Thoughts for June 18 from Fr Willie Doyle

So, the International Eucharistic Congress has now ended, and it remains for us to reap the fruits of the event, and especially to unpack the message of Pope Benedict at the closing of the Congress. The days of the Congress were so busy that I failed in my attempts to post something relevant to the Congress (or indeed to post anything at all!) for most of the week. Never mind, we can start normal business again from today.

Today’s quote from Fr Doyle is actually very relevant to what Pope Benedict said about personal attachment to Christ in his speech yesterday.

A great desire to know our Lord better, His attractive character, His personal love for me, the resolve to read the life of Christ and study the Gospels.

I feel also a longing to love Jesus passionately, to try my very best to please Him, and to do all I think will please Him. I see nothing will be dearer to Him than my sanctification, chiefly attained by the perfection with which I perform even the smallest action. “All for love of Jesus.”

The reason, said Fr. Petit, why we find life so hard, mortification difficult, and why we are inclined to avoid all that we dislike, is because we have no real love for Jesus.

COMMENT: Venerable Adolphus Petit was Fr Doyle’s spiritual director during his year of tertianship, the final year of formation for Jesuits before they take their final vows. He had a great respect for Fr Doyle – he is yet another “saint” who approved of Fr Doyle’s spirit and life. Here is Fr Doyle’s description of him:

There is a wonderful little old priest here, named Fr. Petit, small in name and small in size – he is about three feet high. He is eighty-five, but as active as a man of thirty, being constantly away giving retreats. I have tried several times to get down to the chapel at four o’ clock in the morning before him, but he is always there when I come in. He is a dear saintly old man with wonderful faith and simplicity. In the middle of an exhortation in the chapel, he will turn round to the Tabernacle and say: Is not that true, my Jesus? He is giving a retreat here this moment to a hundred and ten gentlemen.

Once again, there is much that one can reflect on here. The last line is key: we find life so hard, mortification difficult, and…we are inclined to avoid all that we dislike…because we have no real love for Jesus.

Most people have family and/or friends that they love in life, and are generally willing to make great, even heroic efforts, to serve them because of this love. Can the same be said about our service of Christ?

Venerable Adolphus Petit