Paul II- Spiritual Testament
TESTAMENT OF THE HOLY FATHER
JOHN PAUL II
In the Name of the
Most Holy Trinity. Amen.
Totus Tuus ego sum
for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming" (Mt 24:
42) - these words remind me of the last call that will come at
whatever time the Lord desires. I want to follow Him and I want all
that is part of my earthly life to prepare me for this moment. I do
not know when it will come but I place this moment, like all other
things, in the hands of the Mother of my Master: Totus Tuus.
In these same motherly hands I leave everything and Everyone with
whom my life and my vocation have brought me into contact. In these
Hands I above all leave the Church, and also my Nation and all
humankind. I thank everyone. I ask forgiveness of everyone. I also
ask for prayers, so that God's Mercy may prove greater than my own
weakness and unworthiness.
During the spiritual
exercises I reread the Testament of the Holy Father Paul VI. It was
reading it that gave me the incentive to write this Testament.
I leave no
possessions of which it will be necessary to dispose. As for the
things I use every day, I ask that they be distributed as seems
appropriate. Let my personal notes be burned. I ask that Fr
Stanisław see to this, and I thank him for his help and
collaboration, so understanding for so many years. On the other
hand, I leave all my other "thank yous" in my heart before God
Himself, because it is difficult to express them.
With regard to my
funeral, I repeat the instructions that were given by the Holy
Father Paul VI (here a note in the margin says: burial in the
ground and not in a sarcophagus, 13 March 1992). Let the College of
Cardinals and my Fellow Citizens decide on the place.
misericordia et copiosa apud Eum redemptio"
John Paul PP. II
Rome, 6 March
After my death I ask
for Holy Masses and prayers
5 February 1990
express the most profound trust that, in spite of all my weakness,
the Lord will grant me every grace necessary to face, in accordance
with His will, any task, test or suffering that He sees fit to ask
of His servant during his life. I am also confident that He will
never let me fail through some attitude I may have: words, deeds or
omissions, in my obligations to this holy Petrine See.
24 February to
1 March 1980
during these spiritual exercises I reflected on the truth of the
Priesthood of Christ in the perspective of that Passing which the
moment of death is for each one of us. The Resurrection of Christ is
an eloquent [above this word was added decisive] sign of the
departure from this world for rebirth in the other, future world.
therefore read the draft of my Testament as it was recorded last
year, also written during the spiritual exercises - I compared it
with the Testament of my great Predecessor and Father, Paul VI, with
his sublime testimony on the death of a Christian and a Pope - and I
reminded myself of the matters mentioned in the draft of 6 March
1979, prepared by me (in a somewhat makeshift manner).
would like to add just this: that everyone keep the prospect of
death in mind and be ready to go before the Lord and Judge - and at
the same time Redeemer and Father. So I keep this continuously in my
mind, entrusting that decisive moment to the Mother of Christ and of
the Church - to the Mother of my hope.
times we are living in are unspeakably difficult and disturbing. The
Church's journey has also become difficult and stressful, a
characteristic proof of these times - both for the Faithful and for
Pastors. In some Countries (as, for example, those I read about
during the spiritual exercises), the Church finds herself in a
period of persecution no less evil than the persecutions of the
early centuries, indeed worse, because of the degree of ruthlessness
and hatred. Sanguis martyrum - semen christianorum ["The
blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians" (Tertullian)]. And in
addition to this, so many innocent people disappear, even in this
Country in which we live....
I would like once again to entrust myself entirely to the Lord's
grace. He Himself will decide when and how I am to end my earthly
life and my pastoral ministry. In life and in death [I am] Totus
Tuus through Mary Immaculate. I hope, in already accepting my
death now, that Christ will give me the grace I need for the final
passover, that is, [my] Pasch. I also hope that He will make it
benefit the important cause I seek to serve: the salvation of men
and women, the preservation of the human family and, within in it,
all the nations and peoples (among them, I also specifically address
my earthly Homeland), useful for the people that He has specially
entrusted to me, for the matter of the Church and for the glory of
I do not
want to add anything to what I wrote a year ago - except to express
this readiness and, at the same time, this trust which these
spiritual exercises have once again inspired in me.
John Paul II
* * *
Totus Tuus ego sum
course of the spiritual exercises this year I read (several times)
the text of my Testament of 6 March 1979. Although I still consider
it as temporary (not definitive) I am leaving it in its present
form. I am not (for the moment) changing anything, nor do I add
anything to the arrangements it contains.
attack on my life on 13 May 1981 in some way confirmed the exactness
of the words I wrote during the spiritual exercises in 1980 (24
so much more deeply that I am totally in God's Hands - and I remain
continuously available to my Lord, entrusting myself to Him through
His Immaculate Mother (Totus Tuus).
John Paul PP. II
connection with the last sentence of my Testament of 6 March 1979
("Let the College of Cardinals and my Fellow Citizens decide on the
place/that is, the place of the funeral") - I explain that I have in
mind: the Metropolitan of Krakow or the General Council of the
Polish Bishops' Conference - in the meantime, I ask the College of
Cardinals to do their best to satisfy the possible requests of those
* * *
1 March 1985
Once again - with
regard to the expression "the College of Cardinals and my Fellow
Citizens": the "College of Cardinals" is under no obligation to
consult "my Fellow Citizens" on this topic; it may, however, do so,
if for some reason it should deem it appropriate.
