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17. Commanded Acts of the Will

1. Will acts such as intention, consent, and election, are acts elicited by the will; these acts are begun and completed in the will itself. Other acts, carried out by the intellect or the sentient and bodily powers, are commanded by the will. Thus, in considering will-acts, we distinguish elicited acts and commanded acts. Command is an order of reason (the counseled will) for the carrying out of an intention.

2. Command is a product of reason, and therefore it is not found in animals less perfect than man.

3. Command as direction or advice belongs to the counseling intellect; as an executive order, command is in the will; it precedes use.

4. In the will, the commanded act and the command are really one; the human act here considered is that of the commanding will, and is one act.

5. Intellect may be said to command will in so far as it counsels the will, and also in so far as the will-act always follows upon the ultimate practical judgment of the intellect. And the will commands the intellect by applying it to its operation, by fixing its attention now on this, and now on that, object.

6. Therefore we may say that will commands reason, understanding reason to mean the thinking mind, the intellect using discursive thought. But when by reason we mean the intellect and will working together, we rather say that reason commands itself.

7. Reason (intellect and will together) governs the sensitive appetites, not by a direct and despotic rule,but by a politic influence. Sometimes, however, sensitive appetites are aroused by conditions of the body which are not subject to reason. And sometimes the sensitive appetites are so suddenly aroused that they elude, at least momentarily, the control of reason. But, in the main, reason can control the sensitive appetites, both concupiscible and irascible.

8. But reason has no control over the vegetal or plant functions of a man: "No man, by taking thought, can add to his stature one cubit."

9. Movements of bodily members which exercise sentient life are normally (barring injury or crippling disease) under control of reason. Movements of external members which exercise vegetal action, such as growth, are not subject to reason.

"There is nothing which gives greater security to our actions, or more effectually cuts the snares the devil lays for us, than to follow another person’s will, rather than our own, in doing good."
St Philip Neri

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"Happy is the youth, because he has time before him to do good. "
St Philip Neri

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"What good does it do to speak learnedly about the Trinity if, lacking humility, you displease the Trinity? Indeed it is not learning that makes a man holy and just, but a virtuous life makes him pleasing to God. "
Thomas á Kempis

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