A Good Will

Father Geiermann discusses the importance of a good will and the salutary actions which flow from it. He begins by stating: “Good will is the one great requisite to attain eternal life. Genuine good will is composed of sincerity of mind, desire of heart, and resolution of will.”

Sincerity is that honesty of mind which produces rectitude of intention and fidelity in action.”

Desire is a longing of the heart for the good perceived by the mind. ‘What wings are to a bird’ says St. Alphonsus, ‘desires are to a soul that longs for perfection.’ This desire must be efficacious, however, for the saints tell us that ‘hell is paved with vain desires.’ A desire is efficacious when the heart is anxious to make the sacrifices necessary to carry it into practice. Such a desire supplies the strength necessary for pursuit.”

“A resolution is a fixed determination of the will to realize the desires of the heart. . . . It should turn with decision from every temptation, prudently avoid the voluntary occasions of sin, and strengthen itself against those unavoidable by keeping itself intimately united to God.”

“The intention is that act of the mind whereby man directs his actions to a certain definite end. Man may have various immediate, but only one true final end. As he came from God he should ultimately direct all his actions to God. . . . When man directs his actions to God as his supernatural end he makes them meritorious for heaven. It suffices for this to have the habitual intention to act as a Christian.”

“There are two universal laws of life which man must observe if he wishes to strive successfully after any definite end. They are the laws of labor and sacrifice. If he wishes to attain the reward of heaven he must, besides, observe the law of prayer.”

Labor is the exerting of the powers of soul and body to attain a definite end. On the journey of life no one can entirely escape physical pain and mental anguish, the cause of all suffering. . . . If man rebels, and endeavors to throw off this cross, he multiplies his suffering and increases his burden without growing in virtue or enjoying contentment.”

“To persevere in opposition to the enemies of his salvation is impossible for man without God’s actual help. Though God is infinite goodness and love, He will not grant this aid unless man submits himself to His influence by prayer. Prayer, therefore, is the third universal law of a Christian life.”

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

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