Here is a link to a recent radio interview about Fr Doyle and To Raise the Fallen with Kyle Heimann on Redeemer Radio. Please watch and share so that more people can come to know Fr Doyle.
“I have called upon Thee in the day of my trouble” (Psalm 85. 7). Jesus is our comforter. What burden is there which He cannot lighten? What cross that He cannot make sweet? Be our troubles what they may, if only we will call on Jesus and implore His aid, we shall find our sufferings lessened and the rough ways smoothed for our bleeding feet.
COMMENT: Fr Doyle knew what he was talking about; he lived the reality of suffering in a way that few of us can ever realise. Whether we face only minor inconveniences and frustrations or major, life-altering problems, we will find help if we turn to Christ.
In one week we shall celebrate the birth of Christ. It was an incredible intervention in human history. God became man in order that we might be saved. Jesus has experienced poverty, pain, loneliness, betrayal, tiredness, hunger, temptation, and all for love of us.
As the Christmas holidays approach I have a little more time to chase down some recent radio recordings about Fr Doyle and To Raise the Fallen and share them online.
This is a link to an interview I did with Al Kresta for his radio programme. Fast forward to 5 minutes for the start of the interview; in total the interview lasted about 11 minutes.
A want of will is the chief obstacle to our becoming saints. We are not holy because we do not really wish to become so. We would indeed gladly possess the virtues of the saints – their humility and patience, their love of suffering, their penance and zeal. But we are unwilling to embrace all that goes to make a saint and to enter on the narrow path which leads to sanctity. A strong will, a resolute will, is needed; a will which is not to be broken by difficulties or turned aside by trifling obstacles; a determination to be a saint and not to faint and falter because the way seems long and hard and narrow. A big heart, a courageous heart, is needed for sanctification, to fight our worst enemy – our own self-love.
COMMENT: If one was to pick a handful of quotes that summed up Fr Doyle’s spirit and life, this would definitely be on that list. He is correct – we are not holy because we do not really want to be holy. We are all called to holiness – every single one of us. And we are actually all capable of it – the grace is there for us to be holy if we really want it. Our holiness doesn’t depend on the actions of others or on the circumstances in which we live – holiness is as readily available now as it was for our ancestors during the 16th century or the 1st century. It is as obtainable for the wealthy as it is for the poor. But that doesn’t make it easy. We have to make many sacrifices to correspond to the graces we have received. We can do this if we want to – moral and spiritual perfection is an option for everyone.
St Ignatius recognised this reality. While he recuperated from his battle wounds, he was stirred up while reading the lives of the saints. Reflecting on their heroism, he realised that these spiritual heroes were still flesh and blood like he, and that he too could follow in their footsteps.
Yes, we have to want to be holy. But thankfully our holiness does not depend entirely on us – if it did we would get nowhere. We rely on God’s free gift of grace to us to transform us and make us holy. The discipline comes into play in terms of truly corresponding to that grace and making the sacrifices that it demands. But the grace is there for us if we want it, here, now, in the 21st Century just as much as it was in the lives of any saint in history.
As Blessed Columba Marmion said:
Now let us remind ourselves that, in these our days, the Heart of Jesus is not less loving nor His arm less powerful. God is ready to shed His graces upon us…as abundant and as useful as those he shed upon the first Christians. He does not love us less than he loved them.
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.
I cannot say i am quite in love with camp life, which in many respects is quite repellent. But even in these disagreeable things there is a joy and secret pleasure, since it means all the more merit, and let us hope, a richer harvest if souls. My eyes have been opened still more to the awful godlessness of the world and the need, the immense need, there is for us who owe so much to our Blessed Lord to try and make up to Him for all this by greater love and generosity. It will never equal, I fear, the worldly generosity of these men. Fore example, this morning a regiment marched out of camp at 5am in torrents of rain merely for exercise. When they return tonight, they will dry their wet underclothing by sleeping in them.
On this day in 1917, Major General Hickie paid another tribute to Fr Doyle. Writing to his father, Hugh Doyle, General Hickie said:
I could not say too much about your son. He was loved and reverenced by us all; his gallantry, self-sacrifice, and devotion to duty were all so well known and recognised. I think that he was the most wonderful character that I have ever known.