Don’t let the devil spoil the work by making you fret and worry.
COMMENT: This line from Fr Doyle is taken from a much longer letter of spiritual direction, the specifics of which are unlikely to be relevant to many of the readers of this website.
But this line, about the father of lies, and his capacity to make us worry, is relevant for us all…
One of the characteristics of the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives is peace and serenity. On the other hand, one of the traits of the enemy is worry and anxiety.
All of the saints faced worries and anxieties. Many were founders who faced financial worries. Many saints faced false accusations of scandal. Then there were those who underwent a severe trial of faith, experiencing a profound dark night of the soul. Then we have those “victim souls” who suffered intense illness and abandonment. Other saints had to separate themselves from friends and family in the process of entering religious life, or going away to the missions, or even converting to Catholicism. And of course there were the martyrs, who faced torture and horrific death.
One thing that characterises the saints throughout their trials is serenity. They had the peace that the world cannot give; they refused to give in to the temptation to fret and worry. We see this same tranquility and cheerfulness in Fr Doyle’s letters home to his father from the Front. It is hard to believe that bombs and gas attacks were being unleashed around one who was so happy and concerned for others.
As Fr Doyle wrote on another occasion:
Worries? Of course; and thank God. How else are you going to bed a saint.
We who live in a relatively comfortable age – which is paradoxically marked by much anxiety and stress – have much to learn from the example of the saints.