The Place of the Heart in Integral Human Formation.
To aid the human person, approaches to Catholic education and human formation assume, follow, and concretely propose the Church's long-standing, interdisciplinary interpretation of Christ: incarnate, he possesses a universally shared, though sinless, human nature within which, "[by] virtue of his soul and his spiritual powers of intellect and will, man is endowed with freedom, an 'outstanding manifestation of the divine image.'" (4) Consequently, educative and formative approaches marry the acquisition of intellectual knowledge with the formation of persons' wills exclusively in the imitation of Christ, followed by "the activation of one's practical and creative capacities" in giving shape to reality. (5) Neglected here, however, is clarity with regards to the experientially recognizable center of the person--that interior structure whose unfolding and development frames personal self-knowledge of my I as its own object. (6) This center ultimately--I will argue--can only be understood as the human heart, which oddly holds a long-standing devotional tradition in the Church, without a complete understanding of its role in lived experience of the person. (7) Such a comprehensive philosophy of the heart within the philosophy of human nature bears an existential urgency, as interior experiences at the heart's depth shape personal existence and can either deeply clarify or deeply impair the ability to perceive and adhere to reality.
I assume here a particular but vital relationship between lived experience and a philosophy of human nature: that, if a philosophy is accurate in abstracting and articulating the nature of man, it must necessarily--in its application--encapsulate the entire spectrum of possible human capacities and experiences, including disorder to the nature with which a person begins, and offer the framework by which to understand this spectrum. (8) Capacities, experiences, and actions uncontained by any single philosophy of nature thus demonstrate its insufficiency or incompleteness, insofar as that activity seemingly originates unrooted in nature, absurd wherever nature is assumed. Foregone in most systematic understandings of the human person is his depth, the formation of which demands a more concrete root.
In this context, to assume that the simplicity of the divine existence as spirit (cf. Jn 4:24) excludes the possibility of experience--a cognitive awareness of an act--of a spiritual order. To interpret the image of God as consisting predominantly or solely of intellect and will, to place any affective motion thus within the realm of irrationality or mere sensitivity, and to derive a human anthropology exclusively from this interpretation, is to miss the essential depth of the human person created for the sake of intentional lived encounter with love. (9) As a result, it means a provision of tools inadequate for addressing the manifestations of brokenness, as in atheism, common emotional disorders, the "hookup" culture, and more--lived experiences that incompletely attain to the personal perfection of charity. (10)
This article takes the following structure: First, I will show that the heart, as the interior psychospiritual dynamic of the person whose function it is to receive, contain, and predispose one to further receive love, is the truest center of personality insofar as it is the center of lived experiences of love. Second, I will demonstrate that the Church must understand patterns of brokenness in context of the heart. Specifically, brokenness must be understood as an interior rupture of the heart's telos, or ultimate purpose and aim, in being loved--in being moved toward and attaining unity with the object of love, perfect love, he in whom we "live and move and have our being" (Acts 17:28)--inflicted by non-love. Upon this rupture, the heart's capacity to comprehend objectively the reality of love is deadened and manifests in symptoms such as atheism and the "hookup" culture. If this telos can be so articulated, education with regard to identity, destiny, and act must acquire a currently absent dimension; so third and finally, I will encourage holistic education of the heart within human formation.
I want to first reflect--in an interdisciplinary manner--on the basic reality that to receive one's self as loved (love as being, as a state of presence) is a prerequisite to loving (love as acting). Next, I will demonstrate how this truth is rooted in God, his "I Am Who Am" (Ex 3:14) including love (cf. 1 Jn 4:8), a love to which the human person has immediate access. The origin of this reflection is basic psychological experience that has, in recent decades, become crystalized and explicit in the work of Catholic thinkers such as psychiatrists Anna Terruwe and Conrad Baars, and psychotherapist J. Brennan Mullaney--alongside the work of philosopher-theologians like Dietrich von Hildebrand and Luigi Giussani. (11)
The underlying understanding of Terruwe and Baars is that, following physical birth, every person must receive a psychological birth, equivalent to receiving affective love into one's being as the demonstration by another's being of the perfect sufficiency of one's own being, distinguished from the reception of love by another's action or upon an active proving of the worthiness of one's own being. (12) In other words, human affect has a structure that demands intentional--and thus rational--actualization by another. Baars explains this receptivity--which he calls affirmation--as such: "Authentic affirmation is first of all a state of being. Only secondarily may it lead to doing, to acts, to words, that may then complete the affirmation of the other. But they do not constitute the essence, the core of the affirming process." (13) Affirmation constitutes, in its essence, the being-present-to by another who
1. is aware of, attentive to, and present to your unique goodness and worth, separate from and prior to any good and worthwhile thing you may do or can do, and 2. is moved by, feels attracted to, finds delight in your goodness and worth, but without desiring to possess you, or use you, or change you, and 3. permits his being moved by and attracted to you to be revealed simply and primarily by the psychomotor reactions--visible, sensible, physical changes--which are part of his "being moved." These changes constitute the tenderness and delight in his eyes, his gaze, his touch, his tone of voice, and choice of words. They cause you to feel, sense, see, and hear that you are good and worthwhile--good for the other and good in and for yourself. You come to feel and know who and what you are. (14)
The core distinction, then, that follows is that "[affirmation] is first of all affectivity, a matter of feeling. Only secondarily is it effectivity, a matter of doing." (15) Dietrich von Hildebrand called this tender affectivity, affectivity in which the heart is necessarily involved, in contrast to bodily feelings or affective reactions of a nonspiritual nature. (16) Clarifying and furthering this hierarchy and the specific distinctions to these experiences is outside the scope here, but my primary point is that the movement of the heart has its own capacity within the realm of affective experience.