* * *
exercises in the Jubilee Year 2000
[for the Testament]
on 16 October 1978, the Conclave of Cardinals chose John Paul II,
Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski, the Primate of Poland, 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 am repeating the sentence
exactly as he said it, but this was at least the sense of what I
heard him say at the time. These words were spoken by the Man who
went down in history as the Primate of the Millennium: a great
Primate. I witnessed his mission, his total confidence, his
struggles and his triumph. "When victory is won, it will be a
victory through Mary": The Primate of the Millennium was fond of
repeating these words of his Predecessor, Cardinal August Hlond.
was in some way prepared for the task presented to me on that day,
16 October 1978. As I write these words, the Great Jubilee of the
Year 2000 is already a reality that is taking place. On the
night of 24 December 1999 the symbolic Great Jubilee Door in the
Basilica of St Peter was opened, and subsequently that of St John
Lateran, then that of St Mary Major - on New Year's Day, and on 19
January the Door of the Basilica of St Paul "Outside-the-Walls".
Particularly the latter event, because of its ecumenical character,
was imprinted indelibly on memories.
the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000 continues, the 20th century
closes behind us and the 21st century unfolds, from one day to the
next. In accordance with the designs of Providence, I have been
granted to live in the difficult century that is retreating into the
past, and now in the year in which I have reached my 80s ("octogesima
adveniens"), I must ask myself whether the time has come to
say with Simeon of the Bible, "Nunc dimittis".
May 1981, the day of the attack on the Pope during the General
Audience in St Peter's Square, Divine Providence miraculously saved
me from death. He Himself, who is the One Lord of life and death,
extended this life of mine, and in a certain way he restored it to
me. Ever since that moment it has belonged 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 16 October 1978. I ask him to deign to call
me to Himself whenever he wishes. "If we live, we live to the Lord,
and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then... we are the Lord's"
(cf. Rom 14: 8). I hope that as long as I am granted to carry out
the Petrine service in the Church, God in His Mercy will grant me
the necessary strength for this service.
3. As I
do every year during the spiritual exercises, I read the Testament
that I wrote on 6 March 1979. I continue to keep the instructions it
contains. What was added then, and also during the subsequent
spiritual retreats, reflects the difficult and tense general
situation that marked the 1980s. After autumn of the year 1989, this
situation changed. The final decade of the last century was free of
the previous tensions; this does not mean that it did not bring new
problems and difficulties. In a special way may Divine Providence
be praised for this, that the period known as the "Cold War"
ended without violent nuclear conflict; the risk of it had
been threatening the world in the previous period.
4. As I
stand on the threshold of the Third Millennium "in medio
Ecclesiae", I would like once again to express my gratitude
to the Holy Spirit for the great gift of the Second Vatican
Council, to which, together with the whole Church - and
especially with the whole Episcopate - I feel indebted. I am
convinced that it will long be granted to the new generations to
draw from the treasures that this 20th-century Council has lavished
upon us. As a Bishop who took part in the Council from the first to
the last day, I desire to entrust this great patrimony to all who
are and will be called in the future to put it into practice. For my
part, I thank the eternal Pastor who has enabled me to serve this
very great cause in the course of all the years of my Pontificate.
medio Ecclesiae"... from the very first years of my service as a
Bishop - precisely, thanks to the Council - I was granted to
experience the fraternal communion of the Episcopate. As a
priest of the Archdiocese of Krakow, I was granted to experience the
fraternal communion of the presbyterate - the Council had opened a
new dimension of this experience.
How many people I would have to list! The Lord God has probably
called the majority of them to Himself - as for those who are still
here, may the words of this Testament recall them, everyone and
everywhere, wherever they may happen to be.
course of the more than 20 years since I have been carrying out the
Petrine service "in medio Ecclesiae", I have experienced
the benevolent and most especially the fruitful collaboration of so
many Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops, so many priests and so
many consecrated persons - Brothers and Sisters - finally, of a
great many lay people, in the Curial environment and in the
Vicariate of the Diocese of Rome as well as outside these contexts.
could I not embrace with grateful memories all the Episcopal
Conferences in the world, which I met in the course of their visits
ad limina Apostolorum! Besides, how could I fail to remember
all the Christian Brothers and Sisters - non-Catholics! And the
Rabbi of Rome and likewise all the representatives of non-Christian
religions, not to mention all the representatives of the worlds of
culture, science, politics and the media!
the end of my earthly life draws close, I think back to its
beginning, to my Parents, my Brother and my Sister (whom I never
knew, for she died before I was born), to the Parish of Wadowice
where I was baptized, to that city of my youth, to my peers, my
companions of both sexes at elementary school, at high school, at
university, until the time of the Occupation when I worked as a
labourer, and later, to the Parish in Niegowic, to St Florian's
Parish in Krakow, to the pastoral work of academics, to the
context... to all the contexts... to Krakow and to Rome... to the
persons who were especially entrusted to me by the Lord.
to say just one thing to them all: "May God reward you!".
manus Tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum".
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