Thoughts for December 25 from Fr Willie Doyle

What impressed me most in the meditation on the Nativity was the thought that Jesus could have been born in wealth and luxury, or at least with the ordinary comforts of life, but He chose all that was hard, unpleasant and uncomfortable.

This He did for me, to show me the life I must lead for Him. If I want to be with Christ, I must lead the life of Christ, and in that life there was little of what was pleasing to nature. I think I have been following Christ, yet how pleasant and comfortable my life has always been ever avoiding cold, hunger, hard work, disagreeable things, humiliations, etc. My Jesus, You are speaking to my heart now. I cannot mistake Your voice or hide from myself what You want from me and what my future life should be. Help me for I am weak and cowardly.

COMMENT:  O’Rahilly’s biography of Fr Doyle is a remarkable source of information about Fr Doyle’s life and spirituality. However, there is another book about Fr Doyle entitled Merry in God. This is sometimes credited to O’Rahilly as well. However, I do not believe that it was written by him; the 1939 edition I have gives no indication about who the author is.

Personally I believe that it was written by Fr Charles Doyle SJ, Fr Willie’s older brother. There are two reasons why I think this. Firstly, why else would it be anonymous? A Jesuit priest writing a book anonymously about his brother makes sense in terms of the virtue of humility. Secondly, there is little new in it beyond O’Rahilly’s masterpiece except for Fr Doyle’s early years in Dalkey and his time as a schoolboy and seminarian. Everything else is more or less taken from O’Rahilly’s book. These early chapters of the book were written almost as if the author was an eye witness to the events, and many stories are told about the kinds of things that both Willie and Charlie got up to.

Below is a scan of section in the book dealing with a typical Christmas in the Doyle family. It gives a charming insight into the habits and customs of Fr Doyle’s family in the late 1800’s.

Enjoy! Happy Christmas to all readers of this site!

Christmas at Melrose