In private diaries published in Poland, Pope John Paul asked: Am I serving God?
Pope John Paul II spent decades constantly questioning whether he was worthy of the role he was called to carry out, according to private diaries published on Wednesday in defiance of his request that they be destroyed.
John Paul, who led the Roman Catholic Church from 1978 until his death in 2005, will be made a saint in April and remains for many Catholics a towering model of faith and commitment.
The diaries give a glimpse into his interior spiritual life, showing a man who never became complacent despite the grandeur of the papacy and his star status among many Catholics. Instead he agonised about whether he was doing enough to serve God.
His handwritten notes, published as “John Paul II: I am very much in God’s hands. Personal notes 1962-2003,” are a series of his reflections rather than a daily diary.
Although he played a very active public role in communist-era Poland and as pope, the man born Karol Wojtyla in southern Poland in 1920 rarely referred to public events in these pages.
In one note in 1981, the then Cardinal Wojtyla reflected on a theological discussion with other clerics and asked:
“The word of the Lord. Do I love the word of God? Do I live by it? Do I serve it willingly. Help me, Lord, to live by your word,” he asked. “Do I serve the Holy Spirit that lives in the Church?”
In the same passage, he wrote, alternating between Latin and his native Polish: “A pure, holy and immaculate sacrifice. This is why He demands from his priests that they should be of undivided heart (celibate) and demands priestly purity. Jesus, help me!”