Strengthening the will PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 11 August 2016 13:45

REFLECTION

BY FR. ROY CIMAGALA

I believe it is a basic skill we all have to learn, and avery relevant one at that, given our present circumstances, whether in the personal or social level, wracked as it is by many confusing and complicating elements.

When problems, pressures, concerns and difficulties seemb  to drown you, you always have a way of tackling them effectively. Just rev up your will, facing them boldly and moving on no matter what.

When temptations comes, when human weakness drag you down, when mistakes seem to tear you apart, again just toughen your will, and you will have a way of saying no to temptations, of bearing the weaknesses, and of confidently facing the consequences of your mistakes.

When you have to enter into a commitment, and when you feel weary to be faithful to such commitment amid the ups and down of life, just shore up your will. You can fearlessly enter into such a commitment and confidently manage to meet the requirements of consistency.

Our will is a great weapon in our armory, a real treasure among the natural endowments of our humanity. Together with our intellect, it is our chief spiritual faculty that enables us to transcend our human, earthly and material-bound condition. It is what enables us to get engaged with the supernatural dynamics of grace that we all need, considering that our life is a life always with God.

With it, we can liberate ourselves from the morally-blind impulses of our physical and biological condition that is ruled mainly by hormones, instincts, passions, etc. It also enables us to transcend the complicated play of different forces in our social and political environment.

With it, we can choose to be optimistic or pessimistic, to love or to hate, to be happy or sad. With it, we can choose good or evil, to go alone the ways of virtue or of vice. We can keep ourselves hopeful or wallow in self-pity and depression.

How important, indeed, that we really take good care of our will! It is what allows to live our life with God and with everybody else, as is proper to us, avoiding the dangers of self-centeredness and self-absorption.

We are not going bananas by extolling the beauty and power of our will. All these affirmations have their basis on our Christian faith. From the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, we have the following most enlightening point:

“Man is open above all to the infinite—God—because with his intellect and will he raises himself above all the created order and above himself, he becomes independent from creatures, is free in relation to created things and tends towards total truth and the absolute good.” (130)

The big problem we have at the moment is that many of us are not taking good care of our will. We just allow it to drift to anywhere the wind blows. It can be dominated simply by our biological impulses, if not by our human frailties instead of being ruled by the impulses of God and his grace.

We can even say that many are not conscious that there is such thing as our duty to take care of our will, forming it well, nourishing it with the proper knowledge, values and virtues.

Thus, we can see an abundance of cases of people who are stuck in immaturity, being gripped by the impulses of their hormones or easily fooled and lost in the maze of our social and highly sophisticated technological life.

Those who may be lucky because of their superior human endowments can succumb to pride, arrogance, sophistry, pedantry, malice, etc. That happens when they fail to ground their will on its proper source and orient it to its proper object which is none other than God’s will.

Let’s always remember what St. Paul once said:

“I have learned to be self-sufficing in whatever circumstances I am. I know how to live humbly and I know how to live in abundance. I have been schooled to every place and every condition, to be filled and to be hungry, to have abundance and to suffer want. I can do all things in him who strengthens me.” (Phil 4,11-13)

We can practically say that our life depends on how our will turns. We can either love God and others, or we can just be by ourselves, doomed to self-love. That’s why we have to be good in taking care of our will, revving it up everyday, so that it starts and ends only with God.