The other day I found myself wondering, "what is formation all about, anyway?" I was reflecting on my (yikes!) 9 years in the seminary, you know, where I was before entering (not yet 20), how I have progressed or not along the way, positive and negative elements... So when it comes down to it, what is formation all about?
I believe that the answer is, simply, TRUTH. Fundamentally, I think that formation is attempting to move the will by presenting it with the truth in all its goodness and beauty. I believe that formation is absolutely not getting someone to do something or getting them to behave within certain parameters but rather helping them to desire the true, the good, and the beautiful in all of their profundity. It is an empowering. This also means not settling for passing pleasures or superficial counterfeits instead of these transcendental realities. For more on this check out #89 of Pope Francis's recent publication Evangelii Gaudium.
Formation is ongoing introduction to / discovery of the truth and then the conforming of one's life to that reality.