Thoughts for April 17 from Fr Willie Doyle

I have just returned from a mission. Before going I made up my mind to give up for the week my mortifications at meals, partly through self-indulgence, partly to avoid singularity. I was very unhappy the whole time, Jesus reproaching me constantly for abandoning my life of crucifixion.

COMMENT: Fr Doyle wrote these words in April 1914. At this stage in his life, Fr Doyle was living a life of intense mortification. It is interesting to read that even one who was so advanced in the life of prayer and asceticism could yield to what he himself calls “self-indulgence”. The fact that self-indulgence could remain a temptation for Fr Doyle is surely something of a consolation for us. But it is also an important reminder that we shall always face temptations throughout our entire lives.

It is also interesting to read that Fr Doyle was unhappy with his self-indulgence (which we can be sure was of a very simple nature, and probably merely involved having butter on bread or maybe some dessert). Truly he had a very unique calling to the hard life, one we are not called to emulate. The serenity he felt – and transmitted to others – during the worst days of World War I is ample testament to this calling.

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