The alternatives to receiving this kind of affirmation are two: a complete lack of affirmation--which Baars calls denial; or the preference of doing over feeling or being, which doesn't fulfill the fundamental precepts described and is therefore insufficient. (17) Wherever affirmation is not received, a person acquires what Baars and Terruwe identified as frustration neurosis. The diagnosis of this neurosis uniquely contextualized the symptoms and experiences of many patients for whom other standard forms of therapy were insufficient, including one patient who observed that, no matter what the psychologists explained, all her being demanded was a demonstration of tenderness. (18) Baars and Terruwe wrote, in the end,
that the mere fact that a child is frustrated in its natural need for love, tenderness, and protection, is sufficient to produce a neurosis which--as far as its symptoms are concerned--is essentially different from neuroses caused by repression... . Progressing from one stage to the next, [emotional life can evolve] only if the lower stage has reached its full development through adequate gratification of its natural needs. This gratification is absolutely necessary for entering into the next higher stage of emotional development. (19)
If insufficient receptivity of tenderness into one's being thwarts the development of emotional life, symptoms include abnormal rapport with others, across all relationships; feelings of uncertainty, insecurity, inferiority, and inadequacy, each manifesting in different ways; and a sort of existential fear and frustration. (20) Additionally, von Hildebrand diagnosed a series of wounds to the heart that, in different ways, are rooted in disorder to manifestations of tender affectivity where manifestations do take place. His diagnoses, without comprehensive reference to the deeper spiritual dimension of the heart and thus insufficient explanation for what enables limitless spiritual activity in the human person, included hypertrophy of the heart, "an over-use, indeed a misuse, of affectivity"; (21) affective atrophy, manifested in those "in whom affectivity is maimed or frustrated"; (22) and heartlessness, which "refers to the crippling of a center in man's soul," and makes a man "incapable of really loving, or of feeling authentic compassion or full contrition." (23) If love is the ultimate human purpose, this last example especially demonstrates the urgency for serious philosophers and theologians to understand the root of these symptoms. Under no circumstances should they be discounted as mere psychological or phenomenological phenomena. Without understanding this root, it seems as if in some persons, at least, thwarting their ultimate purpose goes undiagnosed. The causation is rooted in a particular capacity: that of the person's affectivity and, as I will demonstrate below, ultimately the spiritual-heart, which is the root and center to human affectivity but also the capacity more deeply designed for conscious, lived encounter with God. It must be taken seriously to address the extensive need in the contemporary culture for human formation and healing--ultimately the work of a philosophy of nature, which directs formative and pastoral applications to accurately enable human flourishing.
Mullaney demonstrates this need for affective receptivity with empirical data--observations of affirmation- or love-deficit studied. I will cite two of these examples. First, he examines so-called marasmus babies, which "provide the most dramatic, poignant and undeniable evidence that love is crucial to our bare survival." (24) He compares two groups of infants. The first is from a foundling home in which they were cared for by professional nurses with excellent hygiene, nutrition, and medical care. The second is from an institution for delinquent girls in which the babies were cared for by their mothers. (25) Because the nurses, despite providing more-than-sufficient material needs, failed to provide adequate love, and because the girl-mothers cuddled, kissed, rocked, stroked, and played with their babies, the developmental quotients of the girls' babies went up while those at the foundling home went down. During the same two-year study, 37 percent of the foundling home babies died, in comparison to none of the girl-mothers' babies. The second study he cites regards Romanian orphans, who, following the fall of Communist rule, were discovered to have been warehoused in overcrowded orphanages, starving and neglected. (26) Among survivors, the orphans were below the third percentile in weight and height, and at age ten, some were the size of three-year-olds. In these cases, "early indications are that love given late can still save children's lives, though permanent damage from the early gross love deficit is likely." (27)
The underlying pattern in both examples is the rupturing of two different modes we have for human existence--the mode of being, which has its own spectrum of potentiality and actuality and is fundamentally a mode of interior depth whose ultimate object is God; and the mode of acting, which too has a distinct spectrum of potentiality and actuality, and is fundamentally a mode oriented to external breadth. The full potential of the latter to be actualized, however, is determined by what is actualized in the former. Where a person lacks affirmation, his capacity to be develops insufficiently, which translates to an incapacity to be-in-relation with persons both human and divine, alongside a warped scope of possibility for acting in accord with one's nature, since something about the starting nature remains nonactualized. If psychological birth is a prerequisite to the most basic existence, it is necessary to understand concretely the capacity that "receives" such a birth, including its interior depth, and its place in the philosophy of human nature.
Mullaney--uniquely among psychologists--grounds the human person's need for a passive receptivity and intrinsic demand for love in a concrete structure of the human heart. (28) The heart is the capacity within the person that receives the constant lived--and not just theoretical or intellectual--content of experiences bearing love or non-love. He defines the heart as a psychospiritual reality, "the major structure of human personality, the wellspring and dynamic repository of love, which, in turn, empowers all human functions." (29) Its capacities include, hierarchically, in the form of an inverted triangle,
conscious and unconscious mind; volition (will); conscience; all the emotions; intuition; character (integrity and all virtues); and the spiritual faculties, including raison de coeur and wisdom. At a deeper level, the heart contains the unique mystery of the person which the individual himself or herself will never know. At the deepest level, called le point vierge, abides the presence of Supreme Love by whatever name--God, Allah, Great Spirit, Higher Power--Who resides in every person. (30)
This last point is further attested to by scripture when St. Paul explains that "God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us" (Rom 5:5). We must understand Paul's observation, rooted in experience--both the nature of its possibility as a spiritual experience, as well as its origin within a specific internal structure to the person. It is meaningless otherwise.
Le point vierge lies at the very centerpoint of the heart's structure. Above this innermost point--or closer to external sense reality--lies the never-known heart. Above the never-known heart lies the contemplative heart. (31) Above the contemplative lies the psychospiritual affective heart, a dimension affected by psychological and natural-affective experiences as well as experiences of the spiritual-affective order. (32) Above this capacity for psychospiritual affectivity lies the unconscious heart, then the conscious heart, and finally the senses. Mullaney explains that "the broadest exposure to external reality is experienced in the senses, and that it is the senses that are most easily experienced... note that the heart narrows as it goes deeper, and that accessibility of the heart to the senses becomes more difficult as we go deeper." (33) A range of individual faculties--the emotions, the volition (will), and conscience--originate at different depths of the heart, requiring varied degrees of love, and thus affect lived experience in an array of different ways. (34) A more precise way to interpret this question of origin is to say that, in lived experience, depending on the specific faculty, the depth of love possessed or thwarted within the heart has a proportionately deep effect on the health of the faculty. In other words, health of love in the deepest recesses of the heart is key to the health of the operation of conscience, and the actual adherence of conscience to reality, whereas health of love within the psychospiritual affective capacity is key to the health of emotions, and the actual ordering of emotions in accord with their object. (35)
I would also translate one particular set of these capacities as capacities not of the heart per se. (36) These are the senses and psychological content of the unconscious mind. The senses are emotive responses resounding in the physical body, distinguished from the highest spiritual experiences of love, holy joy, or deep contrition. For the sake of being comprehensive, we could include the intellect and will. As understood through the standard bipartite lens, the operation of these capacities unfolds in a manner independent of the heart; each has its own origin, potential, and particular spectrum for actuality. What the diagram captures, however, that the bipartite intellect-will does not, is the relationship those different capacities bear with a person's interiority on the level of the heart, that interior dynamic that stands at the center to experience since it stands as the center to love. All capacities function in an integrated manner--resounding across each other--whether or not their inter-effect is understood. In lived experience, this set of listed capacities affects the interior depth of the person, and the interior depth conversely affects these capacities, in ways we will come to see more closely; where the depth of the person is not fully aligned to its object, these other capacities bear the consequences, and vice-versa. We have already seen above how the health of affective love received can determine human existence and, intrinsically, the health of all human action.
