"My bags are packed and I'm ready to go." 10 Quotes from St. John XXIII
Pope Saint John XXIII is well known as the pope who set the Catholic Church in a new and modern direction by convening the Second Vatican Council, which has had a tremendous impact on how the Church sees itself and its relationship with the world in this new era. But he was also a well-beloved pope. Known as “Good Pope John,” he inspired people with his warmth, his wit, and his humble humanity.
As the remains of this modern saint begin a pilgrimage to his home diocese, Salt+Light offers you ten quotes that give some insight into the great humility and trust in God that characterized his life.
1. Paradise, paradise! We shall find our rest there, do you understand? There we shall suffer no more; we shall receive the reward of our works and of our sufferings, if we have borne them with patience. Letter to his family, Jan 16, 1901
2. I am a poor shepherd, I have only a wretched stable, a small manger, some wisps of straw. I offer all these to you, be pleased to come into my poor hovel. Make haste, O Jesus, I offer you my heart; my soul is poor and bare of virtues, the straws of so many imperfections will prick you and make you weep - but O my Lord what can you expect? this little is all I have. Journal entry, Dec 24, 1902
3. I say only this to the Lord: here I am, ready for everything, sufferings as well as joys. Journal entry, Oct 1913
4. I am in the fiftieth year of my life: therefore a mature man on the road to old age: perhaps death is near. I have achieved very little in half a century of life and of following a priestly vocation. I feel humble and ashamed before the Lord, and ask his pardon "for my countless sins," but I look to the future with imperturbable and confident serenity. Journal entry, June 1931
5. But who is it that rules the church? Is it you or the Holy Ghost? Well, then, Angelo, go to sleep! I feel as if I were an empty bag that the Holy Spirit unexpectedly fills with strength. Journal entry on the night of Monday, Oct 27, 1958, fairly certain that he would be elected pope the following day
6. You have not come to see the son of a king, or an emperor, or one of the greats of this earth, but only a priest, the son of poor people, who was called by the Lord and carries the burden of being the supreme pontiff. Spoken to a group of Italian workers
7. It is enough to take thought for the present: it is not necessary to be curious or anxious about the shape of things to come. The Vicar of Christ knows what Christ wants from him and does not have to come before him to offer him advice or to insist on his own plans. The pope’s basic rule of conduct must be always to content himself with his present state and have no concern for the future; this he must accept from the Lord as it comes, but without counting on it or making any human provision for it, even taking care not to speak of it confidently and casually to anyone. Journal entry, Aug 14, 1961
8. "Vicar of Christ?" Ah, I am not worthy of this name, I, the humble child of Battista and Marianna Roncalli, two good Christians to be sure, but so modest and humble! Yet that is what I must be; the Vicar of Christ. "Priest and victim"; the priesthood fills me with joy, but the sacrifice implied in the priesthood makes me tremble. Blessed Jesus, God and man! I renew the consecration of myself to you, for life, for death, for eternity. Journal entry, Aug 15, 1961
9. My own personal serenity, which makes such an impression on people, derives from this: the obedience in which I have always lived, so that I do not desire to beg to live longer, even a day beyond that hour in which the Angel of Death will come to call me and take me, as I trust, to paradise. Letter to his family, Dec 3, 1961
10. A tumor. Ebbene, very well, let God’s will be done. But don’t worry about me because my bags are packed. I’m ready to go. Upon being told that he had inoperable cancer, Nov 1962