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IIC 63: Human Formation: The Critical Missing Element


Dr. Peter defines “human formation” and discusses how and why deliberate, thoughtful human formation, grounded in the Catholic Faith is a challenge for us and our Church– and what to do about it, starting with an experiential exercise to help you get in touch with the particular elements of human formation you are lacking.


[00:00:12] Hello. I am clinical psychologist Peter Malinoski and you are listening to the weekly podcast Interior Integration for Catholics. Today, in episode 63, we are discussing human formation. What is it? What is human formation? And what do you mean, Dr. Peter, when you say it’s missing for many people? Well, I’m going to start with this bold claim, a controversial claim, and that claim is this: for many, many Catholic adults in our day and age, in our culture, there is a much greater need to focus on human formation than on spiritual formation. Let me say that again. Many, many Catholic adults at this point in their lives need solid human formation more than they need spiritual formation. And we’re talking about serious Catholic adults. The commitment to human formation is so important in the Catholic married sexual life that it composes two of the four legs of my model of a Catholic marriage bed. The husband’s commitment to human formation is one leg. The wife’s commitment to human formation is the other leg. Another leg of that bed is really understanding attachment needs and integrity needs. We discussed that in episode 62. And the fourth leg is an internal family systems-informed model of the person with the self and with parts that unity and that multiplicity. We covered that in episode 60 and 61. The floor is a deep, abiding, childlike trust in Mary, our spiritual mother and God our spiritual father. That’s the foundation of everything, that trust.

[00:01:56] And we’re building the whole bed here. We started this model of the Catholic marriage bed in episode 58. We’re not going to review all of it now. You can go back there and see the rest of the parts. But what I am focusing on in this episode is how so many Catholics, some of them with lots of spiritual formation, have built their spiritual lives on a very, very unsound natural foundation with mediocre or poor human formation. As a result, their spiritual lives are unstable. Let me give you an extreme example of this. Very early in my practice, almost 20 years ago, a very earnest Catholic man in his mid 30s showed up at my office, very sincere but very distressed. He wanted me to help his wife understand the faith. The wife was Catholic, but there was a lot of tension between my client and his wife about his spiritual practices. And in fact, things had gotten so bad that there was danger of divorce. The wife was saying, “Get to counseling or I’m going to divorce you.” Well, what were the wife’s concerns? The man was spending three hours per day in Eucharistic adoration, and he was bringing their young children, wanting them to sit still and pray as he prayed for these three hours. He really felt that Our Lady of Lourdes had revealed that that was what we were supposed to be doing as Catholics, and not everyone was doing it.

[00:03:26] He was going to do it. The man had no gainful employment. He had lost his position, and the wife was feeling constantly criticized by his fraternal corrections, his attempts to “help her” become more holy. All right. So is this a spiritual problem? I mean, obviously there’s spiritual content, but is this really a spiritual problem? No, the problem here is primarily in the natural realm. This man was blended with a part that was so driven by fear. This part was desperately trying to please an extremely demanding God, an extremely demanding Mary, as a mother-figure, trying desperately to become holy. A lot of Pelagian efforts to earn the satisfaction and approval of God in Mary, and this contributed to a lack of attunement to his children. He was becoming more and more alienated from them, and they were becoming more and more alienated from the faith. It drove a real wedge in his marriage between him and his wife. His wife thought that he was a religious nutcase, and while he recognized there were problems, he really thought his wife needed to change. So he prayed the rosary because Fatima visionary Sister Lucia said, “There is no problem, I tell you, no matter how difficult it is, that we cannot resolve by the prayer of the Holy Rosary.” So he took that to heart. Lots and lots of rosaries.

