Strengthening Our Will

I want to tackle a very sensitive subject. In today’s society, we have been living in a dangerous world. We live in a world where we are constantly bombarded that facts come from our feelings.  

What do I mean?

That is what we feel is the truth. If it makes me feel good, it must be true.  

Chocolate has a good taste so that I will perceive it as good. Because it is good, I will eat that chocolate. I enjoy the like, and I want more, so I will continue to eat chocolate. I will continue to eat that chocolate to get that initial high of first tasting the chocolate.

Now, if you are anything like me, you can overeat chocolate. Chocolate becomes bland, dare I even say boring. We can even get sick from eating too much. I know, I know, a dangerous comment. 

So is chocolate evil?  

No, not at all (though to me, it’s a little overrated ;). However, our wills and passions are weakened and is disorientated. We can overindulge. Yet things that seem uncomfortable and even distasteful are bad.  

Does couch potato like working out? Of course not! It’s uncomfortable. It’s not pleasant; it’s not fun. But, our will and passions tell us to watch another episode on Netflix! So, have another piece of pizza.  

We all know we need relaxation and recreation. We all deserve a treat once in a while, but our passions, wills, and feelings are geared towards overconsumption.  

Saint Therese knew this all too well. So how do we change this?

Just like her, it starts with the will. So why do you do the things you do?  

Are you cleaning up the room so you don’t get yelled at by your spouse? Well, that’s a pretty… negative outlook, but let’s all face it, we’ve been there.  

Are you doing it because you know your spouse is having a rough day, so you want to make a clean home to surprise them and to show them you care for them?

We can definitely see a change in mentality. Right? When you feel that negative thought come up. Stop what you are doing. Just stop for a moment. Exhale.

And give thanks for the task you are given. 

Now, let’s go further. When your spouse thanks you and hugs you, don’t you feel happy? Do you do something good? Right? Getting hugs, a kiss, is undoubtedly a reward, right?

Well, I won’t say that’s the sole reason for doing a good action. But let’s be honest, that might be a slice of the pie. Fifty percent because it’ll make your spouse happy. Forty-five percent because it’s the right thing, maybe 5 percent because you hope it will get rewarded/noticed.  

I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but we should be realistic with ourselves, right?

Now, Saint Therese teaches us to do all things, not only for love neighbor but also for God. When we do things for the sake of the Lord, even if it’s uncomfortable, hoping it will please Him that is good, we notice more abundant, more powerful, more pure love. The love of God often purifies our more selfish tendency.  

Now, if we do something that we don’t want to do, we get up and run a mile, and we do it for God, our mentality starts to change. We aren’t doing the good for ourselves, but we are doing for another. We sacrifice what we want for the love and sake of Love Himself.  

Soon, we will find what is bitter will turn into something sweet. It takes a bit to readjust our will, but it’s easier and easier as we do it. Soon we start to push ourselves to do more.  

That’s the marvelous nature of the Little Way. It builds us up. It perfects our will. It allows us to look past our selfish self and our disorientated, imperfect desires. It corrects our path and makes it straight and narrow.  

We are children, and the Lord is a doctor. He gives us bitter medicine that sometimes we protest.

It tastes disgusting! Why am I taking this poison! Dare I even say, are you trying to harm or kill me!? 

It starts to change towards… 

“You are a doctor, and I don’t like being sick, so I will take this to feel better.”

Changes to…

“You’re my doctor, and you care about my wellbeing, so I will trust your judgment and take it.”

Finally to…

“I take this because you want me to!” 

It doesn’t happen over time, but let’s be mindful that our unruly passions guide our realities. We fall into the trap, I feel it, so it must be true! Let’s not fall into that. Let us look past those initial passions and feelings and challenge ourselves to say no to ourselves for the sake of another.

Say no to yourself for the greater glory of God.

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