4 February 1916

Reading today of how Luisa de Carvajal made herself the slave of her two maids, the old desire for this kind of life sprang up again. What would I not give for someone to treat me in this way? I have asked Jesus to do it, to accept me as His slave. He seemed to say to me that I must carry out what He puts into my mind.

I am to kiss the floor every time I enter, leave or pass before the Tabernacle

I am not to ask remedies for small ailments, toothaches etc

Not to shrink from or relieve small pains

Absolute abandonment to God’s will in all things; to have no will or wish of my own

To ask Fr. B. to treat me like Luisa Carvajal

Every night to tell my Master how many aspirations I have gathered up.

COMMENT: Luisa de Carvajal was a Spanish noblewoman who moved to London during the Elizabethan persecutions, and who provided much help to the persecuted priests, especially Jesuits. She insisted that her own servants treat HER as s servant in order to acquire greater humility and to conquer her own self-will. 

Fr Doyle has a very strong temperament; he had temptations towards impatience and bad temper. Yet, it would appear that he very substantially conquered this temptation – so many testimonies about him speak of his gentleness and serenity. And here we find him, a year and half before his death, seeking to go to extraordinary lengths to devise methods that would help him conquer his self-will. He seems to have been ever-vigilant to conquer his faults, and was an extraordinary spiritual tactician.

Thoughts for February 4 from Fr Willie Doyle

I am glad you wrote to me for I, at least, can understand exactly what you are suffering; it is really a question of nerves, not of soul. You are run down like an old fiddlestring, hence you can get no sweet music out of yourself, try as you may. Now, my child, don’t be troubled or uneasy, imagining God is displeased with you or that you are abusing grace. For a little while give yourself all the rest, relaxation and indulgence you can; there is to be no penance, few spiritual duties, except Mass and Communion, and you are just to do like a little child whatever your superiors tell you, read story books, etc; rest and riot is to be your programme just now. When the old nerves get a bit settled, you will run ahead like a giant to sanctity. I am afraid you must make up your mind for fits of depression from time to time, but that, too, will pass when you become more your old self. I shall pray for you and I know you will do the same when you get good again, but not before!

COMMENT: Today’s quote comes from a letter that Fr Doyle wrote to somebody who was obviously run down and ill. Perhaps the person was suffering from anxiety or depression. Fr Doyle says that he can understand what this person is suffering; he suffered a nervous breakdown himself when he was a seminarian.

Today we once again see Fr Doyle’s great balance. His clear instruction for the sick person (probably a nun) is simply to rest and relax. This is, of course, the correct advice. But it is interesting that it comes from the man who gave himself no rest, who sought to go against his own will at every possible moment and who practised remarkable penances. Far from being over-zealous, Fr Doyle once again shows himself to possess a wonderful balance in his measured dealings with others.