23 December 1916

I was very much annoyed because someone burnt the floor of my dug-out and also on finding my candles had been taken. On arriving at Locre I found a second bed in my room and heard that X was coming. This upset and worried me terribly till I realised that all these things were God’s doing and that He wished to annihilate my will, so that I should never feel even the smallest interior disturbance no matter what might happen. I have secretly given permission to everyone to treat me as he wishes and to trample on me; why then should I not try and live up to this life?

COMMENT: Fr Doyle, like all of us, experienced many temptations. His particular defect seems to have been that he was somewhat highly strung – he had a strong will and a short temper. We all have some defects; it is not a sign of evil on our part, but rather a core dimension of our human condition after the fall. In some respects we could not be holy if we didn’t have defects of this nature, as it is these defects that exercise us in the struggle for holiness. They are, in a sense, like the thorn in the flesh described by St Paul – our journey to holiness necessitates that we overcome them to some degree, or at least that we constantly battle against them.

Fr Doyle fought against his defects, and we see here one of these battles – some inconveniences that generated annoyance that was soon mastered and overcome, with the help of God’s grace. 


Thoughts for December 23 from Fr Willie Doyle

Don’t lose sight of this principle, that true holiness is based on humility.

COMMENT: There is only one place in the Gospel where Jesus speaks about His own character, and urges us to follow it. In the 11th Chapter of St Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus tells us:

Learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart.

Everything about this time of the year speaks of the humility and meekness of Christ. Being born of the unknown and humble virgin Mary. Being born while on a journey, with all of its inconveniences. Not even being born in an inn, but in a stable, surrounded by animals and all of the noises and smells that go with it. One of the most extraordinary moments of history – God being born as a helpless baby – goes unnoticed by the world. Christ is born in humility, He will live in humility and He will die in humility.

May we learn from the examples of Jesus, Mary and Joseph how to live with greater humility and simplicity of heart.