[00:04:58] His problems came, though, from the distortions in his human formation. When I began to work with this man, these problems were not primarily spiritual. His spiritual edifice was built upon a very unstable foundation of human formation. You can see problems in human formation in the priest sex abuse scandal as well. Now you can frame all of this spiritually and often it was framed spiritually. The priest who sexually abused children—well, he gave in to lust. It was a violation of the virtue of chastity, among other virtues. Umm, okay, to argue that it was a spiritual problem of failure, that he gave into temptation. And okay, yes, there are spiritual dimensions to this, including a grave and serious sin, but is the primary issue with his disordered sexual attraction to children and a real lack of impulse control—is that really primarily in the spiritual realm, or is it really in the natural realm? A problem with his basic human formation? It makes much more sense to me, as a treating psychologist, to look at that as being a problem in the natural realm. Another example: scrupulosity. It’s so often seen as a spiritual problem. It’s brought to priests, it’s brought especially into the confessional, and it’s one of the most frustrating issues for confessors and spiritual directors to encounter. So often it doesn’t resolve with the traditional spiritual means. Why? Because, again, this is primarily in the natural realm.

[00:06:44] I did a whole episode—it’s almost an hour long, with Adam Cross, “The Catholic Therapist”. You can see it on YouTube. On human formation issues that underlie scrupulosity. These are the real issues in the natural realm that cause the scrupulosity. It has a lot to do with attachment issues, with unmet attachment needs, with God images. We talked all about those in episodes 23 to 29 of this podcast. Those kinds of things—the impact of the human factors drive scrupulosity. So let’s talk about this a little more. I want to go back to Genesis 3, right, where we see original sin coming into the world. Now with original sin, we can see the devastating impact on the human body. We can see death, illness, pain, the intensity of pain and childbirth, for example, physical labor, having to toil to survive, scratching out an existence from the cursed ground. We saw the devastating impact of original sin on the human body, and I argue that the same kind of effect happened to the rest of our human formation. It led to distrust of God, to fear, anger, a loss of harmony within us. There was really a kind of disintegration in the world broadly, but also inside of us. So when we talk about human formation, we’re talking about how grace perfects nature. It doesn’t destroy it. This is straight out of St. Thomas Aquinas. We need to work with our human natures, and we need our human natures to be formed.

[00:08:29] This is foundational. And our Lord discussed foundations in that famous passage in Matthew 7:24-27, when he says to his listeners, “Everyone then, who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house. But it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on sand. And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell. And great was the fall of it.” We’re talking about solid natural foundations. We’re talking about having the human aspects of ourselves well formed, so that when grace is working on our nature, that there’s something wholesome and healthy for it to perfect. I think a lot of times we see people who are desperately working on their spiritual lives and it’s like they’re doing algebra, but they haven’t mastered arithmetic. If you don’t have the basic human formation, what you wind up with is a caricature of the spiritual life. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. We need to go back and ask the basic question, “What is human formation? What am I talking about?” Now, those who follow this Interior Integration for Catholics podcast know that I am all about defining our terms.

[00:10:16] So much rests on a clear understanding of what we are discussing. Human formation can be a really nebulous term. It’s used a lot in Catholic contexts, primarily in seminary formation contexts. There’s a whole section devoted to human formation in the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops document entitled “Program of Priestly Formation”, fifth edition, and that came out in 2006. The section on human formation runs from pages 29 to 42. It’s the longest and most complete discussion of human formation I could find in any official church document. It’s about 14 pages, all about human formation. But interestingly, there is no definition of human formation. There are some relevant statements about it, but they don’t constitute a definition. For example, paragraph 75: “The foundation and center of all human formation is Jesus Christ, the word made flesh.” Okay. Also later in that paragraph, we learn that “human formation is the necessary foundation of priestly formation.” Well. Okay, good. And we learned that “the goals of human formation are to foster growth so that a man can become a free person of solid moral character, prudent and discerning, invested in and capable of communion, of relating deeply with others, with good communication skills, with affective maturity.” That’s an integration of feelings, thoughts, and values. “A man who cares for his body, who relates well with others, a good steward of material possessions, and someone who can function well in public.”

