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9. What Moves the Will

1. The will goes after what the intellect, by its practical judgment, presents to the will as a good, as an end, as something to be gone after. By its practical judgment the intellect moves the will.

2. When the sensitive appetites are permitted by the will to rise out of their proper bodily order and to exercise an influence on reason (intellect and will), they serve to move the will. The urgency of sensitive appetency invades the intellective order and tends to warp the practical judgment of the intellect and through its warped judgment to influence or move the will. Thus a man who acts understress of anger may deem fitting (that is, good, desirable) words and deeds that would not be judged fitting if he were calm.

3. But, in last analysis, it is the will which moves itself to its act. For any influence that moves the will has to be accepted by the will before it is effective.

4. Among things that can be admitted by the will as influences or movers are exterior things. Exterior objects may exercise an appeal through the senses and then through the intellect; the intellect may ponder and take counsel with itself,and finally reach the practical judgment (to do or not do to) which it presents to the will. A person who has seen articles displayed for sale, and has felt their appeal, knows that their attractiveness (in themselves or in view of use, pleasure, or profit they will bring) is a factor in the will's decision to purchase them. Thus is the will moved by exterior objects.

5. Those who think the will is necessitated in its acts by the stars, and that man is thus the play thing of fate, are quite mistaken. The will is a spiritual power and cannot be directly influenced by exterior objects, but only indirectly inasmuch as their appeal is accepted by the will from the intellect judging on sense findings. A man, looking at the stars, may be impressed by the beauty and power which they manifest, and may be led to a will-act of adoration of the stars' creator. But the stars have no direct influence on the will; much less have they power to control the will.

6. The will moves itself because God made it so. And only God can directly move the will as an exterior principle of its movement. God moves the free will directly and naturally, without destroying its freedom.

"God gives us some things, as the beginning of faith, even when we do not pray. Other things, such as perseverance, he has only provided for those who pray."
St Augustine

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"Men should often renew their good resolutions, and not lose heart because they are tempted against them."
St Philip Neri

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"Lord, take from me everything that hinders me from going to You. give me all that will lead me to You. Take me from myself and give me to Yourself."
St Nicholas Flue

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