I first read the life of the heroic Father Willie Doyle, S.J. by Alfred O’Rahilly forty years ago. It was the summer of 1968, and the summer of Humanae Vitae. By God’s sweet Providence, I am reading it again, this time with the experience of more than half a lifetime behind me. Father Doyle amazes me, comforts me, enlightens me, sets me straight on certain things, and confirms me in others.
One has to grow into certain books, and there is no growth without groaning. Now and then I will be sharing bits and pieces of this remarkable spiritual biography with you, dear readers of Vultus Christi. Father Willie Doyle was made of the stuff of the Desert Fathers. He is above all a master in the practice of the ceaseless prayer of the heart.
Do nothing without consulting Him in the Tabernacle. But then act fearlessly, if you see it is for His honour and glory, never minding what others may think or say. Above all, ‘cast your care upon the Lord and He shall sustain you.’ (Psalm 54, 23). Peace and calm in your soul, prayer ever on your lips, and a big love in your heart for Him and His interests, will carry you very far. (November, 1914)
Non in commotione Dominus. (‘The Lord is not in the earthquake.’ III Kings 19, 11). Labour, then with might and main to keep your soul in peace, but an unbounded trust in His loving goodness. If you live in Jesus and Jesus in you, striving to make each little action, each morsel of food, every word of the Office, etc., an act of love to be laid at His feet as dwelling in your heart, you will certainly please him immensely and fly to perfection. (January, 1912)
This morning during Mass I felt strongly that Jesus was pained that you do not trust Him absolutely, that is, trust Him in every detail of your life. You are wanting in that childlike confidence He desires so much from you, the taking lovingly and trustfully from His hands all that He sends you, not even wishing things to have happened otherwise. He wants you to possess your soul in peace in the midst of the many troubles, cares and difficulties of your work, looking upon everything as arranged by Him, and hence something to welcome joyfully. Jesus will not dwell in your soul as He wishes unless you are at peace. This is the first step towards that union which you desire so much — but not so much as He does. Don’t keep Him waiting, my child, but by earnest and constant efforts empty your heart of every care that He may abide with you for ever. (May, 1913)