Ongoing formation is above all to help the person more in oneself, to believe more in life, to believe more in community and the Church, and to believe more in Christ. This demands a conversion to a new learning attitude in Religious Life.
What are the challenges for the future regarding the so called “Ongoing Formation” in religious life than?
- Renewal of a holistic thinking of Formation:
Human, spiritual, intellectual and every other form of formation are constant means to stay on the path. Jesus says “learn from me” (Mt. 11:29). Our first formation is well organized. Ongoing Formation is still a diffuse term and for most religious groups still a diffuse field. One wonders why religious life so far was not able to organize a concept of lifelong formation with a natural connection between initial (first) and ongoing formation?
- The Responsibility of the Individual:
The responsibility of lifelong formation is first of all linked to the will of the individual religious person. Religious life would need a revival of autonomous “self-discipline”. It is about a good and healthy management of my personal time for study, rest and relaxation in correspondence with my community life and perhaps the work outside the community. Sacrifices will surely be required as community and mission will take the bigger portion of time from my life.
- The Necessity of Guidance:
For all dimensions and stages of religious life we need guidance . There is a need for suitable confessors, spiritual directors and counseling. “Suitable” means having a guide who challenges me rather than pleases me. I would add good friends as well to the possible guides. Good friends are those who love me and respect my vocation, my brothers and sisters and the mission of my institute. Often those outsiders facilitate understanding, discussion and sharing.
- The Dimension of Community Life:
Community is the ground of our lifelong formation. Through the experience of life, prayer and study – all community life should first of all lead to a deeper understanding of the “Mystery of Christ.” Good community atmosphere is the key to a successful growth in religious life. The atmosphere itself has a formative character.
- The Importance of Leadership:
Superiors have to point out the necessary instruments for suitable human, spiritual, doctrinal and professional formation. They have to be attentive to the timeframe of a community regarding the balance of time for community commitment and the individual’s lifelong formation. Superiors are responsible for the atmosphere in the community. Part of it is as well a good and loving culture of correction and appreciation.
CIVCSVA YEAR OF CONSECRATED LIFE
CONSECRATED LIFE IN UNITY – INTERNATIONAL MEETING
SYNTHESIS FORUM N°3 ENGLISH ANIMATOR: THOMAS KLOSTERKAMP, OMI, Th.D
Sr. Cecilia Bayona, (UISG Archivist)