Union of Will
Presence of God – O Lord, take my entire will and transform it into Your own.
The first and most important result of the unitive power of love is the perfect union of man’s will with the will of God. As love develops, it so empties the soul of everything opposed to the divine will, so impels it to love and desire only that which God Himself loves and desires, that little by little, the weak human will becomes fully conformed and united to the divine will of God; the two wills are made into one, “namely, into the will of God, which … is likewise the will of the soul” (John of the Cross Ascent of Mt. Carmel I 11:3). In all its deliberate actions, the soul is no longer guided by its personal will, so frail and inconstant; it is directed and moved solely by the will of God, wherein its own has been lost, lost through love. “He that shall lose his life for My sake shall find it,” Jesus declared (Matthew 16:25). Captivated by love for God, the soul has, for His sake, entirely renounced its own will; it has voluntarily lost in Him all desire, all inclination; and now, the loss has become the greatest of all gains, because the soul finds its will, now entirely transformed in the divine will of God. Could one hope for a more advantageous exchange? St. John of the Cross writes: “The state of this divine union consists in the soul’s total transformation, according to the will, in the will of God” (Ascent of Mt. Carmel I 11:2). This transformation is total, and not merely in part, nor is it merely in things of greater importance, but even in very small, minute things, so that the divine will truly becomes the unique motive force of the soul: whatever it does, says and thinks is “in all and through all … the will of God alone” (Ascent of Mt. Carmel I 11:2). A sublime state, which lifts a creature to the heights of the Creator, which takes it from the level of human life to that of the divine! To achieve this it was worthwhile for the soul to have undergone the bitter purification by which it was “stripped and denuded of its former skin” (John of the Cross Dark Night of the Soul II 13:11), that is, of its own imperfect will; it was worthwhile to have renounced itself and everything created!
“Lord, what power this gift has! If it be made with due resolution, it cannot fail to draw You, the Almighty, to become one with our lowliness and to transform us into Yourself and to effect a union between the Creator and the creature.
“The more resolute we are in soul and the more we show You by our actions that the words we use to You are not words of mere politeness, the more and more do You draw us to Yourself and raise us above all petty earthly things, and above ourselves, in order to prepare us to receive great favors from You, for Your rewards for our service will not end with this life. So much do You value this service of ours that we do not know for what more we can ask, while You never weary of giving.
“Not content with having made this soul one with Yourself, through uniting it to Yourself, You begin to cherish it, to reveal secrets to it, to rejoice in its understanding of what it has gained and in the knowledge which it has of all You have yet to give it. You begin to make such a friend of the soul that not only do You restore its will to it, but You give it Your own also. For now that You are making a friend of it, You are glad to allow it to rule with You. So You do what the soul asks of You, just as the soul does what You command, only in a much better way, since You are all-powerful and can do whatever You desire, and Your desire never comes to an end.
“O my God, how precious is the union which the soul attains with You, after having established itself in submission to Your will. Oh, how much to be desired is this union, in which we resign our wills to the will of God! Happy the soul that has attained to it, for it will live peacefully both in this life, and in the next, for, apart from the peril of losing You, O Lord, or of seeing You offended, there is nothing that could afflict it, neither sickness nor poverty nor even death, for this soul sees clearly that You know what You are doing better than it knows itself what it desires!” (Teresa of Jesus Way of Perfection 32; Interior Castle [also known as The Mansions] V 3).
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Art for this post on union of will: mirror of Teresa of Avila, Peter Paul Rubens, 1615, CCA-SA 3.0 Unported, Wikimedia Commons. Father Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, mirror from open source material.