Beyond these primary faculties, Mullaney introduces a series of secondary faculties, though they "are not secondary in importance nor in value, but only in terms of the frequency of human use. They are secondary, too, because they are dependent on the primary powers of thought, volition, conscience and emotion in order to be called into operation." (37) These powers and functions include intuition, defenses, bonding, joy/spiritual ecstasy, and wisdom.
Finally, this structure of the heart prompts the question of the place of love. For Mullaney, love, when offered to and received by a person, is a force that "pervades the entire structure. Love moves freely from function to function, empowering and coordinating them all. The outer boundary (top) of the personality, too, is permeable; it is thus that we are 'open' to give and receive love, permeating others and allowing them to permeate us." (38) This potentiality for love, thus, remains potential until a person receives it--until it is given by another. (39) It has two possible origins--the first is human love, both natural and spiritual, received by external means; the second is divine love, received from God in, as has been traditionally understood by the Church, interior infused contemplation. (40)
The repercussions within a formative and pastoral context are immense. Those serving, present to the destiny of those they serve, must not only explain the content of that destiny and the alignment it demands from the will. They must have the capacity to, first, love in a manner that actualizes a person's affective potential and yields the basic flourishing prerequisite to healthy use of the remaining faculties. Then, where the potential has already been actualized, they must deepen it in love. The actualizing work of which any person will be capable is (a) determined by the actualization of their own capacities; where one has not been tenderly loved, he will be unable to love tenderly, and (b) only able to reach the upper levels of the psychospiritual affective dimensions of the heart insofar as the deeper dimensions are reserved to the work of God. Second, even more fundamentally, those who serve must help bring a person into an actualizing encounter with God, which entails actualizing the depths of the heart, most especially the contemplative heart. (41) This is precisely the actualization Christ promises when he tells his apostles that he and his Father will make their home with them (Jn 14:23) and a promise St. Paul recognizes as fulfilled when he says that it is not he who lives but Christ who lives in him (Gal 2:20).
This critical understanding of the heart is developed further when Mullaney distinguishes the heart from operations of the formal intellect and will. The following three distinctions serve as examples. The first experience he highlights is that of human processing of knowledge--even though we do not know "the physical location of the spiritual heart, we do know that, experientially, except for highly abstract thought such as mathematics, most higher faculties of the 'mind,' so-called, are experienced in the chest and abdomen as well as the head. The mind is but one faculty of the heart." (42) Or better translated, the mind is one faculty that has the capacity to affect the heart, and vice-versa. For example, in those with healthy hearts, very often docility to the Holy Spirit and his gifts is experienced at the level of the heart and not on a purely intellectual or willed level. It will be experienced independent of the intellect and will, and in some ways, prior to both, by an intuitive perception, where intuition is understood as a heart-capacity requiring the presence of love. We have also seen how woundedness in love affects the scope of actions one can will insofar as love-deficiency damages something of originating nature--for example, difficulty in relating or demonstrating love to one's neighbor because of frustration neurosis blocks. Another experience Mullaney highlights is the way in which "[psychological] wounds and emotional pain occur and remain only in the heart; human beings can be significantly hurt, emotionally damaged, only where healing occurs, at heart level. Thus, we can be hurt only where we love, and only love heals us." (43) This is another indicator that there is, for example, an urgent distinction to be made between something like cognitive therapy--which reshapes intellectual understanding for a person and then orders actions within this new understanding--and transfiguration by God, which unfolds in its greatest seriousness at the depths of the heart, a distinction for which there is an entire theological tradition. (44) As a third example, Mullaney breaks from the long-standing Freudian tradition of understanding defense mechanisms as processes to relieve emotional conflict and anxiety, and instead, understands them as "the positive actions of the heart which serve to protect the personality's existing repository of love, temporarily shelter and hide wounded love until permanent healing can be secured, and by many means expel, isolate or control painful anti-loving forces, principally rejection, fear, hostility and false-guilt." (45) This is an understanding of psychological defense mechanisms into which the human telos in love and relationship with God, meant to be experiential and rooted in the very depths of the heart, is built implicitly.
If these three examples--as well as the aforementioned theoretical analysis--demonstrate experiences not entirely rooted in the intellect and will, but yet fundamental to an understanding of the person, it becomes evident that a deeper and fuller understanding of the heart is urgently required. A philosophy of nature that does not address these experiences and the natural capacity in which they originate cannot sufficiently grasp the person. (46)
In relating within the human person the related capacities for being and action, we can reflect more clearly on two things. The first is the perfect simplicity of act and being in the divine nature, where the two are one. (47) The second is the emptying of the divine nature into a human one in Christ, whose thirty years prior to public ministry were necessarily full of infinite holiness, one that was not merely acquired at his self-sacrifice upon Calvary. (48)
In Revelation--which has to be a checkpoint for all philosophical and metaphysical work, insofar as Revelation gives us scientific access to what God intends the person to know (49)--God identifies himself as "I Am Who Am" (Ex 3:14), which philosophical inquiry has since equated with God being pure act, one without potential. (50) Two possible dimensions offered in scripture to this nature of Being Itself later appear in the words of St. John, who writes that "God is love" (1 Jn 4:8), and the words of Christ, when he teaches that only God is good (cf. Lk 18:19). Rather than focus on the precise content of the meaning of love or the good, what I wish to focus on here is that, because God is pure act, whatever content we apply to love or to the good must necessarily then be, in God, purely act and without potential; must be a defining character of Being Itself. His mercy and justice are attributes of his Being Itself. (51) So, too, must be his love and goodness--to say anything else would be to rupture God's perfect simplicity. This foundation will become important for us in a moment in an application of the divine nature to the human nature of Christ, and to the lived experience of the one person--the Word, the Son--who possessed both.
