Willful but not voluntaristic
Yes, we have to make full use of our faculties, especially the will, but we need to see to it that our will is properly grounded, inspired and oriented. Yes, we have to be willful as much as we can, but seeing to it that our will is inspired by the Holy Spirit.
Otherwise, we may simply become voluntaristic, that is, using our will simply on our own, guided only by our own reasoning and even by our own feelings alone.
That we have to make full use of our will can be gleaned from the words of Christ who told us what the greatest commandment is for us. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Mt 22,37) Of course, loving is a matter of our will that has to deploy all the other faculties we have — our heart, our soul, our mind.
But we need to understand that we can only love properly if that will of ours that we use for loving is inspired by God who in the Holy Spirit provides us with the source, the pattern and the power of loving. That's because, as St. John tells us, God is the love, his very essence is love. (cfr. 1 Jn 4,8)
Outside of God, when we simply rely on our idea of loving that can only be based on some passing and perishable element, we can only have an illusion of love, a fake love that can mesmerize us for a while but will not last long and cannot tackle all the trials and challenges of our earthly life.
We have to make sure that our will as the engine of our loving is fully inspired by the Holy Spirit who makes God's love present in us. Loving in the Holy Spirit fulfills what St. Paul said in his Letter to the Ephesians, that is, that we have to “speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ.” (4,15)
It is the Holy Spirit who brings us to the whole truth, who will provide us for all our needs, especially in our difficulties. He will be the one who reassures us that it is all worthwhile to suffer the unavoidable evils in this world and to find peace and joy even as we swim and float on the vast ocean of mysteries in our earthly life.
This he does by giving us his gifts and fruits that would enable us to handle any possible situation we can find ourselves in, whether it be good or bad. It would be good if we examine ourselves frequently if we are still vitally connected with him, primarily through our will. And this is not fantasizing on our part. The Holy Spirit is our constant and infallible prompter who guides us every step of our way.
We have to be wary when we allow ourselves to be carried away by mere human impulses and worldly trends. We have to be properly guarded against this tendency that is quite common and strong, and even irresistible.
When our will is conformed to the Holy Spirit, our passions can be both fiery and tender, intense and delicate.*
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