[00:11:58] Okay, I’m speaking about men here because these are all about seminarian candidates. And in the Latin Church, that’s all men. So there’s 143 pages of this document, and we get no definition, though, of what human formation is. Now, this document has been undergoing revision for a number of years now. Back in November 2019, the USCCB approved the sixth edition, and that ran to nearly 300 pages. It doubled in size, but as of now, April 2021, we’re still waiting for a recognitio from the Holy See, a formal recognition before it can go into effect. There’s no way to get a copy of what the revised text looks like. There is also a 99 page document from 1992. This is Pope St. John Paul II’s post-synodal apostolic exhortation Pastores Dabo Vobis, which translates to “I will give you shepherds”. And of those 99 pages, it’s all about the formation of priests. There’s three pages on the importance of human formation, but again, no definition of what human formation is. There’s nothing that even closely resembles a definition. Maybe there’s an assumption that we all know what human formation is, but I don’t think we do. And I’ll tell you that many US bishops, at least in my opinion, don’t seem to have a very clear idea of what human formation is. Many of their responses to the sex abuse crisis reveal that they’re kind of lost, really, with regard to human formation.

[00:13:31] I really, really looked and I was unable to find anything else, any other official church document that says much about human formation, that defines human formation. The most relevant passage in the Catechism of the Catholic Church is paragraph 2461, that says, “True development concerns the whole man. It is concerned with increasing each person’s ability to respond to his vocation and hence to God’s call.” So I went to look for the seminaries. Let’s see what the seminaries are saying about human formation, because they’re specializing in that now. It’s become a much greater concern in the last 20, 25 years. And I found a 30 page description of the Pontifical North American College, the NAC, their formation program. And it’s an interesting read. There’s lots of good information in there that talks about the seven elements of their human formation program. There’s a very detailed breakdown of the 31 overall goals that they are looking for, for their men to achieve throughout their seminary formation. And then year by year, there are specific milestones in human formation that each seminarian is supposed to achieve. It’s about an average of seven goals per year. So there’s literally dozens, scores of goals. But we still don’t have a definition of human formation. Same thing, lots of other seminaries: Saint Charles Borromeo in Philadelphia, Saint Mary’s Seminary and University in Baltimore, Saint John’s Seminary in Boston, Massachusetts, Corpus Christi College in seminary in Carlton, Victoria in Australia.

[00:15:02] They all have good, interesting web material about their human formation programs for their seminarians, but no definition. So I could go on and on. I spent hours searching for this. If you can find a solid definition of human formation in any official church document, I will send you a prize. You send it to me at You text me on my cell (317) 567-9594. Give me a link, and if you provide me your mailing address, I will mail you a prize, which is my absolute favorite image of our patroness, Our Lady Undoer of Knots. Now I consult with religious communities, I’m an expert in cults. It’s actually what I’m probably best known for in the secular psychology world. And the International Cultic Studies Association refers a lot to me when a convent or monastery goes off the rails and there’s a need for some kind of investigation. I’ve been involved with a number of those. And what you find when you get into these religious orders that are having authoritarian control issues, where there are allegations of psychological abuse and so forth, you always find deficits in human formation. The bottom line is that at present, there’s a void in the institutional Catholic Church around understanding human formation. Maybe human formation is going to be defined in the upcoming program for priestly formation in the sixth edition.

[00:16:29] I would love to see it. There’s a possibility that this is being addressed in A Catholic Christian Meta-Model of the Human Person. This is a book that came out last year in 2020 by Paul Vitz and Bill Nordling and Craig Titus. They are faculty at Divine Mercy University. There’s a doctoral program in clinical psychology there, grounded in a Catholic anthropology. I looked in the index. There’s no listing for human formation, but it might be in there, in some of those essays. It’s understandable in some ways that there are some gaps around understanding human formation. And there’s a tension in the United States between psychology and Catholicism that was well documented by historian Robert Kugelmann in his book Psychology and Catholicism: Contested Boundaries. There are lots of stories where ill-advised secular approaches were brought in to religious communities. For example, the story of Carl Rogers and Bill Coulson and the sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in California. Bill Coulson in, I think, 1994, wrote The Story of a Repentant Psychologist. He talked about how in 1966 and 1967, he and Carl Rogers and 58 other mediators brought sensitivity training and encounter groups into the sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary community. He said that “we inundated that system with humanistic psychology. We called it therapy for normals or TFN. The IHM had some 60 schools when we started,