One additional scriptural insight we have received from St. John that has repercussions in this context is that "we love, because he first loved us" (1 Jn 4:19). This insight makes explicit two things: the first is that a capacity to love is a consequence of being loved, and the second is that the first lover is God, one who is love and therefore never demonstrates love in actions held in potential but loves through and in his being. This latter truth has also been explicated philosophically. (52)
The most perfect manifestation of this simplicity to the divine and human natures of the Son lies in the life of Christ, in the calling of the first apostles, the response to which was essentially one of their spiritual hearts--a response to the heart of one who essentially walked as is-love--one who had to do nothing, demonstrate nothing, to make known the perfect love he is. (53) The apostles were humble, poor men whose life rhythm lay in work and who had accepted the routine of it, and who one day encountered a man at whose call to follow they immediately left behind everything material in exchange for life with him, whose identity they could not fully comprehend, certainly not experientially, because its fullness and their salvation implicit to it was yet to unfold. It bears asking, why did they follow? They followed because Christ was love made flesh, who, in a single glance at them, a single coming-into-their-presence, tenderly loved them through to the depth of their heart--to the depth of their heart in which he already dwelled--and revealed to them existentially, experientially, immediately the fullness of an encounter they could neither forget nor deny. His existence, his presence, corresponded to the very structure of their being--actualized something in their being in a way that no one ever had before, which is why they could later be so persuaded that they stood before the Son of God (Mt 16:15-16)--and the fullness he carried with him demanded an integration they could not attain without him. His truth took root in their heart and they strove to realize it in every lived moment.
Having understood the fundamental need for receptivity of being to actualize even the most basic tenets of a healthy human nature, even before theology addresses the question of human and divine intellects in Christ, it must first address the question of his psychological birth--the affective actualization of his human heart through the agency of his immaculately conceived mother--and then address, because it is the repository of his love, the remaining dynamics of his human heart. The Son fully possesses both natures, the divine "emptied into the form of a slave" (Phil 2:7). For the union between these two natures to retain its integrity, and for Christ to "[reflect] the glory of God and [bear] the very stamp of his nature" (Hb 1:3) in his humanity, an understanding of the full potential within human nature, when divinized by grace, must be oriented to maintain as close a similarity to the divine nature as possible. In seeking deification, in seeking imitation, in seeking union with Christ, who is always one with his Father (Jn 10:30), and with whom we too are called to be one (Jn 17:11), the essential core of the human life must be a striving after a perfect actualization and integration of personal being and act so that the person comes to resemble as much as possible the simplicity of God's being--a capacity to be love, the way that God is love. Jesus, in bearing the image of the Father, is love, which he carried in his Sacred Heart, that "burning furnace of charity." (54) If in fact the heart is its own capacity, the infinite love of Christ was contained in this heart, and this prerequisite love determined the scope of his possible willed action, including the act of laying his life down for friends (Jn 15:13).
The last step I want to take is to ground the psychological truth articulated above and the experiential precedent for treating the heart as its own individual capacity more precisely in context of the rational faculties. This relationship is treated in the work of Mullaney and also has a long-standing, incipient place in patristic theology. In his theoretical analysis of the heart, Mullaney makes explicit the way in which lived encounters with non-love rupture the person's integrity, affecting the heart, the intellect, and the will in the creation of different existential states at odds with the fullness of love. Generally, he argues that "the greater the love lost or distorted, the greater the loss or distortion of reality; by the same measure, restoring love restores reality in direct proportion." (55) At any point that these distortions exist, so do what he calls existential states: "fixed heartmindsets which develop as adjustments to love wounds, distortions, and deficits. These existential states form rigid cognitive-emotional-volitional (being-pervasive) false definitions of the self, others, and life itself. Located at the deepest perceptible 'floor' of the psychospiritual heart, the existential state encompasses and thus colors and distorts every perception, emotion, thought and decision." (56) The translation of these existential states in context of the framework we have established can be such: In the degree to which the capacity to receive love in being in the person is disrupted (in the degree to which the mode of being in the person is not fully actualized), the capacity of the person to recognize reality at the level of the intellect, the capacity to adhere to it at the level of the will, and the capacity to experience it at the level of the affect are also disrupted. These states can take on the following forms. One example would be certain serious and/or chronic mental and emotional disorders consisting of ontological uncertainty, the source of which is "invariably found to result from depersonalization in childhood: the person received a superficial 'maybe' form of love from parents that disallowed the ability to affirm the inner reality of self, i.e., the capacity to love the self and then be certain that being itself was ever 'right,' 'good,' or 'true' enough to be loved and real." (57) Or it might manifest as one of "being-as-anybody-wants-me-to-be," defined by "such extraordinarily low self-esteem and lack of heart-level identity that the person adapts and conforms his or her own personality to whomever he/she is with." (58) Or one of "being-in-necessary-constant-dread," a state of "fixed threat that is falsely defined as true, and therefore is integrated into the ground of being at the deepest levels of the heart, thus causing the heart to be in constant dread of love's (being's) annihilation." (59) In other words, to cope with the existential love deficiency, a complex system of processing emerges. Heart wounds or traumas are comprehended via (most often false) beliefs about self and reality as demonstrated above. The existential state for every person who has experienced some form of love-deficit will be entirely unique to him, to the specific history of experiences of love or lack thereof he has experienced, along with the specific meaning-content he has received or self-determined to explain these experiences.
Additionally, to adhere to or to stabilize these beliefs and the experiences about which they are formed, personal vows are taken at the interior depths of the heart. Such a vow may be "I will never let God love me," or "I will never again make my heart vulnerable to a man," and so on--any possible variation of an attempt to protect the remaining remnants of love in the heart, no matter how disordered. As these elements of love-deficit, belief formation, and vow-making unfold, they "form a fortress of self-protection (a stronghold), representing layers of insulation around our heart, a futile attempt at protecting us from further pain." (60) A person with a sufficiently developed spiritual dimension may experience these blocks as tangible in the spiritual order--as if physical blocks or walls existed along different dimensions of the heart, including the psychospiritual affective dimension. He whose intellect is constantly working to comprehend reality has come to existentially codify the understanding of deficiency in love from others as a deficiency of his own being, in part because of the blocks that came into existence at the time of the experience, meant to protect the heart from further experiential deficiency and rupture of personal capacities. Unconsciously, he fears that massive deficiency could cause the annihilation of his being, so vital is love to its maintenance. This phenomenon is most common in wounded children, who cannot properly and proportionately contextualize experiences. This state thus becomes the central point of existential reference without tools to expand, reframe, or heal it.
