Thoughts for August 13 from Fr Willie Doyle

While praying for light to know what God wants from me in the matter of mortifying my appetite, a voice seemed to say: “There are other things besides food in which you can be generous with Me, other hard things which I want you to do.” I thought of all the secret self-denial contained in constant hard work, not giving up when a bit tired, not yielding to desire for sleep, not running off to bed if a bit unwell, bearing little sufferings without relief, cold and heat without complaint, and, above all, the constant never-ending mortification to do each action perfectly. This light has given me a good deal of consolation, for I see I can do much for Jesus that is hard without being singular or departing from common life.

COMMENT: Despite his joyfulness, there is no doubt that Fr Doyle lived an austere life. It is true that he performed some remarkable penances from time to time. But to focus only on these singularities is to miss the wonderful simplicity of Fr Doyle’s example for us.

We can see this simplicity in his message today. For most lay people, penance does not mean hairshirts and disciplines and extraordinary things, but rather willingly accepting the burdens of each day. The penance of getting up out of bed on time, or of not complaining if we have a headache, or as Fr Doyle describes it “the constant never-ending mortification to do each action perfectly” presents a simple, but extremely challenging road for all of us.

This is reminiscent of some words of Saint John Henry Newman:

It is the saying of holy men that, if we wish to be perfect, we have nothing more to do than to perform the ordinary duties of the day well. A short road to perfection—short, not because easy, but because pertinent and intelligible. There are no short ways to perfection, but there are sure ones.

I think this is an instruction which may be of great practical use to persons like ourselves. It is easy to have vague ideas what perfection is, which serve well enough to talk about, when we do not intend to aim at it; but as soon as a person really desires and sets about seeking it himself, he is dissatisfied with anything but what is tangible and clear, and constitutes some sort of direction towards the practice of it.

We must bear in mind what is meant by perfection. It does not mean any extraordinary service, anything out of the way, or especially heroic—not all have the opportunity of heroic acts, of sufferings—but it means what the word perfection ordinarily means. By perfect we mean that which has no flaw in it, that which is complete, that which is consistent, that which is sound—we mean the opposite to imperfect. As we know well what imperfection in religious service means, we know by the contrast what is meant by perfection.

He, then, is perfect who does the work of the day perfectly, and we need not go beyond this to seek for perfection. You need not go out of the round of the day.

I insist on this because I think it will simplify our views, and fix our exertions on a definite aim. If you ask me what you are to do in order to be perfect, I say, first—Do not lie in bed beyond the due time of rising; give your first thoughts to God; make a good visit to the Blessed Sacrament; say the Angelus devoutly; eat and drink to God’s glory; say the Rosary well; be recollected; keep out bad thoughts; make your evening meditation well; examine yourself daily; go to bed in good time, and you are already perfect.

These are indeed useful thoughts for all of us – both Fr Doyle and Saint John Henry Newman, today show us a way to fulfil Christ’s command by staying right where we are.

Finally, today is the feast of Blessed Mark of Aviano, a remarkable Capuchin military chaplain who played a pivotal role in preserving what was left of Christendom by supporting the army at the Battle of Vienna in 1683. If it were not for him, the history of Europe may well have turned out very differently indeed. He died in 1699 and was beatified in 2003. Once again, another long wait for beatification, and again a consolation for those devoted to Fr Doyle. It is said that he was the inventor of cappuccino – have one in his honour!

You may read more about Blessed Mark at the link below:

http://www.vatican.va/news_services/liturgy/saints/ns_lit_doc_20030427_d-aviano_en.html

Blessed Mark of Aviano

Prayer to the Holy Spirit in preparation for Pentecost, for a special intention

 

The first ever novena was in the Upper Room, between the moment when Jesus ascended into Heaven and when the Holy Spirit descended on Mary and the apostles. Based upon this historical event, Christians have traditionally prayed novenas for special intentions. 

This year, let us all pray especially in these days for a special intention relating to Fr Doyle…

V. Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful.
R. And kindle in them the fire of your love.

V. Send forth your Spirit and they shall be created.
R. And you will renew the face of the earth.

Let us pray
O God, who by the light of the Holy Spirit,
did instruct the hearts of your faithful,
grant that by that same Holy Spirit,
we may be truly wise, and ever rejoice in your consolation,
Through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Prayers for Kateri in Australia

Prayers are requested through the intercession of Fr Doyle for a 14 year old girl from Australia called Kateri who is currently receiving treatment for leukemia. Let us pray not only for Kateri’s complete healing and restoration to health, but also for the relief of the side effects of her medical treatments, and for peace and consolation for her family, who suffer alongside her at this time. 

O Jesus, who has given us the example of Your servant, Father Willie Doyle, graciously grant us the favours we ask You through his intercession…[Pray here for the healing of Kateri]

Teach us to imitate his love for You, his heroic devotion to Your service, his zeal for repairing the outrages done to Your Sacred Heart. And, for Your greater glory and for the salvation of souls, hear our prayer and grant that the credit we believe he enjoys Heaven may be recognised solemnly by the Church, so that we may soon be able to venerate him in public worship.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be

 

 

Christmas Day 1914

During midnight Mass at Dalkey Convent I made the oblation of myself as a member of the League of Priestly Sanctity…Our Lord gave me great graces during the Mass and urged me more strongly than ever to throw myself into the work of my sanctification so that I may draw many other priests to Him. He wants the greatest possible fervour and exactness in all his priestly duties. 

