I look upon it as a great grace that in spite of my tepid life Jesus has given me an ardent desire to love Him. I long eagerly to love my Jesus passionately, with an intense ardent love such as the saints had; and yet I remain cold and indifferent with little zeal for His glory.
Fr Willie Doyle S.J. wrote these words during the Fourth Week of the Spiritual Exercises, you can read the full diary entry if you follow this link.
Surely most of us remain ‘cold and indifferent with little zeal’ for much of the time. We talk of getting through the week on autopilot. We cannot all give up four weeks to follow the Exercises of Saint Ignatius. We hardly notice Lent is underway; indeed we go to work, cook the meals, get the children to school, change a nappy. We may be so tired, so tepid, that we cannot feel ardent as we go about our duties, but Jesus says we will be judged on what we did to the little ones, not how passionate our feelings were. Sometimes love demands above all perseverance and faithfulness in little things; sometimes getting on with undesirable or dangerous tasks, at risk of injury, infection or insult. Indeed, sometimes we need to be cold and indifferent to get on with the task in hand.
I came across Fr Doyle when reading about sacrifice in the Great War, 1914-18. Some years after this entry he volunteered as a military chaplain and won a reputation as a brave pastor to the men he served with. He would go out into No Man’s Land to bring back the wounded or give them the sacraments. He is considered a Servant of God, and his cause for canonisation has begun. The link will open within the official website of the cause.
More reflections on vocation tomorrow and the following day when we hear Mary’s ‘yes’ and follow where it led her.