When we are alone at prayer, speaking to God as sincerely as we can, we are both most honest about ourselves and most open to light about ourselves from the Lord. So it was with Catherine Doherty. If people are afraid her faults and failings will be swept under the rug in her process of canonization, they only need read her own prayers. The following are excerpts from the book O Jesus, published after her death by Madonna House Publications. She never, of course, prayed these prayers with an eye to others reading them. They were between her and her God.
Jesus Beloved, let me see! I am blind to my faults, blind to my sins, blind to the fact that I antagonize all people except those who themselves are saints and put up with me as a cross! I love you. Alone I can do nothing. Let me strive under your guidance to get rid of my imperfections, no matter the cost. I am lonely because I deserve it. O Jesus, when I catch a glimpse of myself, I weep in horror at the picture. Help me, Beloved, to realize that you are all, I, nothing! Then will my pride be broken and in humility I will begin. Break my pride. Break it, O Jesus, even if it kills me. For with it I cannot have you and I want you above all.
— April 7, 1935
Another year gone into the chasm of eternity! What have I done with it, my Lord and my God? Today at Mass, you vouchsafed to me a glimpse of my nothingness, my utter inadequacy, my hopelessness in your service.
How can you, my Lord, have patience with such as I? I know your patience and mercy are infinite. But look at my vanity, self-love, indulgence of all kinds! Look at the graces you showered on me, and look at the lack of cooperation on my part.
Look at my unworthiness; look at your kindness, Jesus, Son of Man, my Lord and my God. Forgive me and accept my thanks for allowing me another chance. I know my weakness. I know that without you I am nothing. Help me! Alone I cannot make one step. Let me see myself as I am.
Make me realize these graces that you have allowed. Give me tolerance, understanding, humility, patience! Above all, inflame my heart with an unquenchable love for you. Make me an alert servant, not a sloppy, tired, lazy one as I have been until now. Do not allow me, sweet Lord, to take unto myself any pride about my achievements; make me humbly realize that I am only an instrument. You know it is all for your glory.
Make me more charitable, more gentle, more understanding with people. Give me humility—then I shall be able to serve you as I must. Cure my laziness. Give me strength and determination for sacrifices and mortifications. Make me patient, controlling all irritability, anger, impatience.
Help me, O Master. Look not at the unworthiness of your servant but only on her desire to serve you. Enkindle that desire until, as a flame, it consumes me entirely! Bless all the things I do in your name. Give me understanding of what I should do and what I should run away from. Give me your love! In temporal things, give me my daily bread, and the rest as you will. Your will be done, not mine.
— December 31, 1933
The night was dark. I lay awake. Does anyone understand the horror of dark nights, when all is quiet as if it were dead? I faced the past and shuddered; the future and shrank. Seventeen long years of pain and suffering, seventeen years of hell, and nobody knows! Indeed, I am a failure in all things—in married life, in motherhood, in any work for humanity.
Lord, as I think of all these failures, I wonder if by any chance it would be possible to find anyone who has made a bigger mess of life than I. I am sure not! Jesus, Master of all things, how do you stand such as I?
Oh, I am not complaining about my fate. How could I? For all that has come to me is well-deserved because I am such a sinner. My sins are always with me and before me, as are the graces I have lost. I often think of these graces. Are they lying there, crying, because I haven’t made use of them? Or have they been picked up by chance? Who will know the end of this mystery? Death alone will solve it.
— April 25, 1937
O Jesus, how shall I thank you for your graces, for your kindness, for the wonder of it all—that I should be chosen to have even a little part in your work! Help me to understand a little of your truth. Help me to conform my will to yours. Help me to be humble. Help me to throw self-glorification absolutely away, remembering always: God delights to choose the most vile instruments for his glorification. O Jesus, help me, forgive me and bless me.
— June 13, 1934
Dear Jesus, may I dissolve myself in your will. May I hide myself in you, leaving to you all the things in my life. O Jesus, I love you. Teach me how to love you more, evermore, until, incapable of carrying the burden of longing, I might at last be freed.
O Jesus, help me to be a saint, for the other meaning of a saint is a lover of God. Jesus, make me that—a lover of God, a servant of love. Teach me never to hesitate in service to you, never to spare myself the mortification of interrupted peace, of eternal contact with people. Teach me how to overcome likes and dislikes—in you. Teach me to submit my life to you. Teach me to lose myself in you.
— June 20, 1934
Dear Jesus, today I’ve had a rest. I did not mean to miss Mass. I just overslept. Forgive me, dear Mary, Mother of God, for it is one of your feast days and I meant with all my heart to go. The spirit was willing, the flesh weak.
— July 2, 1934
Catherine Doherty, O Jesus.
(Combermere ON: Madonna House Publications, 1996).
Copyright © 1996 Madonna House Publications. ISBN 0-921440-42-1