Finally--and urgently--the activity of demonic spirits can codify these beliefs and vows, insofar as they operate at the spiritual dimension of the heart and can thus actively impair personal capacity to attain to experience of God. Spiritual strongholds create, implicitly chosen in personal processing (implicitly consented-to, even if consciously unaware), living barriers of a reverse order--living barriers to the depths of the heart in which God dwells. (61) The ultimate purpose of spiritual strongholds, whatever their specific nature or depth, is to make impossible the reintegration of (a) the different capacities of the heart with each other, which means, for example, that the experience of the presence of God and the operation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit are blocked between the deeper and the upper dimensions of the heart; and (b) the capacities of the heart with the rational faculties, which means, for example, that a person comes preferentially to live the experienced lie that, "God doesn't love me" versus the objective truth that God does love, most especially because he is already present within the person's interiority and can be related to there.
As three examples, I will look to possible existential states among university students, who, in entering the university, have the first series of encounters in which their formation--or lack thereof--within the home, the domestic church, will come to be independently tested against a greater reality. They each require more holistic and thorough work to address than might be expected. One might find a student with an emotionally abusive father who cannot respond to--or is repelled by--the proposal of God as Father, for her heart's experience of fatherhood is synonymous with destruction. As a child, to have been fathered meant offering the vulnerability of her heart in natural expectation of tenderness only to have that vulnerability crushed in lived manifestations of non-love--for example, complete ignorance on the father's part, as well as concepts to justify this ignorance, such as the unworthiness of the child. Key to understanding here is that the formative, healing, and ultimately salvific work this student requires is multidimensional. Intellectual understanding of God as Father--that to be Father means to bring forth life; that to be Father means to show mercy, as the prodigal son receives mercy, without any recompense (cf. Lk 15:11-32); that her human experiences of fatherhood lie directly opposed to divine fatherhood--will, ultimately, be deeply distorted and one-dimensional without experiential, affective work at the level of the heart. (62) So long as heart-work lies unfinished, this student will lack a spontaneous capacity to adhere to the essential truths of the faith--that she was brought into existence to be loved; brought into existence because of love; that the love that brought her into existence is a universal one, meant for all--as she will not have received the necessary affective actualization to adhere this way, and thus unfinished heart-work will impair her capacity to live the essential fullness of Christianity. In addition to repercussions for formation of the student, an example like this points to repercussions for the priesthood, insofar as the vocation of the priest is to fatherhood in the order of grace, and thus, by extension, to the active fathering of students bearing existential states like this one. (63)
Another student will have been raised with a mother incapable of sacrifice; in other words, a mother whose primary mode of operation was one of selfishness. This student will not respond to the proposal of self-gift--or the surrender of one's very self to another--as a standard for betrothed love since his heart will have been hardened by self-reliance in face of a living example of one who never surrendered herself to his needs, despite the implicit obligation to do so by the nature of motherhood. (64) In other words, the functioning of the psychospiritual and contemplative dimensions of his heart, the latter only if he has any access to it, will have been narrowed by protective barriers built to prevent hurt (or love-deficit) in those spheres, upon a purely natural expectation--an expectation he never chose. When this student is introduced to the Church's teaching with regard to marriage and family life, most especially the Church's teaching on contraceptive use, he will not be able to draw on a former experience of self-gift to understand the inner rationality of the teaching. Any intellectual or theoretical formation he receives from the Church on these questions will have no power to shift the existential constructs of his heart when the time comes to live those teachings in relationship to another human person--and this does not begin to consider the deeper dimensions of his relationship with God. His heart will recognize only the irrationality of expecting surrender and its safety, for there has been no actualization of the reality naturally expected in the heart of a son before his mother. Perhaps this student will also, in not being moved by the Church's truth because of the hardness in his heart, drift into the "hookup" culture, without the tools to understand that each encounter of incomplete surrender only further deadens the natural expectation of his heart for its fullness.
As a final example, I offer a student with a particularly sensitive heart banned by his parents from expressing sensitivity and emotionality, as this kind of sensitivity and emotionality they considered feminine or immature--in contrast to the perfect example in Christ, who wept (Jn 11:35). This student will have learned to split off the dimension of his heart, most especially his spiritual affectivity, from the life of his intellect, which he has come to understand as the only properly masculine and mature faculty. The depth of affective sensitivity this student possesses in his own personal nature is ordered, per the analysis above, to an incredibly deep and hidden psychospiritual union--a deep and hidden contemplative union--with God, who can infuse this very love into his heart capacities. However, insofar as the life of his heart has been shunned and repressed, the intellectual work of this student might enable him to understand and eloquently express the theoretical reality of God without ever having experienced God. Therefore his intellectual understanding will remain one-dimensional and incomplete, insofar as the "breadth, length, height and depth" (Eph 3:18) of God will retain a purely abstract dimension without the lived correspondence that fills out and makes immediate this same reality within the structure of his very own interior--in his heart. This precise integration spiritual theologians identify in writing about the transforming union, the apex of the contemplative life:
God is no longer merely the object of the supernatural operations of the mind and will... He shows Himself as being the joint cause of these operations, the aid which we make use of in order to produce them... We think that we feel God within us, living both for us and for Him. We live in Him, by Him, and through Him. No creature can manifest himself to us in this manner. (65)
This same student too will come to live out the portions of the Mass per what he has learned about it, its ritual--which is, of course, absolutely key--without ever possessing the experience of being lifted during it into the eternal time, space, and communion that the liturgy manifests in the Eucharist upon the altar.
The reason for disruption to the heart's telos is implicit to the nature of the heart, and with it the affect, versus the other human capacities. As it is an experiential capacity and the center of the human personality, its existential state becomes the center of reference for a person's intellectual understanding, as well as the major determining factor in an ability to make choices or the motivation for choices. Long-term intellectual projects and projects of virtue will enter an active war with the existential state of the heart which, as demonstrated implicitly above, cannot be renewed until the inherent need for receptivity of love or affective affirmation is met.
