Thoughts for August 24 from Fr Willie Doyle

Martyrdom of St Bartholomew

August 24 The Feast of St Bartholomew

My dear child, as I have a few spare moments before we set out at 10 p.m. for the firing line, I must send you some words of encouragement.

What has happened, is God’s happening. He will bring all things out smoothly and pleasantly in the end. Trust Him. You must try to be patient and wait for God to arrange things in His own way. And His ways are not our ways, remember. Very slow ways, they seem at times! The mills of God grind slowly, but they surely grind!… Some saint was asked did he mind going to a certain unpleasant house. “Is Jesus there in the Tabernacle?”” he asked. “If so, everything else is of little consequence.” There is much in that, my child, is there not?

God bless you. Now for a night of mud!

COMMENT:  Today’s snippet comes from a letter of spiritual direction that Fr Doyle sent to an unnamed person. From the letter it is clear that something is troubling his correspondent. Two facts immediately jump out at us from this letter.

The most important of these points is the importance of Christ in the tabernacle, especially in times of trouble and dismay. Secondly, we see the example of Fr Doyle himself. He is writing from a military camp somewhere. He is sending the letter before leaving camp and is about to face many dangers and inconveniences (a “night of mud”). Almost certainly he faces the risk of death. Yet he doesn’t feel sorry for himself. In fact he is quite cheerful, and uses his time to help another.

Today is also the feast of St Bartholomew, one of the apostles who, tradition holds, was martyred by being skinned alive and then crucified. His relics are preserved in the Basilica of St Bartholomew in Rome, which also contains a display of relics and memorabilia related to martyrs of the 20th Century which in many respects was THE century of martyrs. Anyone going to Rome is recommended to visit it. Below is a video tour of the basilica in which some of the relics and memorabilia can be seen.

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