(A man browses a copy of “John Paul II: I am very much in God’s hands. Personal notes 1962-2003″ at a bookstore in the centre of Warsaw February 5, 2014. REUTERS/Kacper Pempel)

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.