
Here in contrast to the first, there are tendencies to action which are not activated by physiological states and which do not aim at specific objects determined by nature. An object evaluated as agreeable and satisfying for the person can motivate him in the sense that it can make him do or feel something; e.g. he can love, be aggressive, establish a friendship, feel inferior, and so on. The second level permits us to develop a life of relationships, especially with the world of people around us.
The third level is spiritual and rational level.
Human beings possess the capacity and power to penetrate the nature of things, abstracting from the data of senses. From observation of individual phenomena, a person can abstract general principles, concepts and laws which govern and explain these phenomena. Animals cannot do this. The person can develop and use symbols and symbolic language which too is impossible for animals.
This abstractive power of the human person is called intelligence, reason (“spirit”) and in contrast to matter, does not have measurable dimensions.
By this power the person can not only form immaterial concepts of material things but can know abstract concepts such as virtue, goodness, justice etc. Such concepts have no measurable dimension. These spiritual activities transcend the limits of immediate facts and of material process.
Such transcendence is found when the person deals with matters such as the destiny of man, the meaning of existence, affirmations of the absolute being or of values of human freedom, and of moral obligation. All such psychic contents imply that in one way or the other our psychic life transcends the limits of being influenced here and now by some stimulus. In this transcendence is found the rational dimension of our life which is basic to the Christian vocation and makes this vocation possible.
It is only because the person is free, and can make a responsible choice, that the person can be invited and called by God to commit himself to such a vocation. And it is only as free that the person can make a responsible choice to follow such a call.
SOME OF THE INDICATORS OF AFFECTIVE MATURITY
1. Stage when observed
2. Impulse control
Little control. Often acting out on the level of basic needs as well psychological needs such as dependency, insecurity and aggression
Control in the case of basic needs. Mixture of acting out of sexual needs, aggression, and dependency and growing confidence in mastering them through autonomy, counteraction, etc.
Sense of control over psychological needs and capacity to integrate needs in the service of one’s vision and values.
Fear and self-gratification
Pleasing and giving in order to get. Defensive
Ideals and values. Personal vision of life.
4. Personal responsibility
Minimal. Responsible neither for actions nor consequences
Responsible for actions but not to consequences. Autonomy is stressed more than responsibility
Freedom with responsibility to one’s vision of life as well as to society. Responsibility to actions and consequences.
5. Sense of morality
What is bad? What brings punishment
What is bad? What society does not approve
What is bad? What goes against universal principles like “love” “greater good of all” etc.
7. Response to social control
Through mere outer compliance
Through identification with and imitation .
Through internalized vision and values.
8. Quality of maturity
Psychological and vocational immaturity or disturbance
Psychological and vocational immaturity and maturity present at the same time
Psychological and vocational maturity
THREE LEVELS OF PSYCHIC LIFE
All human beings respond to God’s call through the psychological laws that God has put within us. The point of contact is the self.
This self can be subdivided in three distinct levels to understand self, man better. Everything we do reveals these three aspects of elements of mind or psyche , each with its own laws and implying different functions.
I . PSYCHOPHYSIOLOGICAL LEVEL.
All of us are physical, organic beings with chemical rhythms and physiological reactions.
We have needs to eat, sleep, drink, breathe, and the need for physical contact, temperature balance, sex, etc. We have needs for physical well-being, feel the need to avoid bodily discomfort.
- There needs are viscerogenic. There is tissue base for these needs. They originate in body cells. They are biochemical in nature.
- The duration of the states of these needs are limited in duration. They are governed by the principle of homeostasis..
- The goal is tension reduction. They are ruled by the pleasure principle.
- On this level we are like animals. We react to stimuli involuntarily. These states come and go unintentionally. Needs of this level can be called INSTINTCS.
- We are not fully free on this level. The body determines the meaning of the world on this level..
II. PSYCHOSOCIAL LEVEL.
We are social beings. We relate to others and to the world. Life of relationships if important for human beings. Even when alone, others are implied: they are experienced as absent.
We have needs for social contact, acceptance, recognition, communication, love, care, attention. What we can do by ourselves is limited. We need others to grow fully as human beings.
- These needs have no tissue- base. They are neurogenic.
- While needs of the I level focus on the world, now the focus is on the person.
- The experience of the world and others as related and meaningful is different from a biochemical experience of the same environment in metabolism.
- The experience of meaning has no physiological equivalent.
III THE SPIRITUAL – RATIONAL LEVEL.
There are in our experience contents and activities which transcend the limits of immediate facts and material process.
- We have the need to judge, know, evaluate, explore and go beyond things we can touch and feel. We can grasp the nature of things by abstracting from the data of our senses. We can form concepts.
- We are concerned about man’s destiny, the absolute being, etc.
- We form values, concepts about good and bad, we feel moral obligation.
- We can make symbols: language.
All this means that
- Wee can transcend the here and now, transcend the limits of my being affected by a stimulus here and now.
- This means I am free. I can transcend my facticity.
- This gives man the possibility to go beyond and transcend the needs of level I and II.
- We can choose. We can renounce. Religious life is possible.
Animals do not have this level. Animals cannot transcend the here and now except as a conditioned reflex. Animals are not free… can’t make the vows.
Each act involves all three levels:
I. I feel hungry there is the urge to eat. I see some food. I salivate.
II. I have table manners. I don’t eat alone. I wait for others, for company.
III. I can give up eating for a certain period of time , fast for a higher cause.
I. There is physical attraction. I don’t know the person, just a mere look creates physical reactions. I feel excited. Someone touches me, don’t know who, or I touch myself…. In masturbation.
II. I not only feel physical attraction, I want to be friends. I like talking to the person. We share ideas.
III . I want to postpone intercourse till we are married. I give up marriage to a person I am in love with, for a higher cause, to join religious life.
Integration and lack of integration.
What does integration mean in this context. It means right ordering of the three levels respecting the natural hierarchy implied but respecting and giving attention to all three levels without suppressing or denying any. It refers to the right ordering of the three levels.
Lack of integration:
1) Overstressing level I or living on level I and neglecting the other two levels.
– Gluttony.. epicureans.
Some psychologists such as psychoanalysts like Freud stressed level I and denied the reality of the other two levels. For them therefore, religious life leads to neurosis because it denies expression to the ID, instincts. Religious life is not possible when all psychic life is reduced to level I.
These deny that man is free and can renounce needs of the first level for a higher cause. Values are mere rationalizations and not real.
E.g. priest with a psychosomatic problem asked to go to a prostitute to release tension.
Overstressing level I & II, denying or neglecting level III.
Humanistic psychologists tend to do this. They give important to the social level but not to morality or religion.
Overstressing level III and neglecting I & II.
Olden day spirituality tended to do this, stressing that man is spirit, angelic spirituality. They tended to suppress both physiological and social needs.
Platonic love… With one’s will power can control one’s instincts…. There is no limit to what one can achieve with will power and power of grace…
In the old spirituality, there was too much of penance and denial of legitimate need for food, rest. Etc… led to psychosomatic illnesses.
Stigmatist living purely on host!!!!
Remember “man is a God who shits”: Ernest Becker
What does integration mean?
All three levels should be respected in their proper hierarchy.
We are not completely conditioned by level I. We are not animals. We can freely choose, though with limits, to renounce, overcome, transcend our facticity.
But we are also limited: we cannot deny our human nature and do injustice to the laws of nature. These laws are created by God himself. We can’t go against the natural laws implied and remain human, holy, sane.
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