VATICAN CITY, APRIL 7, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Here is a translation of John Paul II’s last will and testament, published today by the Holy See.
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The Testament of 6.3.1979
(and the subsequent addition)
“Totus Tuus ego sum”
In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity. Amen.
“Watch, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming” (cf. Matt 24:42) — these words remind me of the last call, which will occur at the moment the Lord wills it. I want to follow Him and I want all that forms part of my earthly life to prepare me for this moment. I do not know when it will occur, but like everything, I also place this moment in the hands of the Mother of my Master: ‘Totus Tuus.’ I leave everything in the same maternal hands, and all those who have been connected to my life and my vocation. Above all, I leave the Church in these hands, and also my Nation and the whole of humanity. I thank all. I ask all for forgiveness. I also ask for prayer, so that God’s Mercy will show itself greater than my weakness and unworthiness.
During the Spiritual Exercises I reread the testament of the Holy Father Paul VI. This reading has led me to write the present testament.
I do not leave behind me any property which will be necessary to dispose of. Insofar as the things of daily use that served me, I request that they be distributed as will seem opportune. My personal notes should be burned. I request that Don Stanislaw watch over this, whom I thank for his very prolonged and comprehensive collaboration and help throughout the years. All other thanks instead I leave in my heart before God himself, because it is difficult to express them.
In regard to the funeral, I repeat the same dispositions which were given by the Holy Father Paul VI [here he notes on the margin: grave in the earth, not in a sarcophagus, 13.3.92].
“apud Dominum misericordia
et copiosa apud Eum redemptio”
John Paul pp. II
After my death, I ask for Holy Masses and prayers
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I express my profound trust that, despite all my weakness, the Lord will grant me every necessary grace to face, according to his will, any task, trial and suffering that he might require of His servant in the course of life. I also trust that he will never permit that, through some attitude of mine: words, works or omissions, I betray my obligations in this Holy Petrine See.
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24.II — 1.III.1980
Also during these Spiritual Exercises I reflected on the truth of the Priesthood of Christ in the perspective of that Transit that for each one of us is the moment of our own death. Eloquent sign [addition above: decisive] for us when taking leave of this world — to be born in the other, the future world — is the Resurrection of Christ.
I have read therefore the registration of my testament of last year, also made during the Spiritual Exercises — I have compared it to the testament of my great Predecessor and Father Paul VI, with that sublime testimony on the death of a Christian and a Pope — and I have renewed in myself the awareness of the questions, to which the registration of the 6.III.1979 refers, prepared by me (in a rather provisional way).
Today I only want to add this to it, that everyone should have present the prospect of death. And must be ready to present himself before the Lord and Judge — and, contemporaneously, Redeemer and Father. I also take this into consideration continually, entrusting that decisive moment to the Mother of Christ and of the Church — to the Mother of my hope.
The times, in which we live, are unspeakably difficult and disquieting. The way of the Church has also become difficult and tense, characteristic trial of these times — both for the Faithful as well as for the Pastors. In some countries (as for example in the one I read about during the Spiritual Exercises), the Church finds herself in such a period of persecution that is not inferior to that of the first centuries, rather it exceeds them by the degree of ruthlessness and hatred. “Sanguis martyrum — semen christianorum.” And in addition to this — so many people die innocently, also in this country in which we live …
I desire once again to commend myself totally to the Lord’s grace. He himself will decide when and how I must finish my earthly life and pastoral ministry. “Totus Tuus” through the Immaculate in life and in death. Accepting this death already now, I hope that Christ will give me the grace for the last passage, that is [my] Pasch. I hope that he will render it useful also for this most important cause which I seek to serve: the salvation of men, the safeguarding of the human family, and in it of all the nations and peoples (among them I also turn in a particular way to my earthly Homeland), useful for the persons he has entrusted to me in a particular way, for the issues of the Church, for the glory of God himself.
I do not wish to add anything to what I wrote a year ago — only to express this readiness and contemporaneously this trust, to which the present Spiritual Exercises have again disposed me.
John Paul II
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“Totus Tuus ego sum”
In the course of this year’s Spiritual Exercises I read (several times) the text of the testament of 6.III.1979. Although I still consider it as provisional (not definitive), I leave it in the form it exists. I do not change (for now) anything, nor do I add anything in regard to the dispositions contained in it.
The attempt on my life on 13.V.1981 in some way has confirmed the accuracy of the words written in the period of the Spiritual Exercises of 1980 (24.II — 1.III)
I feel that much more profoundly that I am totally in God’s Hands — and I remain continually at the disposition of my Lord, entrusting myself to Him in His Immaculate Mother (“Totus Tuus”)
John Paul II
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In connection with the last phrase of my testament of 6.III 1979 (: “On the place/ the place, that is, of the funeral/ the College of Cardinals and my fellow countrymen should decide”) — I clarify what I have in mind: the Metropolitan of Krakow and the General Council of the Episcopate of Poland — I request the College of Cardinals in the meantime to satisfy insofar as possible the eventual questions of its members.
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1.III.1985 (in the course of the Spiritual Exercises).
