Thoughts for June 19 from Fr Willie Doyle

Icon of Christ as the Suffering Servant

You need not fear whatever He may send you to bear, since His grace will come with it ; but you should always try to keep in mind your offering, living up to the spirit of it. Hence endeavour to see the hand of God in everything that happens to you now; e.g. if you rise in the morning with a headache, thank Him for sending it, since a victim is one who must be immolated and crucified. Again, look upon all humiliations and crosses, failure and disappointment in your work, in a word, everything that is hard, as His seal upon your offering, and rouse yourself to bear all cheerfully and lovingly, remembering that you are to be His “suffering love”.

COMMENT: Fr Doyle refers here to the practice of some rare individuals who offer themselves as so-called “victim souls”, willing to accept great sufferings in reparation for the sins of mankind. This is a path he himself followed, and the Lord accepted his sacrifice in the third battle of Ypres. Many canonised saints have followed this path.

As for the rest of us who are not called to such a life of suffering, there is still much to learn from Fr Doyle today, especially with respect to “offering up” little problems, frustrations and pains to God. This idea of offering things up was once very widespread, but has now been largely forgotten. In some mysterious way that we cannot understand, these offerings enrich the entire Church. As St Paul says: “I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in my flesh, for his body, which is the Church” (Col. 1:24)

Seen in this way, the headaches of everyday life are too good an opportunity to waste.

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