Our modern culture presses every person to conform to a relativistic secularism that demands every Christian compartmentalize their Faith so that it does not impact any aspect of their lives except Sunday worship services.
We NEED to cultivate an attitude of Willful Holiness! Many Saints went their own ways in following Christ to the bafflement and even anger of the culture of their day. Many died martyrs deaths because they were determined to follow Christ even though it really paid off if you rejected him! They were bold in their willful holiness. Family and friends might with well meaning but wrong advice attempt to guide the Saint into an easier path but the greatness of Saints is found in their willful holiness.
St. Thomas Aquinas is an example. His family even kidnapped him and imprisoned him in a tower for awhile. They had planned for him to be a Benedictine with prestige and a cushy position. He chose the Dominican order and never accepted a single promotion. Willful Holiness!
St. Josemaria Escriva’s many writings teach us how to practice willful holiness in the midst of a world that is often hostile to holiness in any form. He guided career oriented young people in how to serve Christ as Catholics in the midst of their secular lives. It was all about how to be the salt and light in their jobs, in their ordinary lives, and to live the willful holiness that is so important for today.
St. John of the Cross wrote in the Dark Night of the Soul about following the path of holiness even when God seemed impossibly far away and all the pleasures of faith were gone. He practiced willful holiness even when there was no apparent payoff and his writings encourage that same practice in us today.
It is by making my will conform to God’s will that I can happily pursue the goal of my way = God’s way and enjoy the giddy freedom of singing that ballad of independence without it meaning a sinful rebellious path but rather the pursuit of willful holiness which is the path of joyfully conforming my will to God’s way.
For me, if there be rebellion in the singing of the ballad “I did it my way” it should be a rebellion against concupiscence, against pride, against sin and against those in this world who would have me abandon my chosen path.
St Augustine said, “Love God and do as you will” because if you love God, then your will becomes conformed to HIS will and thus, when you do as you will, you do right.