[00:18:06] at the end they had one. There were some 560 nuns when we began. Within a year after our first interventions, 300 of them were petitioning Rome to get out of their vows. They did not want to be under anyone’s authority except the authority of their imperial inner selves. There’s a lot more that you can read about that. There’s a 1983 book by William Kilpatrick called Psychological Seduction, where he lists the problems with secular psychology and why Christians should essentially reject it. And there’s this temptation to throw the baby out with the bathwater, when it comes to this. But some of you might be saying, “Okay, Dr. Peter, it’s easy to be a critic. Why don’t you define human formation? Why don’t you put your big boy Catholic psychologist pants on and stop complaining and light a candle in the darkness? Why don’t you define it for us?” All right. Since you threw down the gauntlet like that, I will give my attempt to define human formation. I think it’s appropriate for me to do that, because in Lumen Gentium, the Vatican II document Lumen Gentium, there’s this passage in paragraph 37 that says, “The laity are by reason of the knowledge, competence or outstanding ability which they may enjoy, permitted and sometimes even obligated to express their opinions on those things which concern the good of the church. When occasions arise, let this be done through the organs erected by the church for this purpose.

[00:19:33] Let it always be done in truth, in courage and in prudence, with reverence and charity toward those who, by reason of their sacred office, represent the person of Christ.” I want to do this, therefore, in a way that’s respectful. I want to do this in a way that’s loving, in a way that’s constructive, because it’s really important that we do this out of charity. Now, you can correct me if I’m wrong about any of these things. If you recognize something that I’m saying when I define human formation or in any other aspect of these podcasts, I really do want corrections, right. So if there’s some way in which it feels like I’m going against what the church has perennially taught, I want to know that. I don’t know exactly what the organ of the church that would be erected for this kind of feedback would be. I do consult with a number of bishops and with other religious superiors and orders and so forth, from time to time. I’m offering it again so that we can consider what our human formation should be. That’s the primary reason for this. The primary reason I’m doing this podcast episode is not to reform the church per se, or to impact seminarian formation assessments. I suppose there is a criticism to say, look, can we define the terms? It’s a relatively mild statement. I want to go ahead, though, and say to you, let’s think about, like, what does it mean for you to work on your human formation? Let’s focus on building up the church, each of us within our own selves.

[00:21:07] So with all of that said, let’s go to Definition Time with Dr. Peter. Human formation is the lifelong process of natural development, aided by grace, by which a person integrates all aspects of his interior emotional, cognitive, relational and bodily life, all of his natural faculties, in an ordered way, conformed with right reason and natural law, so that he is freed from natural impediments to trusting God as his beloved child and to embracing God’s love. Then in return, because he possesses himself, he can love God, neighbor, and himself with all of his natural being in an ordered, intimate, personal and mature way. That’s my definition. I’ll go over that one more time. Human formation is the lifelong process of natural development, aided by grace, by which a person integrates all aspects of his interior emotional, cognitive, relational, and bodily life, all of his natural faculties, in an ordered way, conformed with right reason and natural law, so that he is freed from natural impediments to trusting God as his beloved child and to embracing God’s love. Then in return, because he possesses himself, he can love God, neighbor, and himself with all of his natural being in an ordered, intimate, personal and mature way. All right.

[00:22:38] So let’s break down this process. Let’s break down this whole definition. Human formation is the lifelong process. All right. Lifelong. There’s no graduation. It starts at conception and it ends at death. It starts at conception. Let’s take a look at that, right. It starts at conception. Let’s take a look at that. There’s interesting studies that talk about how the development of an unborn baby is impacted by epigenetics, methylation, the experience of the mother, whether she’s stressed, what’s going on with her hormones and so forth can impact the genetic makeup of the child. And this is long before birth. So we really are talking about from conception to death. It’s lifelong. There’s no graduation. Our Lord chose to be raised in a human family, raised by Saint Joseph and our mother Mary, who formed him. Luke 2:52: “And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature, and in favor with God and man.” He went through, in his humanity, a process of formation, this process of natural development. All right. So, aided by grace, because all good comes from God, even in unbaptized people and those who are not in a state of grace, all good comes from God. So this whole process is aided by grace. By which a person integrates all aspects. Integrates all aspects of his interior emotional, cognitive, relational, and bodily life. Integration. It’s a key word. We talk about it all the time in this podcast, right? Interior Integration for Catholics, all aspects of our inner, experiential and bodily life.

