26 October 1916: Fr Doyle continues his battle against his dominant defect

I am slowly learning the lesson Jesus brought me out here to teach me. The first and greatest is that I must have no will of my own, only His, and this in all things. It is hard to let everyone walk on you, even your own servant; But Jesus asks this and I try to let him arrange all as He pleases. Result: yesterday I got no dinner, though I foresaw this would be the consequences of this planning.

COMMENT: One of Fr Doyle’s defects was his strong self-will. A strong will is, of course, a strength and a positive advantage. It is hard to achieve success in any endeavour, including in the spiritual life, without it. But like every strength there can be a negative side to the coin – those with a strong will can tend towards impatience with others. Fr Doyle fought this personal impatience throughout his life, and we see here one tactic that he used – he allowed himself to become a “slave” of his own servant (as a chaplain Fr Doyle had the rank of captain in the army, and as a result he had a servant, or orderly, to assist him with his material needs). Fr Doyle suffered much at the hands of this orderly, but he did so with calm and patience despite much provocation.

Thoughts for October 26 from Fr Willie Doyle

What account shall I give of this resolution when I stand before my God for judgement?

PRACTICE OF THE THIRD DEGREE.

I. Accepto. I will receive with joy all unpleasant things which I must bear: (a) pain, sickness, heat, cold, food; (b) house, employment, rules, customs; (c) trials of religious life, companions; (d) reprimands, humiliations; (e) anything which is a cross.

II. Volo et Desidero. I will wish and desire that these things may happen to me, that so I may resemble my Jesus more.

III. Eligo. With all my might I will strive every day agere contra in omnibus (to act against myself in all things): (a) against my faults; (b) against my own will; (c) against my ease and comfort; (d) against the desires of the body; (e) against my habit and inclination of performing my duties negligently and without fervour.

COMMENT: Today’s quote from Fr Doyle refers to his tactics for living the Third Degree of Humility. It clearly shows us that sanctity comes about through hard work and God’s grace; the saints were not just born that way. For Fr Doyle, reaching the Third Degree meant that he would accept and desire unpleasant things and act against his own inclinations in a variety of ways. Who amongst us would not benefit from adopting this approach to life? If real hardships are imposed on us, through wars, financial turmoil or other misfortunes, how much better prepared is the person who has learned to act against their own desires and inclinations even in little things.

And if all of this seems too much, remember that Fr Doyle had already been a faithful and zealous Jesuit for almost two decades when he wrote these words -he would seem to have been very far advanced in his spiritual life. Let us begin where we can and trust in the Lord to help us along the way.