Thoughts for July 28 from Fr Willie Doyle

"I am sorry to see you are hoisting the devil’s flag of discouragement"

I am sorry to see you are hoisting the devil’s flag of discouragement. It is a precious lesson of the spiritual world that there must be ups and downs even with the most earnest efforts and in the holiest lives. “Begin again” is the motto of success in the path of holiness. Remember, too, that faults and falls rightly used help to teach us our weakness and to make us humble, and so are really a stepping-stone to greater sanctity.

COMMENT: How consoling Fr Doyle’s advice is today. So often we can get discouraged with our failings. However, it is worth checking our consciences on this matter – are we discouraged because we have offended God, or are we discouraged because our failings prove to us, after all, that we are just weak humans, and not at all as holy and advanced as we might like to imagine?

Whatever the answer to that question, the point remains that we can profit by our faults by examining ourselves and discovering where our weak point lies, and resolving to defend ourselves against temptation in future.

As St Josemaria Escriva said:

The saints are those who struggle right to the end of their lives: those who always manage to get up each time they stumble, each time they fall, and courageously embark on their way once more with humility, love and hope.

Falls and imperfections are inevitable, we had might as well be determined to pick ourselves up and learn from the experience, rather than just giving up and “waving the devil’s flag”. We have to keep moving forward spiritually, even when confronted with setbacks.

In fact, even Rocky Balboa had some good advice on this very point:

Since we’ve had one Rocky clip we had might as well have a second to really ram the point home. Yes, it’s outrageously corny, but it is Rocky after all. Besides, I think that Fr Doyle, who was an avid and enthusiastic sportsman would probably have liked Rocky if he had lived to see him (and if somebody could have convinced him to spend the time watching a movie!)