Having understood something of the heart, psychospiritual affectivity, and their relationship with the rational faculties, one can gather four things with regard to telos: First, the telos of the heart lies in receiving love in a state of being versus action--a love received and contained at the level of affectivity and the deeper heart--that, ultimately, is fully acquired in God. Second, attainment of this experiential telos determines the health of the rational faculties, and by extension, docility to God. The ease with which choices are willed and the scope of possible choices are framed by the state of the heart. So long as the dimensions of the heart are not deeply damaged by love-deficit, a large scope of choices can be made under the force of will as it aligns with what is known, even if the heart's dimensions do not support those choices with spontaneous, affective, or infused strength. Third, the individual capacities of the heart are given to serve the ultimate human telos, especially as it is manifested in the two primary commandments (Mt 22:37-40), which first demand a fullness of integrity across all the human capacities (heart included) and only afterward its manifestation in relation to others. Fourth, if this telos is disrupted, the heart experiences an existential deficiency in love that remains deficient, and a personal existential definition that remains inaccurate, until the existential need is met.
With this telos of the heart in mind, it becomes clear that a holistic education of the heart is key in formation of the human person. Such an education would cover the heart's form, capacities, operation on both natural and supernatural levels, as well as its formation in the sacraments and prayer. Considering the heart's key role and task in recognizing the truth of love, it must be the structure to which formation is oriented. At stake is a reality that must include God in order for the person to attain to his destiny and perfection in him.
Without formation in the existential operations and telos of the heart, the following three key consequences may occur. First, subjective existential states will be preferred to the objective truth about the person, reality, and God that the Church proposes, as those subjective existential states will correspond only to personal experience of reality rather than reality itself. The two must be integrated. This follows from the basic, but completely critical, understanding of love as an existential and possessed psychospiritual reality; insofar as the structure of the person is built to receive and to maximize possession of love in this way, and comes to comprehend reality through his experiential heart capacity, distortions to that capacity incur distortions to reality. Second, consistent inability to obtain experiential knowledge of God in the order of affect and contemplation will be understood as reflecting truth about self and or truth about God. In other words, in those circumstances in which a person is offered the promises of Christ and his Church of a personal encounter and relationship, lived union, the power of the Holy Spirit, and more, and cannot enter that reality, he will conclude that the fault is his: that he is not wanted; that God does not want him, will not offer him his promises. This result is to be expected as a consequence of the implicit coordination between personal rational faculties and the heart. It is also in direct contradiction to everything the gospels objectively promise, which means that subjective experiential deficits block the reception of objective realities. Third, experiential consequences following experiences without immediate psychological or conscious content--for example, trauma in infancy--will be unacknowledged or incomprehensible. The person will have no way to know, as formation in the heart cannot be self-directed, that distortions to his heart will be no fault of his own. To have heart capacities destroyed before consciousness of the heart's existence means to live without any access to its many dimensions, especially the psychospiritual and contemplative dimensions, vital to the most basic flourishing. Many additional consequences follow, but I cannot spend additional time on them here--for example, consequences to full integrated development with regards to the dynamics of sex, or means to a healthy balance in the traditional dichotomy between intellectual and affective forms of contemplation, two among many questions ultimately of the heart. (66)
Basic formation in the heart, following from the analysis above, thus requires the following four elements: First, persons must be formed to know and to recognize the full scope of their capacities--the intellect, will, and multilayered heart, among sensitive and vegetative capacities. The person must recognize that these capacities exist and the range of possible function within each capacity--for example, the capacity of the intellect to abstract categories from knowledge gained by the senses; the way in which the will follows what is known; and the depth intuition holds in the heart compared to contemplation, as two distinct forms of its experiential knowledge. An understanding of these capacities and their function grants persons the basic framework by which to filter their experiences, choices, and existential states, making less of their existence arbitrary and ever more grounded in a nature designed by God with a specific telos implicit to this structure. The role of those in human formation is to clarify experiences--ordered and disordered--based on an understanding of these capacities.
Second, with regards to the heart specifically, persons must be formed to know that the heart is a capacity of interior depth, actualized in affective love, and that the implicit structure of the heart is built for interior, deep, contemplative, experiential encounter of God. Most importantly, this education aids the person to desire time in prayer and the sacraments--the only two sets of acts designed for the truest, deepest actualization of the heart's depth and thus vision of greatest clarity with regard to reality. Related here also is education in loss, deficiency, and disorder--in the possibility of the warping of affective potential and the content of consequential existential states, as states nonreflective of actual potential determined by nature.
Third, persons must be guided to understand the reasons for adhering to both the experiential promises and the demands of the gospel, at any cost, whatever their subjective experience. The primary reason here is a critical one--the objective truth of their being is one that can only be actualized in relationship with another, beginning with parental tenderness and completed most perfectly in deep contemplative intimacy with God; a person's subjective state at odds with the gospels will thus necessarily be, at least in one form or another, explainable only in context of deficiency in relationship, a deficiency of which the person will be unaware because of the limits imposed by his or her experience and the resulting existential state. Additionally, to follow the demands of the gospel even where natural actualization of the heart never unfolded is to both demonstrate justice to God and, in living with virtue, to protect the status quo of the heart from further love-deficit, damage, and hardness, all of which can be healed in accord with the will of God. One primary source of this education will lie in relating the specific and varied subjective experiences of the saints, who lived a theological existence, to the objective reality of the gospels as well as to the persons' own subjective experiences, ultimately to understand that God makes of human persons saints in the space between their immediate subjective experiences and their seeking of his objective reality. (67)
Fourth, persons must come to understand the role of prayer, especially that of infused contemplation, as a gift received from the Lord over time, and sacramental grace, received especially with reconciliation and the Eucharist, in healing and shaping the heart. Because the heart is that experiential capacity in which the natural and supernatural meet most intensely, to spend time in prayer and the sacraments, actualizing the spiritual depths of the heart, removing its blocks, and seeking healing of the spiritual order will be necessary to discover the heart's greatest depth.
Formation lacking in these many experiential dimensions thus impairs a vision and an understanding of the depth to which God calls, and the depth that he has promised them.
In conclusion, the purpose of this article has been to present a serious consideration of the heart as its own capacity within the human person, one that is the truest center of personality insofar as it is the center of experience. If it is true that the experience of love at the level of the heart determines the most basic of human flourishing, as well as the health of the rational faculties and thus both an understanding of and capacity to adhere to reality, it requires a more urgent and robust understanding within the philosophy of the human person to encapsulate all possible personal experiences and disorders. With this understanding, formation of the person in context of Catholic education must be oriented to formation that includes the heart: to actualize that capacity in which his or her existential state will be determined, and thus that capacity that will determine full grasp of the self, the world, and God.
