Bad Will and Vices

Continuing his discussion of things that trouble the soul, Father Geiermann addresses the problem of bad will and the vices that flow from it:

He writes: “As good will is indispensable for salvation, so bad will is sure to lead to reprobation. Bad will arises from insincerity of mind, fickleness of heart, and indecision of the will regarding the work of salvation.”

Insincerity aims at human ends and is a slave of human respect. It serves God in prosperity, but fails in the day of adversity.”

Fickleness of heart prompts man to act from the impulse of passion rather than from principle. It is willing to say, ‘Lord! Lord!’ but not to labor and suffer to break the fetters of sin, and so never really desires to lay up treasures in heaven.”

Indecision of will disqualifies man for the resolute, persevering endeavor of a true child of God. It makes man a slave of circumstance, and permits him to drift into sin and vice without being seriously tempted by the enemies of his soul.”

“A vice is a habit of sin. It results from a misuse of man’s free will. It will grow out of his evil inclinations if he does not oppose it resolutely by acquiring the opposite virtue.”

“As virtue is the golden mean, vice is ordinarily found at either extreme of every virtue. There are seven vices, however, which are the source of many others. They are pride, avarice, lust, anger, gluttony, envy, and sloth, and are usually called capital sins.”

“The majority of mankind are actuated more by instinct and passion in daily life than by reason. They find it difficult to restrain their animal propensities and easily become the slave of avarice, lust, gluttony, intemperance, and sloth. Those on the other hand who try to govern their daily lives according to the dictates of reason find it more difficult to regulate their ambition. They easily permit their inordinate self-love to exaggerate their excellence and puff them up with pride. In consequence they easily become vain and inordinately desirous of the honors of life. Christians can best master their ambition by converting it into zeal for the glory of God and the welfare of souls.”

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

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