The National Catholic Register has published a piece listing To Raise the Fallen as one of the top five inspiring books about “saints” this Christmas. Fr Doyle is with some superb company here, for the other 4 on the list are St Teresa of Calcutta, St John de Brebeuf, St Faustina and Dorothy Day. An august group indeed! This is important, as it shows that interest in Fr Doyle is growing and spreading.
Out of this list, I have the book about Dorothy Day but have not read it yet, but I have read the book about St John de Brebeuf, one of the North American Jesuit martyrs (both books are, coincidentally, also published by Ignatius Press). It’s worth noting for anyone who is squeamish about Fr Doyle’s life of hardship – he lived a life of relative ease compared to these Jesuit martyrs of North America: the hardships they voluntarily endured are almost unimaginable.
I want to be generous with God and to refuse Him nothing. I do not want to say, “I will go just so far and no farther.”
COMMENT: Today is the feast of St Maria Maravillas of Jesus, a Discalced Carmelite who died in 1974 and was canonised in 2003, making her canonisation one of the fastest in the Church. Despite this, she is unfortunately little known, and this is a great shame for she was a great saint and is a powerful intercessor.
St Maravillas was a latter-day Teresa of Avila, founding numerous Carmelite convents throughout Spain (and one in India) which adhere to strict enclosure and to the original rule of St Teresa. She was also sent to reform the famous convent of the Incarnation in Avila in the 1960’s, following in the footsteps of St Teresa herself who started her religious life in that convent and was herself sent there as a reformer in her later life. St Maravillas suffered much during the persecutions of the Church during the Spanish Civil War, coming close to death on some occasions. Let us not forget that there were over 7,000 Catholic martyrs from that persecution who were killed by the leftists and republicans (and sometimes tortured and raped, if they were nuns) for no other reason than the fact that they were Catholic.
The miracle accredited to her intercession as part of the canonisation process was quite extraordinary, and involved the immediate and complete recovery of an 18 month old boy who fell into a muddy pool and had stopped breathing. The account of this miracle is so extraordinary, I have included a full history of it here:St Maravillas miracle
St Maravillas, just like Fr Doyle and all of the saints, had great confidence and trust in God. One of the clear indicators of growth in holiness is a total abandonment to the will of God. Here are two quotes from St Maravillas that echo Fr Doyle’s quote for today.
Holiness is very simple: let yourself go confidently and lovingly into God’s arms, wanting and doing what you believe he wants.
Lord, when You want, how You want, what You want: this is the only thing that we want and desire.
Let us pray to St Maravillas and to Fr Doyle for an increase in our own trust in God.
Let us love silence and recollection. When we are at home with silence we are at home with God. Silence seems impossible to busy people. But “silence of the heart”, interior silence, is always possible.
COMMENT: We live in a noisy world. And that “noise” is made all the louder by the ever present reality of smartphones and social media. This is especially problematic for young people whose concentration spans are radically shortened by their ongoing exposure to the fast moving world of computers, games and social media.
But silence is necessary for us. It was in the stillness of a gentle breeze that Elijah encountered God on Horeb – it was not in the violent wind or in the fire or in the earthquake, but in the silence. And it was in the silence of a cave that the Saviour was born for us. As St Josemaria Escriva said:
Silence is the door-keeper of the interior life.
Advent should be a time for silence as we prepare for Christmas but so often today it is a time of noise and parties and excess. As Fr Doyle tells us, silence of the heart is always possible for us, but we have to make an effort. For those of us living in the middle of the world, the first step will be unplugging the TV, removing the headphones and turning off the smartphone…
He has been tugging at my heart for so many years, urging me in so many ways to give myself wholly to Him, to give all and refuse Him nothing. I dread lest now I shall again refuse Him – perhaps it is the last time He will ask me to do what He wants.
COMMENT: Perhaps this will be our last Advent. Perhaps some of us will not even live to see Christmas. Jesus is always tugging at our hearts, and waiting for us to repay His great love with our own small love. Advent is a time of great spiritual preparation. Let us not waste it.
I was interviewed a couple of weeks ago about Fr Doyle and To Raise the Fallen for the Live Hour programme on Archangel Radio in Alabama. This is one of a large number of recent radio interviews about Fr Doyle – I hope to post more links to recordings in the coming period.
This interview, which lasts about 17 minutes, was especially interesting as it focused a lot on Fr Doyle’s cause – the interviewer was really enthusiastic about Fr Doyle and the prospects of him being beatified. Many thanks to Todd and Mike for their enthusiasm and courtesy!
The video should kick in at the start of the interview, but if it doesn’t, the interview starts at about 4 minutes and 30 seconds into this video.
I believe that Our Lord is asking for victims who are willing to suffer much in reparation for sins, especially those of priests. I know some who go so far in their generosity as to do heroic penance, feeling asked it…I know the result has been wonderful grace and burning desire to suffer and always to suffer for Jesus’ love.
God delights to honour His saints by bestowing upon them special graces which mark them off from the rest of mankind. To one He gives a burning zeal for souls; to another the thirst for suffering and humiliation, but on Mary alone He bestowed the supreme privilege of freedom from the taint of sin.
From the first moment of her conception till she closed her eyes forever on this world, Mary was undefiled, unspotted by the least taint of sin. Never for an instant did the fierce and fiery burst of temptation ruffle the calm of her holy soul; for her the forbidden pleasures of this life, for which man will barter his priceless soul, had no false attraction. Sin might rage around her, hell might move its mighty depths, but nought could tarnish the spotless beauty of her who was to be the Mother of God.