Building Catholic Character in Students: Rely on your Will, not your Feelings

catholic book character

The Catholic Book of Character and Success: Chapter Notes

Chapter Thirty: Rely on your Will, not your Feelings.

  • It is important to distinguish in your mind between feelings and will.
  • Some people are enslaved by their feelings and are carried away by them.
  • The will within us is truly free and can be brought to act in determining between good and evil, or any course of action.
  • It is only our free actions that we can be praised or blamed: spontaneous acts that are beyond our control should neither attract merit or blame.
  • Man should not reproach himself for acts that he committed whilst being unaware of any attached evils at the time.
  • Only that which is truly willed can we derive reward or blame.
  • Feelings are inner emotions that come and go often without control, like capricious mood swings of joy or sadness.
  • These impulses, like the imagination, are from the body and any responsibility that comes from them only does so when the person yields to them.
  • Success in life depends much on a person’s ability to discipline his feelings.
  • Disciplined feelings lend strength to a man in his moral vitality, whilst feelings that are left out of control do great damage to him and those around him.
  • The young often confuse emotion with will, and temptation with consent.
  • They wrongly think that strong natural feelings are evil, not realising that in fighting them, they gain great merit.
  • The only evil in temptation is the yielding to it, either in mind or act.
  • Knowing how to resist base feelings is a great virtue that can be learned by youth and adult alike.
  • Yielding to the natural brings man to the state of the animal, though worse, as brutes do not have moral culpability whilst man has, through his free will.
  • Recognising that the animal instinct is within man, helps us to recognise it and control it.
  • Reflection upon these things throughout our past lives will highlight those times where our feelings have played a worthy or evil part.
  • Think how far have our feelings taken control, and what must we do to master them to be servants in our quest for success and happiness in life.

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