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Journal of a Soul by Pope John XXIII

READERSVOICE.COM aims to give a few samples from interesting old books found at charity stores around Brisbane. People donate all sorts of old books to op-shops: books one might never otherwise hear about. And often the older books are written better than modern efforts. They are often more honest and more informative. And they’re so cheap. It’s amazing when you find a good one-hundred-year-old book and it’s going for 50 cents.

In an op-shop recently, I found Journal of a Soul by Pope John XXIII, 1881-1963. This paperback was published by Four Square Editions in 1966. It features many of his diary entries and letters from 1895 to 1963.

At the age of 21 in 1902 he writes: Who am I? Nothing. What is my name? What are my titles of nobility? I have none. I am a servant and nothing more. I have nothing of my own, not even my life. God is my Master, absolute Master over life and death. No parents, no relations, no masters in this world. My real and only Master is God.

So, I live only to obey God’s slightest commands. I cannot move a hand, a finger or an eye, I cannot look before me or behind, unless God wills it. In his presence I stand upright and motionless, like the meanest soldier standing to attention before his officer, ready to do all, even to cast myself into the flames. This must be my task my whole life long, because I was born for this. I am a servant.

April 22, 1903: “Sins and melancholy, far from my house must they flee!” I must learn to bear even with those things which offend my susceptibilities and with companions who are uncongenial to me, and I must bear with them calmly and peaceably, otherwise there is no merit in it and God is not pleased. I will always try to find some virtue in people, even when none is apparent. Above all, I must say to myself that perhaps others, because of my innumerable faults, may have to make great efforts to put up with me. Humility then, always humility, joined to cheerfulness of soul, unalterable and blessed, O Jesus, make me humble.

-continued next page. readersvoice.com