25 September 1916

I was very much annoyed because 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 to live up to this life?

COMMENT: Fr Doyle had a strong will, and with a strong will often comes a quick temper. We see here various situations which interiorly annoyed Fr Doyle but which he also used as a way of growing in virtue. There is every indication from Fr Doyle’s private notes and the testimony of those who knew him that, with the help of God, he more than conquered his annoyances and temper. We, too, can do the same if we learn to see every moment as an opportunity to grow in virtue. 

Thoughts for September 25 from Fr Willie Doyle

I have noticed that every time I have indulged myself, my appetite especially, for no matter what reason, I have always had remorse and felt unhappy; but that each generous victory, every additional act of penance, has been followed by peace of soul and contentment.

COMMENT: Fr Doyle wrote these words in his diary on this day in 1913 – 107 years ago today.

These words are probably counter-intuitive for us. Most of us in the modern world have bought into the idea that life is about maximising our pleasure and getting as much “stuff” as we possibly can. Yet, so often this approach to life leaves us unsatisfied. 

Fr Doyle – and indeed all of the saints – had a different philosophy. They believed that happiness and peace came from detachment, and from a radical love of God and neighbour. An essential part of developing this detachment is penance and mortification.

Perhaps our lesson today is that it wouldn’t hurt us much to say “no” to ourselves from time to time, and that it would probably make those around us a bit happier as well.