Thoughts for May 21 from Fr Willie Doyle

A sharp tongue is the only edged tool that grows sharper with use.

COMMENT: How correct Fr Doyle’s assessment is! The more we criticise others, the more critical we can become ourselves. Like all vices, the more we engage in them, the easier and easier it becomes to keep engaging in them, and to grow worse over time. That is why big sins don’t normally arise out of thin air – they are normally preceded by smaller infidelities that weaken our resolve and undermine our spiritual lives. On the other hand, just like with exercise, the gradual pursuit of virtue strengthens us, and equips us for ever greater acts of virtue and charity. If our sins become “sharper” with use, then so too do our virtues. And that is precisely why Fr Doyle’s methodical pursuit of holiness is so important. It may seem old fashioned or pedantic, but it is the safe and sure path that the saints followed, and it is the path that Jesus Himself recommended when He told his disciples that those who are faithful in little things will also be faithful in greater things. 

In conclusion today, it is also worth remembering that Pope Francis has often spoken about sins of the tongue, and of our need to avoid gossip and rumours. In fact, Pope Francis, who loves pithy phrases, would surely love today’s quote from his fellow Jesuit Fr Doyle!

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