Man does not choose of necessity... Consequently man wills Happiness of necessity, nor can he will not to be happy, or to be unhappy. Now since choice is not of the end, but of the means... it is not of the perfect good, which is Happiness, but of other particular goods. Therefore man chooses not of necessity but freely.
Voices of the glorified urge us onward. they who have passed from the semblances of time to the realities of eternity call upon us to advance. The rest that awaits us invites us forward. We do not pine for our rest before God wills it. We long for no inglorious rest. We are thankful rather for the invaluable training of difficulty, the loving discipline of danger and strife. Yet in the midst of it all the prospect of rest invites us heavenward. Through all, and above all, God cries, “Go forward!” “Come up higher.”
Our bodies are our gardens... our wills our gardeners.
Our wills and fates do so contrary run, that our devices still are overthrown; our thoughts are ours, their ends none of our own.
Our wills are the slaves of the accumulated influence of our interior companionships. What we can do is to get new mental images.
Within us there is someone who knows everything, wills everything, does everything better than we ourselves.
A man has to learn that he cannot command things, but that he can command himself; that he cannot coerce the wills of others, but that he can mold and master his own will: and things serve him who serves Truth; people seek guidance of him who is master of himself.
Nothing is small or great in God’s sight. Whatever He wills becomes great to us, however seemingly trifling; and if once the voice of conscience tells us that He requires anything of us, we have no right to measure its importance.
What do we mean by saying that existence precedes essence? We mean that man first of all exists, encounters himself, surges up in the world – and defines himself afterwards. If man as the existentialist sees him is not definable, it is because to begin with he is nothing. He will not be anything until later, and then he will be what he makes of himself. Thus, there is no human nature, because there is no God to have a conception of it. Man simply is. Not that he is simply what he conceives himself to be, but he is what he wills, and as he conceives himself after already existing – as he wills to be after that leap towards existence. Man is nothing else but that which he makes of himself. That is the first principle of existentialism.
The processes of teaching the child that everything cannot be as he wills it are apt to be painful both to him and to his teacher.
In every soul to be saved is a godly will that has never consented to sin, in the past or in the future. Just as there is an animal will in our lower nature that oes not will what is good, so there is a godly will in our higher part, which by its basic goodness never wills what is evil, but only what is good.
What is the cause of historical events? Power. What is power? Power is the sum total of wills transferred to one person. On what condition are the will so for the masses transferred to one person? On condition that the person express the will of the whole people. That is, power is power. That is, power is a word the meaning of which we do not understand.
How can we speak of Democracy or Freedom when from the very beginning of life we mould the child to undergo tyranny, to obey a dictator? How can we expect democracy when we have reared slaves? Real freedom begins at the beginning of life, not at the adult stage. These people who have been diminished in their powers, made short-sighted, devitalized by mental fatigue, whose bodies have become distorted, whose wills have been broken by elders who say: “your will must disappear and mine prevail!”—how can we expect them, when school-life is finished, to accept and use the rights of freedom?
Whithersoever they may flee, there is God. Wherever they find themselves, once more they flee away, for God is everywhere. Ever more desperately they flee; but God is already in every place, waiting for them to come...Ever more desperately they fling themselves away, but they can only fling themselves so far, because they have torn themselves away from God...Yet God's power is still manifested in man's tearing himself away from God...They are being hunted by God and they can move so swiftly only because he hunts them. Even this is God's love, that he, he and no other, wills to pursue the fleeing, so that he, the swiftest, may always be the nearest to those in flight.
Infinite God, age after age, throughout all cycles, wills through His Infinite Mercy to effect His presence amidst mankind by stooping down to human level in the human form, but His physical presence amidst mankind not being apprehended, He is looked upon as an ordinary man of the world. When He asserts, however, His Divinity on earth by proclaiming Himself the Avatar of the Age, He is worshipped by some who accept Him as God; and glorified by a few who know him as God on Earth. But it invariably falls to the lot of the rest of humanity to condemn Him, while He is physically in their midst.
Thus it is that God as man, proclaiming Himself as the Avatar, suffers Himself to be persecuted and tortured, to be humiliated and condemned by humanity for whose sake His Infinite Love has made him stoop so low, in order that humanity, by its very act of condemning God's manifestation in the form of Avatar should, however, indirectly, assert the existence of God in His Infinite Eternal state.
There is in me a principle which thinks, wills and feels... Now this implies a begging of the question. For it is far from being an immediate truth that there is in me such a principle; the immediate truth is that I think, will and feel. And I — the I that thinks, wills and feels — am immediately my living body with the states of consciousness which it sustains. It is my living body that thinks, wills and feels.
Let nothing make thee sad or fretful,
Or too regretful;
What God hath ordered must be right;
Then find in it thine own delight,
Why shouldst thou fill to-day with sorrow
_One_ watches all with care most true;
Doubt not that he will give thee too
Only be steadfast; never waver,
Nor seek earth's favor,
Thou knowest what God wills must be
For all his creatures, so for thee,
The wicked can for the moment use God's creation in defiance of God's commandments. But this is a sort of miracle or mystery; as St. Paul said, God has made the creature subject to vanity against its will. It is reasonable to expect, if the world's whole raison d'être is to effect God's good pleasure, that the very natural agents and operations of the world should be such as to frustrate and enrage and torment those who set their wills against God's. If things are not at present like this, that is only a gratuitous mercy, on whose continuance the sinner has no reason to count. 'The world shall fight with him against the unwise.... Yea, a mighty wind shall stand up against them, and like a storm shall blow them away.'
Sacrifice thy will for others, that they may be disposed to sacrifice their wills for thee.
Ours is but a borrowed existence, freely given us by God, and He keeps us in existence because indeed He wills it so. Ours is but a goodness in which there is so much infirmity and even degradation; there is so much error in our knowledge. This thought, while serving to make us humble, brings home to us by contrast the infinite majesty of God. And then if it is a question of others and no longer of ourselves, if we have suffered disillusionment about our neighbor whom we had believed to be better and wiser, let us remember that he too has suffered disillusionment about us; let us remember that he too is perhaps better than we are, and that whatever is our own as coming from ourselves-our deficiencies and failings—is inferior to everything our neighbor has from God.
This is the foundation of humility in our relations with others. Lastly, we must admit that the disillusionments we ourselves experience, or which others experience through us, in view of the radical imperfection of the creature, are permitted that we may aspire more ardently to a knowledge and love of Him who is the truth and the life, whom we shall some day see as He sees Himself. We shall then understand the meaning of those words of St.Catherine of Siena: “The living, practical knowledge of our own wretchedness and the knowledge of God’s majesty are inseparable in their increase. They are like the lowest and highest points on a circle that is ever expanding.