[00:24:26] We’re working on being aware of our experience, awareness of our parts in this multiplicity of self, bringing those parts into a harmonious unity with the core self. This includes our needs, our emotions, our guiding beliefs and assumptions, even if they’re unconscious, our cognitions, our thoughts, our intentions, desires, attitudes, impulses, our interpersonal styles, our bodily sensations and sexual aspects. Nothing is to be split off. Nothing is to be repressed in the long run. Otherwise it will come back and bite us. There’s what psychodynamic psychologists call the revenge of the repressed. That describes how, when certain emotions or desires or impulses are repressed and they’re not given a voice, they tend to be enacted, they tend to be acted out. So, when we are calm, when we’re recollected, when we’re integrated, when we have this integration, we are so much more equipped to enter into the phenomenological world of others. This is not self-absorbed navel gazing. This is about preparing yourself to be able, through this formation, to truly understand others and to truly love them. I talk about the starving waiter syndrome. There’s this whole sense that it is a very difficult to bring to other people the very things that you’re starving for. That just doesn’t work very well. There’s the old adage from Middle Age Latin: nemo quod non abit, no one gives what he does not have.

[00:26:01] So we need to have this integration within us, and it’s got to be conformed with right reason and natural law. This process is ordered. It’s not subjective, it’s not just whatever I make out myself to be. It’s not just whatever I identify myself as. We’ve got to conform ourselves with what is real, so that we can trust God as his beloved child and embrace his love, okay. So here we get to the reasons why human formation is so important, right. We need to be freed from these natural impediments in order to trust God as his beloved child and to embrace his love. So let’s talk a little bit about trusting God as his beloved child and embracing God’s love. So I’m going to be drawing from Fr. Tadeusz Dajczer. This is a Polish priest, excellent author. His first name T-A-D-E-U-S-Z D-A-J-C-Z-E-R, last name. And this is his book, The Gift of Faith. We’re looking at page 59, where he says, “The foundation of evil lies in a lack of simplicity and a lack of childlike trust in God.” And I think he’s dead on there, a lack of simplicity, and especially this lack of childlike trust in God. He says on page 67, “The lack of trust, the sowing of seeds, of distrust toward God is in large measure the source of all your sins and of all your existential and psychological anguish.”

[00:27:32] Wow.

[00:27:33] Okay. The lack of trust. And he says on page 68, “Distrust of God is worse than sin because it is the root and source of sin.” I think that’s absolutely true. He gives examples going back to Genesis 3 about how Satan tempted Adam and Eve, and the temptation was to distrust God, right. To question whether God really had their best interests in mind, or whether he was depriving them of some great good, the knowledge of good and evil. There are lots and lots of natural impediments to being able to love God. I spend my whole career working with natural level impediments, disruptions in human formation, the ways that our internalized images of God have been corrupted, that they’ve been undermined because of our attachment injuries, because of our relational wounds, and because of unmet integrity needs. We talked about those in previous podcasts. These disruptions, this disorder in human formation, prevent us from being small, prevent us from leaping into God’s arms with wonder, with awe, with this trust, this childlike confidence. Once we have that, though, once we remove those psychological impediments, right, assuming then that we’re also using the spiritual means, we can love God, we can love neighbor, and we can love ourselves with all of our natural being in an ordered, intimate, personal, and mature way. Loving God—much of that is overcoming these negative God images, again, we talked about those in episodes 23 to 29 of this podcast—loving our neighbors and loving ourselves. And the Program for Priestly Formation in the fifth edition talks about how that includes self-knowledge, self-acceptance and self-gift; how the seminarian needs integrity and self-possession in order to make such a gift.

