20 October 1915

Feeling very unwell for the past few days, I gave way to self indulgence in food and sleep. Jesus has made it very clear to me that this has not pleased Him: “I have sent you this suffering that you may suffer more, not that you should try to avoid it”. He made me put on the chain again and promise Him, as long as I can hold out, not to take extra sleep etc. Great peace and contentment is the result.

COMMENT: This diary entry, written on this day in 1915, might seem a little strange. The first thing to remember is that Fr Doyle was something of a mystic, and he understood himself to be in a constant dialogue with the Lord. He had a sense that God often spoke to him in his soul; his diaries record several locutions wherein he perceived God to be speaking directly to him. Such experiences are not rare in the lives of the saints. 

We find the idea of welcoming suffering to be strange today, and in particular the idea that God may want us, in some circumstances, to suffer. But saints and mystics frequently wrote about their calling as “victims” of reparation for sin. As St Paul says, we make up in out lives what is lacking in the sufferings of Christ. In other words, by our suffering we join ourselves to the Passion of Christ and obtain many graces for others. To take just one example, St Faustina records in her diary how spiritually valuable suffering can be, and says that we will only realise its value when we die, at which point it will be too late and we will no longer be able to obtain merit for our sufferings.

Perhaps one lesson the rest of us can draw from Fr Doyle’s quote today is that when sufferings come – and it’s inevitable that they will come to us sometimes, if not in fact everyday – we should offer them to the Lord, and see to gain spiritually from the experience. We can can legitimately seek to reduce our sufferings, especially during illnesses etc, it is often those who accept them who have the peace and contentment that Fr Doyle speaks of today.   

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