Thoughts for New Year’s Day from Fr Willie Doyle

Feast of Mary, Mother of God

A New Year! What visions of almost boundless good, hidden in the fair bosom of the new-born year, rise up before me. What treasures of grace, what innumerable opportunities of merit are within my grasp if only I seize them.

COMMENT: Fr Doyle believed in using his time well. One very definite aspect of his personality was his efficiency and work ethic – he realised that time was a great gift from God and that he would have to account for how he used it. This is a very fruitful thought for us as we prepare for the new year ahead of us. 

108 years ago today, on New Year’s Day 1912, Fr Doyle made the following notes in his diary.

For a kong time past the conviction has been growing that God wants me to be His victim to be immolated on the altar of perfect sacrifice. Every act of self-indulgence, even when there was some excuse if I was not very well, has left me unhappy, for I see clearly He wants ALL. The thought of a life in which there would be absolutely no yielding to self, stripped of every possible comfort, has an immense attraction for me lately, even though I have not the courage or generosity to embrace it. This morning at Kilmacud (presumably at the Carmelite convent in that suburb, about 5-6 miles south of Dublin city) Jesus again told me what He wants: ‘to refuse Him no sacrifice, to bear every little pain and inconvenience without relief, to give myself absolutely no gratification at meals even when not well or on feasts, and to regard food only as a means of living, to increase my corporal penances’. So strong, clear and persistent is this light, filling my soul with peace, that I feel absolutely convinced it is the will of God. I have begun, therefore, to mark days of ‘absolute sacrifice’ for Jesus. 

This is not the new year’s resolution that is expected of us! But it was what Fr Doyle felt he was called to do, and this call, far from being harmful for him, actually filled him with peace. It was this ascetical training that prepared him so well for his heroism in the trenches.