I will strive ever to perform each action as perfectly as possible, paying special attention to small duties e.g. saying grace, odd Hail Marys, etc. It seems to me God is asking this particularly from me, and by this means I am to find the chief road to sanctity.
COMMENT: As Fr Doyle tells us today, the chief road to sanctity for all of us is found through the careful performance of our daily duties. Perhaps, like Fr Doyle, some people are called to extraordinary things, but for most of us holiness will be entirely found within our ordinary life.
Does this mean that we are not called to be great saints, and can instead live a life of mediocrity? Not at all! Jesus tell us that we should strive to be perfect as the Heavenly Father is perfect. Far from a life of mediocrity, this is a life of great holiness. Anyone with a busy job or with a family or other commitments knows just how difficult it is to perform all of our duties as perfectly as possible.
The secret is to inject all of our actions with love. The value of our actions lies in love. Thus, simple household duties performed with love are of greater value than heroic deeds performed with lukewarmness.
St Francis de Sales tells us:
A very small virtue may be of greater value in a soul where divine love fervently reigns, than martyrdom itself in a soul where love is languishing, feeble, and dull.
Fr Doyle lived this simple life for many years prior to his heroism in the trenches. Without his simple daily faithfulness it is doubtful that he would have been capable of the heroism he displayed during the war.
Today is the feast of Blessed Anna Maria Taigi, though it is not celebrated liturgically as it is a Sunday. She was one of the most remarkable lay mystics in the history of the Church. Despite being favoured with many extraordinary mystical gifts, and consulted by bishops, popes and even other saints, she kept her feet on the ground, and lived the life of a busy mother in Rome in the 1800′s. In fact, she was so focused on properly fulfilling her duties that she was known to ask God to stop favouring her with ecstacies and other spiritual gifts so that she would not be distracted from her work! There is a worthwhile overview of Blessed Anna Maria Taigi’s life here: http://www.magnificat.ca/cal/engl/06-09.htm