Thoughts for June 19 from Fr Willie Doyle

You need not fear whatever He may send you to bear, since His grace will come with it; but you should always try to keep in mind your offering, living up to the spirit of it. Hence endeavour to see the hand of God in everything that happens to you now; e.g. if you rise in the morning with a headache, thank Him for sending it, since a victim is one who must be immolated and crucified. Again, look upon all humiliations and crosses, failure and disappointment in your work, in a word, everything that is hard, as His seal upon your offering, and rouse yourself to bear all cheerfully and lovingly, remembering that you are to be His “suffering love”.

COMMENT: Fr Doyle refers here to the practice of some rare individuals who offer themselves as so-called “victim souls”, willing to accept great sufferings in reparation for the sins of mankind. This is a path he himself followed, and the Lord accepted his sacrifice as he endeavoured to save some wounded soldiers in August 1917.

For the rest of us who are not called to such a life of suffering, there is still much to learn from Fr Doyle today, especially with respect to “offering up” little problems, frustrations and pains to God. In some mysterious way that we cannot understand, these offerings enrich the entire Church. As St Paul says: “I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in my flesh, for his body, which is the Church” (Col. 1:24)

Seen in this way, the headaches of everyday life, borne with patience and fortitude, are an excellent source of grace and merit.

One thought on “Thoughts for June 19 from Fr Willie Doyle

  1. I expect Fr. Doyle thought this day 85 years ago that the previous few days had been “suffering love for Him.” On Monday 11th June 1917 Willie Doyle’s 8th Royal Dublin Fusiliers had marched out of Clare Camp near Locre bound for rest billets in the Merris area, on the road towards Hazebrouck. By Saturday 16th June the battalion were sufficiently organised, rested and refreshed to arrange a sports programme during the afternoon. This welcome break came to a sudden end when the battalion was ordered to back-track to Westoutre, just a mile and a half west of Locre. On Sunday morning 17th June the leading company moved off at 8.15am to march to their destination, the best part of seven miles measured in a straight line, but longer by road. The battalion arrived at 12.30 p.m., following, what the 8th Dubs war diary refers to as, “a warm march”‘ which saw five men fall out. This pressing return march had taken just four hours, compared to the leisurely two days during the outward journey. Willie’s letter of 24th June explains how this came about:
    “Then just as we were settling down to enjoy a well-earned repose, urgent orders reached us to return at once to the trenches. I shall not easily forget that day’s march (Sunday 17th.) The heat was terrific and the road long and hilly. The men ‘stuck it’ magnificently, in fact too much so, for several of them fainted from exhaustion and were fairly well done up by the time camp was reached.”
    Worse was to come. After cleaning up and preparing for bed, orders were received to return to their original billets in the Merris area! At 5.a.m. the following morning (18th June) the battalion paraded to march off, during the course of which seven men fell out of the line of the march. Willie explains:
    “That night at one a.m. word was received that the order was cancelled and that we were to return to the place we had come from! Someone had blundered, or perhaps it had dawned upon the minds of those in power that the endurance even of the Irish soldiers has a limit.”

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