12 April 1917

Kneeling on 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: Today’s quote was written in Fr Doyle’s diary on this day in 1917.

Fr Doyle was something of a mystic. Again and again he reports in his diaries the messages he felt he received in prayer. These messages were private and normally referred to his own spiritual life. It is not up to us to judge the authenticity of such private messages, though we should recall that prayer is not a monologue in which we rattle off words in God’s direction, but rather an intimate conversation with our Father. A conversation implies a two way flow of communication, and this communication can of course take the form of locutions from time to time. 

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.

Today’s words carry on the theme of yesterday’s commentary on Fr Doyle’s care for priests and their sanctification. Without priests the Church withers and suffers. Saying this does not undermine the serious call to holiness of lay people. But how can lay people grow in holiness without ready access to the nourishment of the sacraments and the formation that comes from holy priests? I am reminded of St John Vianney who, while trying to find the way to Ars on his first journey there, asked a local boy, and remarked that, while the boy had shown the priest the way to Ars, the priest would show the boy the way to Heaven. This is how it should be. But sadly we know far too many stories about priests who have not done this, and who have scandalised there world instead. 

Today’s quote also shows us 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 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
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