by HFH Reuvers


People sometimes think they have no free will at all. They say their thoughts are mere associations. So, according to them, their personal history and constitution and their circumstances determine their course of life.
However, a man can at every moment choose whether or not to admit a thought that falls upon him. It seems there sits a little angel on his right shoulder who whispers the good choice in his ear and a little devil on his left shoulder who suggests the bad choice. This is connected with his conscience: a child that has reached the age of discretion knows, deep in his heart, which choice is the good one, at least when it really matters. The most important thing is the good intention.
Now the noisy propaganda of evil in the world can darken this conscience, whereas a silent attitude of prayer and listening to God will form the conscience and enlighten it.
If a man's conscience is dim, his situation unbearable, or his body addicted, this diminishes the direct responsibility for his deeds and thoughts. But he always has the responsibility to order his life. That's why, for example, the Church demands people should keep Sunday holy: the day of the Lord is intended for reflection, thanksgiving and listening. Then, people take time to make good intentions and a scheme to keep them.
The motto is always: Pray and work ! If we're always working (on weekdays), but never hurried, evil gets no chance.

Free will forms the very dignity of man. God gives everybody the choice whether or not to accept His offer of Love. So I don't believe He decides beforehand who will go to hell and who will go to heaven, as strict Calvinists seem to think. Of course, He could always know beforehand whether a particular man He creates will answer His love or not, but He chooses to await the free answer of this man. It's true nobody can anything without God's grace, but God gives a sufficient amount of grace to everyone. After all, the faith a man has in God is the most essential thing.