A while back my brother gave me a book titled, “Journal of a Soul.” It has been my companion for over a year now, and I am not even halfway through it. The soul spoken of is Pope John the 23rd, and the book contains all of his journal entires from his life. Tonight I opened it to a passage so beautiful that I cannot help but post it. He was 21 when he wrote this in Seminary.
December 24th, 1902.
Night has fallen; the clear bright stars are sparkling in the cold air; noisy strident voices rise to my ear from the city, voices of the revelers of this world who celebrate with their merrymaking the poverty of their Saviour. Around me in their rooms my companions are asleep, and I am still wakeful, thinking of the mystery of Bethlehem.
Mary and Joseph, knowing the hour is near, are turned away by the townsfolk and go out into the fields to look for a shelter. 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. I am touched by your poverty, I am moved to tears, but I have nothing better to offer you. Jesus, honour my soul with your presence, adorn it with your graces. Burn this straw and change it into a soft couch for your most holy body.
Jesus, I am here waiting for your coming. Wicked men have driven you out and the wind is like ice. Come into my heart. I am a poor man but I will warm you as well as I can. At least be pleased that I wish to welcome you warmly, to love you dearly and sacrifice myself for you.
But in your own way you are rich and you see my needs. You are a flame of charity and you will purge my heart of all that is not your own most holy Heart. You are uncreated holiness and you will fill me with those graces which give new life to my soul. O Jesus, come, I have so much to tell you, so many sorrows to confine, so many desires, so many promises, so many hopes.
I want to adore you, to kiss you on the brow, O tiny Jesus, to give myself to you once more, for ever. Come, my Jesus, delay no longer, come, be my guest.
Alas! it is already late I am overcome with sleep and my pen slips from my fingers. Let me sleep a little, O Jesus, while your Mother and St. Joseph are preparing the room. I will lie down to rest here, in the fresh night air. As soon as you come the splendor of your light will dazzle my eyes. Your angels will awaken me to sweet hymns of glory and peace and I shall run forward with joy to welcome you and to offer you my own poor gifts, my home, all the little I have. I will worship you and show you all my love, with the other shepherds who have joined my and with the angels of heaven, singing hymns of glory to your Sacred Heart. Come, I am longing for you.