Thoughts for September 11 from Fr Willie Doyle

Blessed Charles Spinola

My intense desire and longing is to make others love Jesus and to draw them to His Sacred Heart. Recently at Mass I have found myself at the Dominus Vobiscum opening my arms wide with the intention of embracing every soul present and drawing them in spite of themselves into that Heart which longs for their love. “Compel them to come in,” Jesus said. Yes, compel them to dive into that abyss of love. Sometimes, I might say nearly always, when speaking to people I am seized with an extraordinary desire to draw their hearts to God. I could go down on my knees before them and beg them to be pure and holy, so strong do I feel the longing of Jesus for sanctity in everyone, and since I may not do this, I try to do what I find hard to describe in words: to pour out of my heart any grace or love of God there may be in it, and then with all the force of my will to draw their hearts into that of Jesus.

COMMENT: It is true that Fr Doyle had a great zeal for souls. It was this zeal that compelled him to travel around Ireland (and occasionally in Scotland and England) preaching missions and giving retreats. It was this zeal which compelled him to try to establish a retreat house for laypeople in the face of opposition from those who did not see the point of laypeople doing retreats. It was this zeal which compelled him to volunteer for the missions in Congo, even though his offer was not accepted by his superiors. It was this zeal which compelled him to volunteer as a military chaplain and to face death time after time as he rushed into danger to anoint a fallen soldier. And it was this zeal which made him resolve to volunteer to work in leper colony if he survived the war.

Today is the feast of Blessed Charles Spinola, an Italian Jesuit saint whose zeal compelled him to leave the comfortable life of a 16th Century noble and volunteer for the missions in Japan. It took him three years to get there, and after working for 18 years, he was imprisoned in a cage for four years, tortured and finally burned to death.

We are unlikely to be called to such remarkable acts, but we are still called to heroism amongst the daily tasks of each day.

Reminder

Across the Divide: An Irish Padre of the Great War: Fr. William Doyle, S.J., M.C., Chaplain to the Forces 1915-1917 a talk on Fr Doyle’s military career by Carole Hope on this coming Saturday 15th September in the Lecture Theatre in Collins Barracks, Dublin. Doors open at 2pm and the talk commences at 2.30pm. The talk is hosted by the Western Front Association, and there is a small fee of €3 to cover costs. This talk will cover Fr Doyle’s military career. Carole is completing a new biography of Fr Doyle, and has a particular interest in his service during World War I. She has uncovered many fascinating details of Fr Doyle’s life as a military chaplain that weren’t previously in the public domain. The talk promises to be a most informative and interesting event.