(1.) Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, Presentation. "The Church is an expert in humanity, and anticipating with trust and with active involvement she continues to look towards the 'new heavens' and the 'new earth' (2 Pt 3:13), which she indicates to every person, in order to help people to live their lives in the dimension of authentic meaning."
(2.) Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes, 22.
(3.) This and all remaining scriptural citations are Revised Standard Version (RSV) translations.
(4.) "Catechism of the Catholic Church," 1705.
(5.) Edith Stein, Essays on Women, trans. Freda Mary Oben (Washington, DC: ISC Publications, 1996), 137.
(6.) Karol Wojtyla, Osoba i czyn (Krako: Polskie Towarzystwo Teologiczne, 1969), 39. For Wojtyla, self-knowledge consists in the cognitive insight into and growing-in-awareness of the self, the I, as an object of study. See also Edith Stein, On the Problem of Empathy, trans. Waltraut Stein (Washington, DC: ICS Publications, 1989), 38. Stein understood "the pure 'I' as the otherwise indescribable, qualityless subject of experience," located at a nonspatial interior point that "received" experiences external to its immediate self, including external sense experience and the recognition of pre-existing, "internally rooted"' values. A topic outside my scope here is the way in which the contemporary psychological work cited in the remainder of this paper indicates that the center of which Stein wrote is best understood as the heart, and that phenomenological study verifies the heart structure as proposed here.
(7.) One key beginning to serious philosophical consideration of the heart as its own capacity appears in Dietrich von Hildebrand's The Heart: An Analysis of Human & Divine Affectivity (Chicago: Franciscan Herald Press, 1977), which I consider, in a general way, the framework within which my thesis here unfolds.
(8.) I do not have the space in this article to make a larger apologetic for the relationship between the two, and rather than make my own, refer readers to Karol Wojtyla in The Acting Person, trans. Andrzej Potocki (Boston: D. Reidel, 1979), as well as Person and Community: Selected Essays, trans. Theresa Sandok (New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2008). Both sets of texts frame his call to filter lived experience through a Thomistic anthropology. For Wojtyla, vital about the human person was not merely his capacity for reason but also his interior depth, and he desired to articulate more concretely the intersection between rational faculties and personal interiority.
(9.) The foundational philosophical assumptions of human nature in the Church originate with Aristotelian-Thomistic hylomorphism. Philosophers observe a process of change in living beings, first life-giving and then decaying, and account for it by a duality: of potentiality and actuality, in which some process of change, some causal force, makes one substance something that it was not before. The change might be accidental, changing something that does not alter the nature of the studied object--for example, a ball retains its ballhood though its color may change from black to red, or a person retains his personhood though he may lose his limbs; or something substantial, which changes the object's nature--for example, oxygen and hydrogen molecules fuse to become water. Aristotle, Aquinas, and others in the hylomorphic tradition have understood the principle that makes possible the substantial existence of living beings, their coming-into-being in the first place, to be the soul--that which makes something an actual organism with a certain nature (be it a rational, sensitive, or vegetative nature) instead of a number of potentially living elements. Within a purely natural/philosophical context, the soul is understood to be that immanent power of the body that enables the body's living existence. From this observation of change comes the hylomorphic body-soul composite, in which a person is a distinctly united duality; this implicit, immanent force animates his corporeality. The human person is understood as animalistic insofar as he shares bodily functions with both vegetative and sensitive life, as well as certain sensitive faculties with animals. This animalism is, however, in man subject to a totally unique interior life grounded--per the standard conceptualization of the rational soul--in two distinct immaterial faculties: those of the intellect, which shapes reason, and the will, which shapes appetite. These intellectual faculties are immaterial and distinct from other faculties, for though entirely dependent on the body for their function (none could come into existence or use without the body, which frames their activity), they are not reducible to neurological or organic processes, for a host of reasons: purely bodily processes do not explain the capacity to maintain thought of nonsingular concepts, the agency and intermittence of human activity, and the unity by which the human person experiences the world, among other phenomena that necessitate an immaterial component within the established human anthropology. What Aquinas does not treat in a systematic fashion is the nature of spiritual-heart experience that arises independently of the external sense faculties, and from which the intellect also abstracts.
(10.) Second Vatican Council, Lumen Gentium, 40.
(11.) The Thomistic understanding of the person I acquired would be incomplete without these introductions, and would be insufficient to understand--following years of trauma, frustration neurosis, and emotional repression--the purpose of healing at all dimensions of the heart the Lord undertook in me himself without human intermediaries.
(12.) These nuanced understandings of the heart arise in contexts in which the lived experience of people demonstrates a greater deficiency than ever before. What follows, and requires greater exploration elsewhere, is that the existence of the heart in Christ and Our Lady was as intense and vital as it is in this time but required inexplicit articulation because of the perfect integrity of--complete absence of disintegration to--their own personal capacities. There existed also greater clarity on the objective reality to which a person sought to adhere. Additionally, this heart structure--and its depth--clarifies certain unique forms of knowing demonstrated by Christ, such as that of others' hearts; such form of knowledge ought to be best understood empathically, as an internalizing of others' interior structures to know them.
(13.) Conrad Baars, Bor n Only Once (Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2012) , 15. Another influential text in this regard is Anna Terruwe's The Abode of Love, trans. Robert C. Ware (St. Meinrad, IN: Abbey Press, 1970).
(14.) Baars, Born Only Once, 23.
(15.) Ibid., 24.
(16.) See von Hildebrand, 77.
(17.) Baars, 32.
(18.) See Anna Terruwe and Conrad Baars, Loving and Curing the Neurotic: A New Look at Emotional Illness (New Rochelle: Arlington House, 1972), 124.
(19.) See ibid., 124-25.
(20.) See ibid., 128-63.
(21.) Von Hildebrand, 91.
(22.) Ibid., 93.
(23.) Ibid., 99.
(24.) J. Brennan Mullaney, Authentic Love: Theory & Therapy (Staten Island: Society of St. Paul: Alba House, 2008), 7.
(25.) See ibid., 7-8.
(26.) See ibid., 8-9.
(27.) Ibid., 9.
(28.) In addition to trusting Mullaney's massive theoretical work, grounded in his decades of experience as a clinical therapist, I trust the phenomenological correspondence of theory.
(29.) Ibid., 29.