[00:29:45] In other words, we need to be self-possessed. We need to be able to possess ourselves in order to freely give ourselves in love. One of the things I want you to see is that this whole idea of human formation is so much bigger than psychotherapy or counseling. Psychotherapy or counseling—that’s just one means of improving human formation. Now to speak briefly about deformation or deformation, human deformation—again, that happens through trauma. It happens through attachment injuries. It happens as a function of sin, original sin, the sins of others and our own personal sins. We get stuck in old patterns. We wind up in these loops, these automatic eddies or these vicious cycles that we get into, trauma responses where we’re caught in the past. That’s deformation. All right. So let’s talk about like, how do we foster human formation deliberately? Well, we start from the womb. We talked about epigenetics and methylation. Talked about how this human formation, obviously, with the body, begins in the womb, but also the psyche. Also, there are elements of this that I deeply believe impact our spiritual lives. For example, if the mother is terrified of the child, we’ve got an unwanted pregnancy, or something like that. There’s a way that that gets communicated to children.

[00:31:21] In the Catechism of the Catholic Church in paragraph 2223, we get very clearly stated, parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. They bear witness to this responsibility first by creating a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity and disinterested service are the rule. Right there is a beautiful summary of the family environment characteristics that foster good human formation in children. And in paragraph 2225: a wholesome family life can foster interior dispositions that are a genuine preparation for a living faith and remain a support for it throughout one’s life. Okay, so there we have a statement about interior dispositions, right. That preparatory human formation, a genuine preparation for a living faith. It’s not just parents, it’s also other family members—grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers and sisters. Going out another circle—pastors, priests, confessors, spiritual directors, coaches, youth group leaders. And remember, human formation is lifelong. So for adults, that includes our spouses, supervisors, friends, life coaches, could be your anchor if you’re in Exodus 90, right, and therapists. This podcast helps you focus inward on your human formation, to help you bring together the different parts of yourself into unity and harmony with God in the natural realm. So this podcast is all about your human formation and provides guided reflections—we had one in the last episode. But how do we do this? How do we put together a coordinated, thoughtful, personalized plan of human formation? First step—and we talked about this last time—is setting aside the time. Many of you already set aside time for your spiritual work.

[00:33:20] You set aside time for prayer, maybe daily Mass, spiritual reading, all kinds of spiritual formation activities. I’m going to encourage you to set aside time for your human formation as well. It could just be five minutes a day where you check in with your parts. And we’re going to do a little meditation—it’s not going to be much more than five minutes—at the end of this podcast. In order for you to begin to know yourself, if you’re going to love yourself, and if you’re going to put yourself in a position where you can be reformed, that’s really the first step. Now, that doesn’t mean that you can, by the sheer force of your will, reform yourself or improve your human formation. The will works indirectly in this. What we can will is that we allow ourselves to be reformed. And a lot of times, that happens through the agency of others. It can happen in prayer, in which we surrender ourselves as a willing, pliable, flexible clay in the hand of our potter. It can mean that we are open and receptive to the recommendations of those who we have chosen to allow in for our formation—could be confessors, spiritual directors, therapists, life coaches, could be other people that we’re close to—people in our Bible study, pastoral counselors. There’s lots of different roles of people who could impact us in a formational way.

[00:35:01] The time, though. That’s the big thing. That’s the first thing to commit to the daily time, to commit to taking our human formation seriously. This is hard to do on your own, right. You’re going to have to harness a network of people to help you with formation. One way to do that is through the Resilient Catholics Community. We provide guidance on human formation. We specialize in it. We walk with each other. We have companions. There are ways that we check in with each other. We support each other on this journey of human formation. So I’m going to encourage you, if you’re really interested in this, to get on the waiting list for the RCC. We’re going to reopen the community on June 1st. Go to There’s a new video up there where I answer questions about the Resilient Catholics Community. We talk about all kinds of aspects of it—this was from April 6th. We had a number, about a dozen people, come in to be able to have a conversation about that. I’m going to encourage you to check that out. There’s no obligation to join if you get on the waiting list, but at least you get to hear about the latest developments and get the updates. And there’ll be extra things that I include in those emails to the folks that are waiting patiently on the waiting list. Well, when should we begin this again? Setting aside the time, start it now.

