Formation to facilitate the Conversion Process

transformation of a caterpillar

There is a growing understanding of formation as transformation of the whole person. Conversion could be considered as the biblical term for transformation. Jesus began his ministry with a call to conversion in order to receive the Good News (Mk. 1.15). We have presented distinct dimensions of a missionary’s life in this webpage on formation to emphasize the importance of integrating all dimensions in order to achieve a holistic transformation in the formee, centered on Christ. As the spiritual dimension is central to all other dimensions, transformation is essentially spiritual. The insights of Lonergan on self-transcendence and conversion are very enlightening to understand the dynamics of formation as transformation. Here is an outline of the three conversions explained by Lonergan in his Method in Theology. The three conversions are Religious, Moral and Intellectual conversion. These conversions are the result of the unlimited quest of the human person to transcend himself and can render one an authentic human person.

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Jesus the Formator

“…having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end”

shepherdThe formator has a key role in accompanying the young Claretians in their growth into conformity with Christ (Cf. CC 77; 68; PI 30).  The spirit of Jesus is at work through the formators  (GPF 107). The primary requisite of a formator is his own intimacy and conformity with Christ, the evangelizer.  In order to grow in the qualities expected of a formator (GPF 108; PI 30), he has to gaze at and learn from the supreme formator, Jesus, whom he represents. All academic qualifications and other formative preparations will become effective only when backed by the credible life witness of the formator.

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Jesus as a Formandus

Gazing at Him….we learn to be human, Christian and Claretian.

Jesus’ as a formandus in Nazareth

“And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favour with God and man” (Lk.2.52)

boy jesusThe goal of Claretian formation is evidently following the Jesus of the Gospels, to grow in union and conformity with Him (GPF 12). All processes of formation aim at assisting the young formandi to realize their unity of life in Christ through the Spirit (PI 1). Our formandi grow through a process of progressive identification with the sentiments of Jesus and appropriation of his vision of life. Therefore, at the outset of our formative itinerary, we look at Jesus’ own story of formation in order to grow in Him. It is in his humanity that the “Word became flesh and dwelt among us”, raising our human nature to its heights and rendering God’s glory visible (Jn 1.14). in order that his story continue in us, our human nature has to be formed into his “image and likeness” (Gen.1.26). We consider our formative processes successful in the measure that our formandi are assisted to reach this goal. Jesus grew up amidst a difficult socio-political context, akin to that of many of our formandi.

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