Conformity in Mind, Will, and Action

Father Geiermann discusses ways in which a person conforms his mind, will, and actions to the mind, will, and plan of God.

Concerning conformity of the intellect, he writes: “Man conforms his mind to the mind of God by viewing all things in a spirit of faith. . . . The opportunity of actually conforming his mind to the mind of God presents itself to a Christian as often as a conflict arises in his mind between the teaching and practice of the world and the teaching and practice of faith.”

Concerning conformity of the will, he explains: “The will of God is made known to us by the voice of parents, pastors, and other lawful superiors, by the laws of God, by the laws of the Church, and by the just laws of our country. Sometimes God makes His will known to us in a special matter by the special dispensation of His Providence, by the inspiration of His grace, and in a doubtful matter by the advice of our spiritual director. The human will must do four things to conform to the will of God: (1) desire the good which God wills; (2) resolve on attaining the good which God wills; (3) set the other faculties in motion to attain the good which God wills; and (4) direct the faculties in the pursuit of the good which God wills, and as He makes it known by the dictates of reason enlightened by faith. Conformity to the Divine Will in these four points constitutes the essence of all sanctity. . . . Providence gives man the opportunity of conforming his will to the will of God, whenever worldly desires, self-will, or tepidity inclines his will to oppose the will of God.”

And, as for conformity in action, he writes: “As prayer, labor, and sacrifice enter equally into the plan of God, perfect conformity demands that we embrace the opportunity for each in the same spirit of faith and with equal generosity and good-will, and perform them with that exactness, thoroughness, and attention to detail which the holy will of God prescribes. Providence gives man the opportunity of conforming his actions to the plan of God by the obligations of his state in life, and by special occasions for prayer and the practice of fraternal charity. When man embraces these opportunities eagerly and co-operates perfectly in them, he may truly say with St. Clement Hofbauer: ‘I will what God wills, because He wills it, when He wills it, where He wills it, and as He wills it.’”

Quotations from Peter Geiermann, The Narrow Way (New York: Benziger, 1914).

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