To be indifferent does not mean to desire things which are hard to nature, but a readiness and determination to embrace them when once the will of God is known. In this sense I think I am indifferent about going to the Congo. But I must force myself to be willing to accept the way of life which God seems to be leading me to and wants me to adopt. My God, I dread, it but “not my will but Thine”.
COMMENT: Fr Doyle, as a Jesuit was well schooled in the spiritual exercises. Indifference plays a big role in the teaching of St Ignatius. As the saint says in the first week of the spiritual exercises:
For this it is necessary to make ourselves indifferent to all created things in all that is allowed to the choice of our free will and is not prohibited to it; so that, on our part, we want not health rather than sickness, riches rather than poverty, honour rather than dishonour, long rather than short life, and so in all the rest; desiring and choosing only what is most conducive for us to the end for which we are created.
Fr Doyle did not want to live through the horrors of the Great War. He did not want to live a life of self-denial in both little and big things. It’s also clear from today’s quote that he did not want to be a missionary in the Congo (he offered but was refused by his superiors). But he gave himself to all of these things because he thought it was the will of God.
We should also take consolation from the fact that Fr Doyle dreaded being open to God’s will, rather than his own personal will. Even those who were very holy have their fears.
Today we also join with Pope Francis and millions of others in praying for peace, especially in Syria. Fr Doyle would certainly pray for peace today as well – he lived through the worst war in history up to that point. While it is true that World War 1 was the most horrific war up to that point, there are aspects of modern warfare that are even worse, including of course the existence of weapons of mass destruction that primarily punish innocent civilians. Let us pray for peace: not just a superficial peace, but a true peace, based on justice for all, especially the weakest in our society.