(31.) This structure and ordering of the dimensions of the heart immediately bring to mind the long-standing questions of the human spirit, to which St. Paul referred--"and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thes 5:23)--and for which there is its own theological tradition; see also Henri de Lubac, Theology in History, trans. Anne Englund Nash (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1996). Necessary to contextualize also is mystics' experience of an existential point deeper than their rational capacities. The integration of the spirit within the heart is yet another topic beyond the scope of this paper.
(32.) See von Hildebrand, for the most thorough--and Christological--treatment of the affective life this way understood. He does not deal with as concise a structure of the heart as Mullaney proposes, but still makes a deeply compelling argument for thoroughly understanding the heart and, with it, integration of all the human faculties.
(33.) Ibid., 33.
(34.) See ibid., 34-37.
(35.) In this context, I think of something like Joseph Ratzinger's "Conscience and Truth," a piece that provides little clarity about which precise capacity dies--and how--with regards to conscience in persons incapable of responding to it. Mullaney's understanding of the heart and the necessary operation of love in its context gives one structural insight--that any sort of disorder to heart-capacities like conscience has, at its core, some form of love-deficit.
(36.) See von Hildebrand, 27.
(37.) Ibid., 37.
(38.) Ibid., 34.
(39.) Ibid., 62.
(40.) That infused contemplation is a state of passive receptivity, or infusion, of love into the human soul is widely understood among spiritual theologians. For one general summation of the Carmelite contemplative tradition, see Thomas Dubay, Fire Within (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1989), and for a more thorough theological treatment, see Reginald Garrigrou-Lagrange, O P, The Three Ages of the Interior Life, trans. M. Timothea Doyle (London: Catholic Way Publishing, 2015). They both offer particular interpretations of this one tradition; the application of the specific operations of the gifts of the Holy Spirit in infused contemplation understood this way to each level of the heart--in conscious, spiritual experience--is a question outside the scope of this article.
(41.) Another question that lies outside the immediate scope of this article is the relationship between nature and grace in context of the heart, insofar as inadequately developed natural heart life does not prohibit the life of grace but does require the ordering of natural capacities for the fullest manifestation of graced and spiritualized life. The nature that lives out love is, in the end, one of a body-soul composite; the heart is the most acute example of a faculty in which the physical and spiritual existential dimensions meet.
(42.) Mullaney, 30.
(44.) For two analyses of the theological tradition on personal transfiguration and deification, I recommend Panayiotis Nella's Deification in Christ: The Nature of the Human Person, trans. Norman Russell (New York: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1987), and Alexis Trader's Ancient Christian Wisdom and Aaron Beck's Cognitive Therapy: A Meeting of Minds (New York: Peter Lang Publishing, 2012).
(45.) See Mullaney, 48.
(46.) In addition to context for the center of human experience and the human's intrinsic need to receive love, Mullaney offers the Church a new--and crucial--tool to more fully contextualize other questions. One is the specific nature and origin of human affectivity: in the immediately causal and then graced indwelling of God. Von Hildebrand's analysis, including that of transfiguration to resemble Christ's affectivity, immediately receives a more concrete framework, as does the Franciscan tradition of synderesis, one fitting analysis of which can be found in Robert Glenn Davis's The Weight of Love: Affect, Ecstasy, and Union in the Theology of Bonaventure (New York: Fordham University Press, 2017), and again reference (if not concrete) in Ratzinger's "Conscience and Truth."
(47.) Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologica I, q. 3, a. 4 (hereafter ST).
(48.) Ibid., III, q. 7, a. 9.
(49.) See ibid., I, q. 1.
(50.) ST I, q. 1, a. 5.
(51.) See ST I, q. 21.
(52.) See ST I, q. 20.
(53.) My first exposure to this line of contemplation was Luigi Giussani's Is It Possible to Live this Way?: An Unusual Approach to Christian Existence, vol. 1, Faith (Montreal, ON: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2008). Here I grasped the feasibility of the apostles' encounter with Christ; nothing else before had satisfied the question, "Why did they follow one who, in every other way, looked a human person?"
(54.) Litany of the Sacred Heart.
(55.) Mullaney, 131.
(56.) Ibid., 271.
(57.) Ibid., 275-76.
(58.) Ibid., 276.
(59.) Ibid., 277.
(60.) Bob Schuchts, Be Healed: A Guide to Encountering the Powerful Love of Jesus in Your Life (Notre Dame, IN: Ave Maria Press, 2014), 113.
(61.) See ibid., as well as Neal Lozano's Unbound (Grand Rapids, MI: Chosen Books, 2010), for two references regarding the very real--and too often unacknowledged--spiritual dimension to woundedness that occurs at the level of the psychospiritual heart. The specific "anatomy" of the spiritually oppressed wound in context of the heart is a topic for another place.
(62.) See ST I, q. 33.
(63.) See Carter Griffin, Supernatural Fatherhood through Priestly Celibacy: Fulfillment in Masculinity--A Thomistic Study (Kindle Edition: CreateSpace Independent Publishing, 2011), for one extended analysis of the priesthood in this vein.
(64.) See for example, Karol Wojtyla's Love & Responsibility, trans. Grzegorz Ignatik (Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media, 2013), for an analysis of self-gift within marriage.
(65.) See Augustin Poulain, SJ, The Graces of Interior Prayer, trans. Lenora L. Yorke Smith (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., 1921), 245.
(66.) See Prudence Allen, RSM, "Man-Woman Complementarity: The Catholic Inspiration," Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture 9, no. 3 (2006), for one contemporary summary of philosophical precedent for men and women as both fundamentally equal and significantly differentiated. It could be argued, also outside the scope here, that specific manifestations of the heart will be fundamentally equal but differentiated in man versus woman, and that the specific structure of the feminine versus masculine hearts--as well as heart disorder--contributes another lens to discussions of human sexuality and gender. Men and women share the vocation to spousal union with God, but due to physiological and other differences experience reality in radically diverse ways. See Auguste Saudreau, The Degrees of the Spiritual Life, vol. 2, trans. Bede Camm, OSB (London: R&T Washbourne, Ltd., 1907), 47.
(67.) John Paul II, Novo Millenio Ineunte, 27. "Faced with this mystery, we are greatly helped not only by theological investigation but also by that great heritage which is the 'lived theology' of the saints. The saints offer us precious insights which enable us to understand more easily the intuition of faith, thanks to the special enlightenment which some of them have received from the Holy Spirit."
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|Publication:||Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2018|
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