Thoughts for July 9 from Fr Willie Doyle

God wants you to suffer willingly. Many rebel and fight against what God gives them; many more take their cross in a resigned “can’t be helped spirit”; but very few look upon these things as real blessings and kiss the Hand that strikes them. 

COMMENT: Mystical experiences, miracles and harsh penances are often associated with the lives of the saints. But these are not the essence of holiness. They are not, for the vast majority of Christians, the normal path to Heaven. Instead, it is doing God’s will, and specifically joyful abandonment to God’s will when things don’t go the way we plan, that is one of the key signs of holiness. It is, of course, far easier said than done. 

St Ignatius continually emphasised “holy indifference” – an abandonment to God’s will, indifferent to our own. We all experience occasions when things aren’t the way we’d like – illness, bereavement, financial worries  – we all meet these “crosses” at different times on our journey through life. Fr Doyle himself suffered much – he experienced ill health throughout his life, and during his years in the war he abandoned himself completely to the dangers, dirt, cold, heat, tiredness and destruction he saw all around him, accepting all of this from the hands of a Father in Heaven who loved him and whom he loved in return. 

We will conclude today with some words from the great Doctor of the Church St Francis de Sales:

The everlasting God has in His wisdom foreseen from eternity the cross that He now presents to you as a gift from His inmost heart. This cross He now sends you He has considered with His all-knowing eyes, understood with His divine mind, tested with His wise justice, warmed with loving arms and weighed with His own hands to see that it be not one inch too large and not one ounce too heavy for you.

He has blessed it with His holy Name, anointed it with His consolation, taken one last glance at you and your courage, and then sent it to you from heaven, a special greeting from God to you, an alms of the all-merciful love of God. 

St Francis de Sales