18 November 1917: General Hickie’s praise for Fr Doyle

Sir William Bernard Hickie was Major General of the 16th Irish Division and knew Fr Doyle extremely well. He wrote the following in a letter to friend on 18 November 1917, 3 months after Fr Doyle’s death:

Fr Doyle was one of the best priests I have ever met, and one of the bravest men who have fought or worked out here.  He did his duty, and more than his duty, most nobly, and has left a memory and a name behind him that will never be forgotten. On the day of his death, 16th August, he had worked in the front line, and even in front of that line, and appeared to know no fatigue – he never knew fear.  He was killed by a shell towards the close of the day, and was buried on the Frezenberg Ridge… He was recommended for the Victoria Cross by his Commanding Officer, by his Brigadier, and by myself.  Superior Authority, however, has not granted it, and as no other posthumous reward is given, his name will, I believe, be mentioned in the Commander-in-Chief’s Despatch…I can say without boasting that this is a Division of brave men; and even among these, Fr Doyle stood out.

Major General Hickie

Thoughts for November 8 from Fr Willie Doyle

The Fruit of the Third Week

The thought that Jesus has suffered so much for me to atone for my sins and past careless life in religion, has filled me with a great desire to love Him in return with all my heart, I feel, too, a growing hunger and thirst for suffering and mortification, because it makes me more like to my suffering Jesus, suffering all with joy for me.

Every day has deepened my shame, sorrow and hatred for my negligent tepid life since I entered the Society, and strengthened my resolve and desire to make amends by a life of great fervour. I feel my past sinful life will be a spur for me to aim at great holiness.

COMMENT: In these notes, Fr Doyle reflects on a desire for mortification and for personal reform as fruits of the Third Week of his Spiritual Exercises in 1907. The desire for mortification tends to strike those who are already advanced in the spiritual life, so we should not be unduly worried if we do not desire penance. But whether we desire it or not, we still need it, especially as we set out on the path of personal reform. However, we need not copy the penances of Fr Doyle, but instead we should follow his advice, which is to pursue penances in the ordinary circumstances of our life, fulfilling our duties as best we can.

Prayers for 5 year old Sarah, through Fr Willie Doyle’s intercession

We have been asked to seek the intercession of Fr Willie Doyle for a little five-year old Irish girl, Sarah B, who suffers from Neurofibromatosis (Von Recklinghausen’s disease) and has been diagnosed with two tumours in her head, one on the optic nerve of the eye and one in the brain. These tumours are benign, but they are both inoperable. She is undergoing treatment to shrink the tumours, but prayers to Fr Willie would be deeply appreciated for the healing of the tumours and her condition as the Neurofibromatosis is incurable.

Please pray to through Fr Willie’s intercession for Sarah’s healing and cure, and please share this information with others so that many people around the world will turn to his intercession.

Prayer through the intercession of Fr Willie Doyle (for private use)

O Jesus, who has given us the example of Your servant, Father William Doyle, graciously grant us the favours we ask You through his intercession…(Pray here for the healing and cure of Sarah B.)

Teach us to imitate his love for You, his heroic devotion to Your service, his zeal for repairing the outrages done to Your Sacred Heart. And, for Your greater glory and the salvation of souls, hear our prayer and grant that the credit we believe He enjoys in Heaven may be recognised solemnly by the Church, so that we may soon be able to venerate him in public worship.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be

Thoughts for October 16 from Fr Willie Doyle

St Margaret Mary Alacoque

Meditating on the Particular Judgement, God gave me great light. I realised that I should have to give an exact account of every action of my life and for every instant of time. To take only my seventeen years of religious life, what account could I give of the 6,000 hours of meditation, 7,000 Masses, 12,000 examinations of conscience, etc.? Then my time how have I spent every moment? I resolved not to let a day more pass without seriously trying to reform my life in the manner in which I perform my ordinary daily duties. For years I have been “going to begin,” and from time to time made some slight efforts at improvement. But now, dear Jesus, let this change be the work of Thy right hand.

To perform each action well I will try and do them: (a) with a pure intention often renewed, (b) earnestly, punctually exactly, (c) with great fervour.  How little I think of committing venial sin, and how soon I forget I have done so! Yet God hates nothing more than even the shadow of sin, nothing does more harm to my spiritual progress and hinders any real advance in holiness. My God, give me an intense hatred and dread and horror of the smallest sin. I want to please You and love You and serve You as I have never done before. Let me begin by stamping out all sin in my soul.

We could not take pleasure in living in the company of one whose body is one running, festering sore; neither can God draw us close to Himself, caress and love us, if our souls are covered with venial sin, more loathsome and horrible in His eyes than the most foul disease. To avoid mortal sin I must carefully guard against deliberate venial sin, so to avoid venial sin I must fly from the shadow of imperfection in my actions. How often in the past have I done things when I did not know if they were sins or only deliberate imperfections and how little I cared, my God!

COMMENT: Today we continue with our reflections from the notes Fr Doyle took during the Spiritual Exercises of 1907.

The particular judgement is the moment of judgement immediately after our death. Typically it is understood as a moment in which we must render an account of our lives. As Fr Doyle put it: “I realised that I should have to give an exact account of every action of my life and for every instant of time”. And indeed, not just our actions, but our thoughts as well…

The only response we can make to this is to reform our lives, and the ideal way in which to do this is to reform our performance of our daily duties as Fr Doyle suggests. Otherwise we run the risk that our reform will be merely imaginary and superficial in nature.

Today is also the feast of St Margaret Mary Alacoque. Fr Doyle was greatly devoted to her. She was chosen by the Lord to spread devotion to the Sacred Heart. As we consider the particular judgement today, let us learn from the life of St Margaret Mary the reality that Jesus loves us intensely, and let us learn to see the particular judgement through the lens of this love. But let us also remember the other aspect of St Margaret Mary’s life, and that is the need for us to make reparation to the Sacred Heart for our sins. The best way for us to do this is through continuous conversion and making the sacrifice of doing our duties well.

I would also ask readers for their prayers for the repose of the soul my father who died 13 years ago today.