St. Bernard notes that creative grace created the will and in that will we are
different than the other animals.
In saving, or sanctifying grace, the will is given the ability to overcome evil
and be victorious in good.
Likewise, the will can cause failure to love God. He notes that mortal sin
destroys both freedom and the ability of the will to choose good.
It hath, I think, been sufficiently shown that this freedom of will is yet in certain fashion held captive, so long as the other two kinds of freedom scarcely at all, or only in a small measure, accompany it ; and that from no other cause than the lack of these two kinds of freedom ariseth that defect of ours of which the Apostle speaketh, saying : " So that ye cannot do the things that ye would." To will indeed belongeth to us in virtue of free choice, but not also the^ power to do what we will. I do not speak of willing what is good, nor of willing what is evil, but merely of willing. For to will what is good is a moral success, to will what is evil is a moral failure. But the simple act of willing, that it is which either succeedeth or faileth. Further, it is creative grace which gave existence to the will ; it is saving grace which giveth it moral success ; it is the will itself which bringeth about its own moral failure. Accordingly, free choice maketh us possessed of will ; grace maketh us possessed of good will. It is in virtue of free choice that we will, it is in virtue of grace that we will what is good. For even as it is one thing simply to fear, and another thing to fear God -- one thing simply to love and another thing to love God (indeed, the terms fear and love, considered merely in the abstract, signify affections
For the rest, whether we belong to God or to the devil, we do not cease to belong to ourselves also. Indeed free will remaineth to us in. either case, whereby there remaineth also the ground of merit ; so that deservedly we are either punished as evil persons, who have of their own will freely become such, or glorified as good, which equally we cannot be save only as free agents. In truth it is our own will, and not the power of God, which delivereth us over to the devil : it is God's grace, and not our own will,Adam's turning away from perfection caused an avalanche of sin and regret, and
loss of freedom.No seeking of perfection means no finding of freedom. As long as the will is trapped in sinand imperfections, one cannot do good, or work in and for the glory of God.The highest degree of freedom, states Bernard, is to be able to not sin. The lowest degree isnot to be able not to sin.