Joyful Commitment and loving Perseverance in consecrated life requires affective maturity and education of emotions. Often this is an area relegated to private sphere and many good missionaries suffer burn out due tensions arising from poor management of aggressiveness and affections. Research shows that higher levels of emotional maturity is related higher spiritual consciousness (studies on spiritual intelligence by Cindy Wigglesworth).
“Affective transformation means taking responsibility for one’s emotional life with all its feelings, passions, and intentions. Emotional healing requires the willingness to acknowledge and forgive past hurts. It presumes some measure of repentance, particularly the renouncement of the rage, fear, and guilt that separates the individual from God. As these negative affects are brought to healing in faith, individuals need to learn to own and express their positive affects and virtues, including love, friendship, compassion, sensitivity, and enthusiasm.
Ongoing affective transformation may require “sound spiritual direction and psychotherapy when necessary or helpful.”It demands a willingness to face one’s own unconscious capacity for violence and destructive behaviours. Furthermore, forgiveness is essential in this type of ongoing conversion as it inaugurates a new level of conscious integration.” – Len Sperry
Virtues that supports affective transformation:
Compassion: Disposition that enables one to understand and respond with caring and concern to the other’s frame of reference.
Self-care: Disposition that eensures taking responsibility for one’s own psychological health and well-being, which is the expression of the virtue of self-love.
Formation in affective dimension too requires self-capacities such as:
Self-acknowledgment: Capacity to renew belief in one’s own worthiness and to acknowledge having effectively coped with a crisis or concern.
Spontaneity: Capacity to experience a wide range of feelings appropriately, deeply, and without blocking or deadening their impact.
Self-soothing: Capacity to limit, minimize, and soothe painful affects without recourse to emotional numbing, depersonalization, or de-realization.
Intimacy: Capacity to express the self fully in a dose relationship with minimal anxiety or fears of rejection
Self-continuity: Capacity to recognize and to acknowledge that the inner self persists and is continuous through space and over time.
Creativity: Capacity to use the self to replace old familiar patterns with new, unique, and different patterns.
Autonomy: Capacity to regulate self-esteem and to be alone with minimal fear of abandonment or engulfment.
Spiritual practices that facilitate affective transformation:
Healing the heart and learning to love: It includes practices that leads to forgiveness; reconciliation; inner healing work and reframing fear, hurt, and anger. Meaningful celebration of the sacraments of reconcilitation is an effective spiritual means to affective transformation.