Now — in regard to the expression “College of Cardinals and my fellow countrymen”: the “College of Cardinals” has no obligation to question “my fellow countrymen” on this argument; it can however do so, if for some reason it considers it legitimate.
The Spiritual Exercises of the Jubilee Year 2000
[for the testament]
1. When on the day of October 16, 1978, the conclave of Cardinals elected John Paul II, the Primate of Poland, Card. Stefan Wyszynski said to me: “The task of the new Pope will be to lead the Church into the Third Millennium.” I do not know if I repeat the phrase exactly, but at least such was the sense of what he then felt. It was said by the Man who has passed into history as Primate of the Millennium. A great Primate. I was a witness of his mission, of his total trust. Of his struggles: of his victory. “Victory, when it occurs, will be a victory through Mary” — these words of his Predecessor, Card. August Hlond, the Primate of the Millennium used to repeat.
In this way I was in some manner prepared for the task that the day October 16, 1978, presented before me. In the moment in which I write these words, Jubilee Year of 2000, it is already a reality in progress. The night of December 24, 1999, the symbolic Door of the Great Jubilee was opened in St. Peter’s Basilica, later that of St. John Lateran, then of St. Mary Major — on New Year’s Day, and the day of January 19 the Door
of the Basilica of St. Paul “Outside the Walls.” This last event, because of its ecumenical character, has remained imprinted in my memory in a particular way.
2. As the Jubilee Year 2000 goes forward, from day to day the 20th century closes behind us and the 21st century opens. According to the plans of Providence, it was given to me to live in the difficult century that is going into the past, and now in the year in which the age of my life reaches eighty years (“octogesima adveniens”), one must ask oneself if it is not the time to repeat with the biblical Simeon “Nunc dimittis.”
On the day of May 13, 1981, the day of the attempt on the Pope during the General Audience in St. Peter’s Square, Divine Providence saved me in a miraculous way from death. He who is the sole Lord of life and death, He himself prolonged this life, in a certain way he has given it to me again. From this moment it again belongs even more to Him. I hope He will help me to recognize how long I must continue this service, to which he called me on the day of October 16, 1978. I ask him to call me when He himself wills it. “In life and in death we belong to the Lord … we are the Lord’s” (cf. Rm 14:8). I also hope that so long as it is given to me to carry out the Petrine service in the Church, the Mercy of God will give me the necessary strength for this service.
3. As every year during the Spiritual Exercises I have read my testament of 6.III.1979. I continue to hold the dispositions contained in it. That which now, and also during the subsequent Spiritual Exercises, has been added is a reflection of the difficult and tense general situation, which has marked the ’80s. Since autumn of the year 1989 this situation has changed. The last decade of the last century was free from the preceding tensions; this does not mean that it did not bring with it new problems and difficulties. In a particular way may Divine Providence be praised for this, that the period of the so-called “Cold War” finished without violent nuclear conflict, which danger weighed on the world in the preceding period.
4. Being on the threshold of the Third Millennium “in medio Ecclesiae,” I wish once again to express gratitude to the Holy Spirit for the great gift of Vatican Council II, to which together with the whole Church — and above all with the entire episcopate — I feel indebted. I am convinced that once again and for a long time it will be given to the new generations to draw from the riches that this Council of the 20th century has lavished. As a Bishop who has participated in the conciliar event from the first to the last day, I wish to entrust this great treasure to all those who are or will be in the future called to realize it. For my part, I thank the eternal Pastor who allowed me to serve this great cause in the course of all the years of my pontificate.
“In medio Ecclesiae” … from the first years of episcopal service — precisely thanks to the Council — it was given to me to experience the fraternal communion of the Episcopate. As priest of the Archdiocese of Krakow I experienced the fraternal communion of the presbytery — the Council opened a new dimension of this experience.
5. How many people I would have to list! The Lord has probably called the majority of them to himself — as regards those who are still on this side, may the words of this testament remind them, all and everywhere, wherever they find themselves.
In the course of more than twenty years in which I have carried out the Petrine service “in medio Ecclesiae” I have experienced the benevolent and extremely fruitful collaboration of so many Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops, so many priests, so many consecrated persons — Brothers and Sisters — in short, of so many lay persons, in the curial environment, in the Vicariate of the Diocese of Rome, as well as outside these environments.
How can I no willingly embrace all the Episcopates of the world, with which I met in the succession of visits “ad limina Apostolorum!” How can I not also remember so many Christian Brothers — not Catholics! And the Rabbi of Rome and the numerous representatives of non-Christian religions! And the many representatives of the world of culture, science, politics, the means of social communications!
6. In the measure that the end of my earthly life approaches I return to the memory of the beginning, of my Parents, my Brother and my Sister (whom I did not know because she died before my birth), to the parish of Wadowice, where I was baptized, to that city of my love, of my contemporaries, girl and boy companions of elementary school, the junior high school, the university, until the times of the Occupation, when I worked as a laborer, and later on in the parish of Niegowic, Krakow’s of St. Florian, to the pastoral care of academics, the environment … to all environments … to Krakow and to Rome … to persons who in a special way were entrusted to me by the Lord.
To all I wish to say one thing: “May God reward you”
“In manus Tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum”