Thoughts for April 13 from Fr Willie Doyle

Kneeling at the altar steps, Jesus told me to devote one day of each week to the work of sanctification and reparation for His priests in each part of the world, e.g. Monday for the priests of Europe, etc.

COMMENT: Fr Doyle wrote these words in his diary on April 12 1917 (we didn’t cover this yesterday as it was the feast of Divine Mercy. Today’s quote ties nicely with the thoughts we examined on Saturday (Feast of St Gemma) relating to Fr Doyle’s dedication to priestly holiness and to reparation for the sins of priests. He not only offered his prayers, but his very considerable daily sufferings – remember that in 1917 he was living through awful scenes of death in World War I on a regular basis, he was frequently in danger of death himself and indeed he had only 4 months of life left. We also see in this quote the universal nature of Fr Doyle’s concerns – he felt that he was called to work for the sanctification of all priests, not just Jesuits or not just Irish priests.

One note in relation to Fr Doyle’s phrase “Jesus told me…”. The reality is that Fr Doyle was a mystic. This is clear from his diaries and letters. This may have involved some form of locution, or else just a simple sense of inspiration. In any event, it is clear that Fr Doyle did feel that he received heavenly inspirations and that his directors seem not to have disagreed with him on this point. Indeed, as the famous French Jesuit spiritual writer Fr de Grandmaison once declared

We must unhesitatingly say that the life of Fr Doyle was that of a great mystic, as indeed it seems to have been that of a saint.

One final concluding through for today… It seems that Fr Doyle was not the only one to dedicate his prayers and work for a different intention each day of the week. Blessed Columba Marmion offered each day of the week as follows:

Monday: Souls in Purgatory

Tuesday: Order of St Benedict

Wednesday: Relations and those to whom I am under any obligation

Thursday: Sovereign Pontiff, bishops, clergy, religious Orders

Friday: Missionaries, sinners, heretics, infidels

Saturday: Spiritual children

Sunday: Abbot, Community, my own perfection

Perhaps there is something that we can learn from this for our own lives. We all face challenges each day – our duties and work, as well as inconveniences, weaknesses and illnesses common to all of humanity. We can choose to waste these, or else to “offer them up”. To use St Paul’s phrase, in some mysterious way we can make up for whatever is lacking in the suffering of Christ. Let us not waste these precious opportunities for merit. 

Blessed Columba Marmion
Blessed Columba Marmion