Fr Doyle on Irish television – programme available online now

Fr Doyle featured in a programme on Irish television this evening. The section dealing with his life is about 6 minutes long, and features some comments from me and some footage from his family home in Dalkey, including an interview with the current owner. We also get to see an old toy soldier that was found under the floorboards of the nursery a few years ago. Fr Doyle and his brother Charlie loved playing with toy soldiers. Perhaps this was one of them? Perhaps the young Willie Doyle cried when the soldier got lost? We won’t ever know for sure.

A toy soldier found under the floorboards in Melrose. Perhaps this is one of the soldiers young Willie played with?
A toy soldier found under the floorboards in Melrose. Perhaps this is one of the soldiers young Willie played with?

The most interesting part of the programme was footage taken in the Jesuit archives. We get to see some artefacts or “relics” associated with Fr Doyle’s time in the trenches – altar linen he used for saying Mass,  a cushion he kneeled on, a bar of soap… We also get to see some of his private instruments of mortification, including his cilice, his discipline and the counting beads he used to count his daily sacrifices and penances.

The programme is available online for the next 21 days only. The relevant section commences at about 11 minutes into the programme and lasts for about 6 minutes. You will have to watch a few minutes of advertisements before the programme appears. I assume that viewers outside Ireland will also have access to this programme, but I have no way of testing that right now…

The link to the programme is here: http://www.rte.ie/player/ie/show/10350147/ 

Thoughts for the First Sunday of Advent from Fr Willie Doyle

The saints had ever a childlike confidence and trust in God. Upon Him they cast all their anxieties and cares, under His powerful protection they sheltered themselves, and with His almighty help they were ever strong. They lived in the present day alone, striving to bear with cheerful hearts the burden of the moment; the morrow’s work would bring its stream of graces to help them on their journey.

COMMENT: Today we start the Church’s new year, and we start on our journey of preparation for Christmas. The importance of Advent is often forgotten in the West. Often it is seen as period of merriment and shopping and of Christmas parties. And when Christmas finally arrives, the consumer culture quickly turns off the lights and turns its attention towards the secular new year and the January sales…

Advent is a time of spiritual preparation for Christmas, and we should attempt to live it with the same enthusiasm with which we attempt to live Lent.

As St Josemaria Escriva wrote:

Advent is here. What a marvellous time in which to renew your desire, your nostalgia, your real longing for Christ to come — for him to come every day to your soul in the Eucharist. The Church encourages us: Ecce veniet! — He is about to arrive!

Let us then have the childlike confidence and trust in God to which Fr Doyle exhorts us today. We can count on many graces to help us over the coming weeks as we prepare to encounter the baby Jesus, born in poverty in a broken world, all for love of us.

Reminder – Fr Doyle on Irish television tomorrow

Spirit Level, a programme on RTE 1 television (in Ireland) has a programme tomorrow on Just War. As part of this programme, there will be small segment on Fr Doyle and his life as a chaplain in World War 1. I was interviewed for the programme, and some filming was also done in the Irish Jesuit archives, as well as at Fr Doyle’s family home in Dalkey.

I don’t know what will make the final edit – we will just have to wait and see.

Irish readers may want to watch the programme at 17.05 on Sunday evening. I will also post the link to the programme after it has aired.

Thoughts for November 28 from Fr Willie Doyle

Try to take your days one by one as they come to you. The hard things of yesterday are past, and you are not asked to bear what to-morrow may have in store; so that the cross is really light when you take it bit by bit.

COMMENTS: What sane advice from a man who knew a thing or two about hardship! Often we multiply our hardship when we think about ongoing future problems. When we are sick we tend not to be able to imagine what it would be like to be well again or to have our energy back. When we face economic deprivation we tend to imagine that we will not see happier days.

Fr Doyle’s words today should give comfort to all those who suffer in any way. Let us follow his advice to live life bit by bit. We are not now asked to carry tomorrow’s burden. That burden may even be lighter than we think when it arrives. And when tomorrow’s burden arrives, today’s burden will have passed already.

Let us carry our cross day by day and bit by bit, consoled by the fact that we are never abandoned by our loving God.

Fr Doyle on RTE television this Sunday, November 30

Spirit Level, a programme on RTE 1 television (in Ireland) has a programme this coming Sunday on Just War. As part of this programme, there will be small segment on Fr Doyle and his life as a chaplain in World War 1. I was interviewed for the programme, and some filing was also done in the Irish Jesuit archives, as well as at Fr Doyle’s family home in Dalkey.

I don’t know what will make the final edit – we will just have to wait and see.

Irish readers may want to watch the programme at 17.05 on Sunday evening. I will also post the link to the programme after it has aired.

Thoughts for November 27 (Thanksgiving) from Fr Willie Doyle

Thanks a million times, dearest Jesus, for all Your goodness. I will love and serve You now till death.

COMMENT: We sometimes refer in passing to events in Ireland on this blog. But there are many readers of this site from outside Ireland. Today in particular we think of our American friends who celebrate Thanksgiving today.

Even those who face troubles and woes of various types have much to be thankful for. The Lord has given us life and faith and many other blessings and graces all throughout our lives. He has protected us from problems and difficulties that we may not even be aware of. Most importantly of all, He desires union with us for eternity and designs all things to this end. We just need to co-operate with His plan and rely on His grace.

Let us be thankful for everything, for all we have comes to us as a gift from our Father.

Thoughts for November 26 from Fr Willie Doyle

St Francis Xavier
St Francis Xavier

Vince teipsum (Conquer yourself). This is the secret of the Exercises. “I learnt no other lesson from my master Ignatius,” said St. Francis Xavier, referring to his first retreat at Paris. Here we all fail – good men, zealous men, holy men. Prayer is easy, works of zeal attractive; but going against self, till grace and perseverance give facility, is cruel work, a hard battle.

COMMENT: How important is this process of self-conquest. There is no holiness without it. The lives of the saints make this quite clear for all to see.

But we should take heart. Fr Doyle affirms that it is hard and that all fail in this battle to some degree or other. It is consoling that such a master tactician of the spiritual life recognises within himself the tendency to fail in this battle against self. But as Fr Doyle promises, if we persevere we will obtain the grace we need to make the way a little easier.