Thoughts for June 9 from Fr Willie Doyle

The Gospel says: “In the daytime He was teaching in the Temple.” S. Luke, 21, 37. How often, and for how long, am I in the chapel? Is the chapel the place where people know I am to be found? What a difference it would make in my visits, if only I realised the real corporal presence of Jesus in the Tabernacle. This is a grace I must earnestly ask for.

COMMENT: Fr Doyle’s question “Is the chapel the place where people know I am to be found” perhaps makes sense for readers who are in religious life. I know that there are a number of priests and nuns who read this site, so Fr Doyle’s words will be directly applicable to them today. But this seems a bit difficult for those of us with busy secular lives in the 21st Century. After all, we cannot, nor should we, spend all day in the chapel, for we have our work to do. We must, instead, find a way to live in the presence of God while carrying on our daily tasks in the world. This is no easy task!

Today we celebrate the feast of Blessed Anna Maria Taigi, one of the most remarkable lay mystics in the history of the Church. Despite being favoured with many extraordinary mystical gifts, and consulted by bishops, saints and popes, she kept her feet on the ground, and lived the life of a busy mother and in Rome in the 1800’s. In fact, she was so focused on properly fulfilling her duties that she was known to ask God to stop favouring her with ecstacies and other gifts so that she could not be distracted from her work. There is an worthwhile overview of Blessed Anna Maria Taigi’s life here:

Perhaps those of us who are laypeople can adapt Fr Doyle’s question. Instead of asking “Is the chapel the place where people know I am to be found?” perhaps we can ask ourselves whether there is any evidence in our lives that we visit the chapel at all? Is there any evidence in our life that we believe in the real presence of Jesus in the tabernacle, and that we try to model ourselves on Him?

If we do attempt to spend time with Jesus and reflect His life in our own, then we too will surely spread grace around us as Blessed Anna did, even without having her extraordinary gifts.

Blessed Anna Maria Taigi




2 thoughts on “Thoughts for June 9 from Fr Willie Doyle

  1. This post reminds me of an Irish Redemptorist friend of mine who died some years ago. He had a dry sense of humour and used to say that he prayed he wouldn’t die in the chapel – because no one would think of looking for him there!

    You raise a valid point about working people. St Patrick prayed ‘a 100 times a day and a 100 times a night, and that wasn’t in a chapel. St Teresa of Avila and St John of the Cross did a fair bit of travelling and would have been praying as they walked along the trails of Spain and not in their monasteries on those journeys. I sometimes use travelling time myself to pray, waiting in the airport or flying, in a bus. Indeed when I’m at home in Dublin I use the bus and train quite a bit and often find myself praying quietly for the people with me or those the bus passes by. And I often notice quiet acts of kindness on the bus.

    But one of the things I remember vividly from my childhood and teenage days was seeing many old people, including my grandfather, praying quietly in Holy Family Church, Aughrim St, and in other churches if I’d drop in for a visit on my way home from O’Connell’s School in the afternoon. During my recent visit home I saw many people make visits, sometimes with young children, to St Brigid’s in Blanchardstown. Quite a few, mostly retired, attend the two morning weekday Masses. Many pray in the Oratory at Blanchardstown Centre, where there is also daily Mass.

  2. Many thanks for this comment, and also for your example of praying for those around you when in public! This is a very noble act; we should all be lucky to travel with somebody who is praying for us in secret.

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