Thoughts for September 16 from Fr Willie Doyle

Our Blessed Lord loves me, with all my faults and failings, and has marked me out for the special graces which will make me a saint, a big one if I like.

COMMENT: “If I like”…What telling words from Fr Doyle today. God loves us, and He wants us to imitate Him more closely. But he will not force us. We are called to be saints and to co-operate with His will for us. But we have to want to do so. God will not force us – He will not make us holy against our will. We must co-operate.

Perhaps we, too, can learn from this. Even though He wants us to be better, God does not force us to become saints. Similarly, we cannot force others to believe or to practice their faith. Fr Doyle knew this and always approached others with gentleness and kindness, despite his burning zeal for their salvation. He did not force or condemn. May we learn from his example.

Thoughts for the Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows from Fr Willie Doyle

To sensitive souls the pain they cause others is far worse than any sufferings they may endure themselves. They may have much to endure, but to see others in pain causes them deeper grief. Jesus and Mary meet. Alone He could have suffered with joy so that she, His dearest Mother, might have been spared the agony of seeing all He must endure. With one look of pity Jesus reads the anguish of that cruelly lacerated heart; with one long gaze of infinite love and pity Mary sees the depth of her Son’s woe, His long hours of torture, His utter weariness, His sorrow, His grief, His anguish. May she not help Him? At least lift for one moment that cross?

COMMENT: Mary longed to help Jesus with His cross. So too she wants to help us, and will obtain for us the graces we need to assist us with our difficulties.

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. This event is on TODAY 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.

Thoughts for the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross from Fr Willie Doyle

Upon the cross He hangs now, the most abject and despised of all men, the butt for vile jests, a common mark for all to hurl their jibes at. There He hangs, in agony no human lips can tell, no mind conceive, an impostor, a vile hypocrite, a failure.

Come, sinner, gaze upon your work for you have nailed Him there!

COMMENT: On this, the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross, we remember how the instrument of torture on which Christ was abused and insulted, was also the sign of His victory over sin and death.

Let us also remember to pray for the Church around the world, but especially in Ireland. Unfortunately many wish to subject the Church to vile jests and jibes, just as Christ Himself was tormented. Let us pray for grace to touch their hearts, but also very especially that the internal corruption that has occasioned these jibes will be eradicated once and for all.

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.

Thoughts for September 13 from Fr Willie Doyle

I realise in a way I never did before that God created me for His service, that He has a strict right that I should serve Him perfectly, and that every moment of my life is His and given to me for the one end of praising and serving Him. I recall with horror how often I have wandered from this my end, what an appalling amount of time I have wasted, and how few of my actions were done for God or worthy of being offered to Him. I see what I should have been and what I am. But the thought of Jesus waiting and eagerly looking out for me, the prodigal, during fifteen years, has filled me with hope and confidence and new resolve to turn to my dearest Jesus and give Him all He asks.

I have begun to try to perform each little action with great fervour and exactness, having as my aim to get back the fervour of my first year’s novitiate.

COMMENT: In today’s comments Fr Doyle touches on one of the fundamental facts of life: we are made to know, love and serve God. St Ignatius expresses it this way in the Spiritual Exercises:

Man is created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord, and by this means to save his soul.

And the other things on the face of the earth are created for man and that they may help him in prosecuting the end for which he is created.

St Ignatius Loyola

St Josemaria Escriva put it slightly differently:

Our Lord has given us as a present our very lives, our senses, our faculties, and countless graces. We have no right to forget that each of us is a worker.

St Josemaria Escriva

Once we see this fact, everything changes. For Fr Doyle, recognising this had a profound effect, unleashing all of his efforts towards loving God and those around him.

But as has been said before on this site, recognising this doesn’t mean that we have to necessarily undertake dangerous missions or become a military chaplain. As Fr Doyle put it:

I have begun to try to perform each little action with great fervour and exactness.

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.

Thoughts for September 12 from Fr Willie Doyle

If I do not begin to serve God as I ought now, when shall I do so? Shall I ever? This retreat is a time of special grace, and if my cooperation is wanting, Jesus may pass by and not return. The devil has made me put off my thorough conversion for seventeen years, making me content myself with the resolution of “later on really beginning in earnest and becoming a saint”. What might not have been done in that time!

COMMENT: These notes were taken in 1907 during the 30-day spiritual exercises which had such a deep and long lasting impact on Fr Doyle.

Fr Doyle had a deep insight into the human condition, into his own condition. He recognised the tendency we all have to postpone our reform, to imagine that some future time will allow us to serve God better and that in some other mythical future we will set about the task of becoming saints.

But as the Imitation of Christ says:

The place avails little, if the spirit of fervour be wanting…if you do not establish yourself in Me, you can change dwelling, but you will not better yourself

The reality is that the time to set about our conversion is now and the place is here. We should not rely on some future ideal state that really will never occur.

As for the lost time, well, Fr Doyle certainly made up for that! So too did St Teresa of Avila, who only definitively placed herself on the right path after many years of religious life. She had received many graces in her early life, but even after receiving these graces she gave up prayer altogether for a full year. Here is her prayer to redeem lost time:

O my God! Source of all mercy! I acknowledge Your sovereign power. While recalling the wasted years that are past, I believe that You, Lord, can in an instant turn this loss to gain. Miserable as I am, yet I firmly believe that You can do all things. Please restore to me the time lost, giving me Your grace, both now and in the future, that I may appear before You in “wedding garments.”

St Teresa of Avila

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.

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.

Thoughts for September 10 from Fr Willie Doyle

It seems to me the best and most practical resolution I can make in this retreat is to determine to perform each action with the greatest perfection. This will mean a constant “going against self,” ever agendo contra, at every moment and every single day. I have a vast field to cover in my ordinary daily actions, e.g. to say the Angelus always with the utmost attention and fervour. I feel, too, that Jesus asks this from me, as without it there can be no real holiness.

COMMENT: Today we see the wonderful practicality of Fr Doyle. It is this down to earth realism, typical of many of the canonised saints, that makes Fr Doyle such a great role model. Yes, Fr Doyle did extraordinary things in his life, but we must not let these remarkable feats obscure the fact that his spirituality was focussed on little things, and on doing them well.

This is something that we can all copy. Indeed, this is something that we must copy, for as Fr Doyle himself says, without striving to do our daily duties well, there is no real holiness.

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.