[00:36:27] And why? I’m going to go back to how critical this is. It’s all about shoring up the natural foundation for the Catholic spiritual life. And that’s where so many people have so many gaps, so much is missing. So, to that end, I’m going to give you a little flavor of what we do in the Resilient Catholics Community. I’m going to bring in another guided reflection around human formation, and what specifically you might need. So again, I’m just going to invite you to engage with this if it seems like it’s good for you. If you notice that there’s something off with this, or it’s starting to trigger you, or you’re getting activated in some way, moving into fight or flight or moving into a freeze response, or just it’s not your thing, it just doesn’t seem like it’s working for you—my recommendation is to take what’s helpful to you. If this isn’t helpful to you, let it go. There’s no obligation that you participate in this. But if you’re interested in this, and if it seems like it’s a good idea, I’m just going to invite you to notice what has come up for you as you’ve listened to this podcast? What has happened in the realm of your thoughts or your feelings? What memories has it brought up as we’ve talked about gaps in human formation? As we’ve talked about needs that didn’t get met? Emotions that were never acknowledged or accepted?

[00:38:19] Guiding beliefs. Assumptions. Some of these can be what Christopher Bollas called “unthought knowns”. These are things that we know, but we’ve never thought. What about intentions? Desires that we’ve never allowed to be said. That we’ve stuffed away. Attitudes. What about the body sensations or the sexual aspects of our lives that reflect something about some kind of dysfunction or disorder in our human formation. What have we been trying to run away from? What have we been trying to fight by suppression or repression or denial? What would it be like, if we were to try to understand what that’s about. What if that could be healed? What if there could be a reformation within us. What if the clay that we are can be reformed? So that whatever needs we have are indeed met. How would that sound? What concerns would that bring up if there were to be real healing? What gets in the way of us trusting? What gets in the way of us embracing the love of God? What gets in the way of us embracing the love of our spiritual mother, Mary? What gets in the way of us loving ourselves? What gets in the way of you specifically loving you? Once we begin to understand these things, we can start to more effectively address them. Seek and ye shall find. We’ve got to have faith for that. With faith we can move mountains. Fr. Dasher says that there are two kinds of people that believe in miracles — saints and little children.

[00:43:07] What keeps us from being small enough? What keeps us from having the awe and wonder and the sense of confidence that whatever we’re facing can be really overcome? What might make us respond to an epiphany? What might lead us, or impel us to respond like Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, when he had the epiphany that he was to have a son? He didn’t believe it. Fr. Dasher talks about how he acted like an old man, instead of having a young and lively faith. In contrast to the moment of the Annunciation, when Mother Mary accepted what the angel Gabriel told her, as miraculous as it was, as mind-blowing as it was. What keeps us from believing that our issues could be changed? What in our human formation is getting in the way? I’m going to invite you to write all that down. To take a good inventory of it. And I want you to let me know how these episodes, how they’re how they’re going for you. Some of you have already gotten in touch. You can get me on my cell—(317) 567-9594 or on my email at And as I said in the last episode, I’m trying out a new idea, this individual conversation hour. I promise you, I will be on my cell phone from 4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time on Tuesday, April 13th, to talk with any of my listeners about our podcast episodes.

[00:45:35] I might be on the phone with somebody else at that time. Leave a voicemail. I will call you back. I want to be accessible. There’s no reason to email me beforehand. You don’t have to text me to see if I’m available. Just drop in. Meet with me by phone. This is a chance for us to have a conversation about the podcast, your reactions, your feedback, whatever you want to talk about. It’s going to be private. I’m not going to use anything from those conversations on the air without your permission. Remember, we have premium podcasts for the Interior Therapist Community. We have premium podcasts for the Resilient Catholics Community each week. For the Resilient Catholics Community, we’re going to go into understanding more deeply, what’s missing in my human formation. I’m going to take it the next level. For those of you that are in the Interior Therapist Community, we’re going to talk about human formation and psychotherapy. And with that, it’s a wrap for today. Thank you for being with me. You are the reason I do these podcasts. I keep you in my prayers, keep me in your prayers, especially that I be small, especially that I be humble, that I be led, and that I discern what our Lord would have from me, what Our Lady would have me do. And with that, let’s invoke our patroness and our patron. Our Lady, Our Mother, Untier of Knots, pray for us. Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.

Special thanks to the Human Formation Coalition, who provided the support to make this transcript available.

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