Thoughts for December 16 from Fr Willie Doyle

Avoid worry, anxiety, uneasiness about anything. “The devil’s boiling pot” expresses this state of mind; one trouble ended, another crops up to take its place; the soul never at rest; there is no peace, no calm, and also no real holiness.

COMMENT: The saints always tended to be at peace, even in the midst of very real turmoil and suffering. Consider the martyrs like St Thomas More and St Laurence who joked with their executioners at the time of their death; or saints like Jeanne Jugan, Gerard Majella or John of the Cross who kept their tranquillity and calm in the midst of persecution and false accusations; or the calm acceptance of sickness of St Gemma Galgani or Blessed Chiara Badano; or the willing embrace of real, grinding poverty of St Bernadette or St Benedict Joseph Labre; or the spiritual balance and equilibrium of St Therese of Lisieux or St Teresa of Calcutta who suffered through complete spiritual blackness. Those who trust in God and abandon themselves to His will have great serenity despite their real pains, for they know that God always wants what is best for us, even if it involves temporarily travelling by the road of suffering.

Fr Doyle himself lived with serenity in the midst of some truly anxious circumstances. But this was not always the case. During his years as a Jesuit novice he suffered from a nervous collapse as a result of being involved in a fire. At other moments he describes his real fears as he waited for shells to fall on him while simultaneously trusting in God. Fr Doyle’s life shows us that, even if one has a history of worry or anxiety, it is still always possible to achieve peace of mind and rest securely in God’s Providence.

St Laurence, who joked “turn me over, I’m done on this side” while being burned

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