Thoughts for February 4 from Fr Willie Doyle

I am glad you wrote to me for I, at least, can understand exactly what you are suffering; it is really a question of nerves, not of soul. You are run down like an old fiddlestring, hence you can get no sweet music out of yourself, try as you may. Now, my child, don’t be troubled or uneasy, imagining God is displeased with you or that you are abusing grace. For a little while give yourself all the rest, relaxation and indulgence you can; there is to be no penance, few spiritual duties, except Mass and Communion, and you are just to do like a little child whatever your superiors tell you, read story books, etc; rest and riot is to be your programme just now. When the old nerves get a bit settled, you will run ahead like a giant to sanctity. I am afraid you must make up your mind for fits of depression from time to time, but that, too, will pass when you become more your old self. I shall pray for you and I know you will do the same when you get good again, but not before!

COMMENT: Today’s quote comes from a letter that Fr Doyle wrote to somebody who was obviously run down and ill. Perhaps the person was suffering from anxiety or depression. Fr Doyle says that he can understand what this person is suffering; he suffered a nervous breakdown himself when he was a seminarian.

Today we once again see Fr Doyle’s great balance. His clear instruction for the sick person (probably a nun) is simply to rest and relax. This is, of course, the correct advice. But it is interesting that it comes from the man who gave himself no rest, who sought to go against his own will at every possible moment and who practiced remarkable penances. Far from being over-zealous, Fr Doyle once again shows himself to possess a wonderful balance in his measured dealings with others.