He was known for his deep humility and simplicity, traits that sometimes brought ridicule from others.
Feeling called to the priesthood, John Neumann was told that there were too many priests in his hometown country of Bohemia! He then set sail for the New World in hopes of being ordained and becoming a missionary in the United States of America. He arrived in New York in 1836 with one suit of clothes and a dollar in his pocket.
Neumann ended up being a trailblazer in America, establishing parishes and establishing the first unified parochial school system. He was known for his deep humility and simplicity, traits that sometimes brought ridicule from others. Whatever other people thought about him, Neumann had a deep spiritual life, always clinging to the cross of Christ.
Here are five short prayers from his writings that highlight his deep faith and teach us how to be honest with God in our own prayers.
- While pondering last evening on my resolution, separation from home appeared to me so bitter that I burst into tears. My Jesus, if it be Thy will, increase my sufferings, but hear my prayers! Let my resolve be put into execution.
- Deprive me of everything, my God, but not of the desire to unite my will to your will in perfect resignation!
- How much I love You, O my Jesus! I wish to love You with my whole heart; yet I do not love You enough. My lack of devotion and my negligence still haunt me. I have one desire, that of being near You in the Blessed Sacrament. You are the sweet bridegroom of my soul. My Jesus, my love, my all, gladly would I endure hunger, thirst, heat and cold to remain always with You in the Blessed Sacrament.
- O my Jesus, I, a poor, ignorant young man, have become a shepherd in Thy sheepfold … Grant that not one of those confided to me be lost … Teach me to live, and, if needs be, to die for my people that they all may be saved, that they all may love Thy dear Mother!
- My Jesus, banish the demon of despair! My devotion has vanished, my tears are dried up, thoughts of my angel and of my patron no longer soothe my troubled soul! Even Thy remembrance, my Savior, and that of Thy Blessed Mother, grow dim before my mental gaze. O Jesus, do not forsake me! Help me! Help me! I am resolved not to omit a single one of my devotions!