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The spiritual testament of John Paul II

Written by Pope John Paul II on Friday, 01 April 2005. Posted in Pope John Paul II

"Totus Tuus – I am all yours"

The Spiritual Testament of John Paul II was read to the Cardinals at their meeting in the Vatican on April 6, and published in full the following day. The Pope wrote his first version during the Lenten Spiritual Exercises in 1979, and updated it six times afterwards. The following is a translation of the original text in Polish:

"Totus Tuus ego sum"

March 6, 1979: In the Name of the Most Holy Trinity. Amen.

"Watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming" (cf. 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 vocation have brought me into contact. In these hands I leave, above all, the Church, as well as 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. That reading prompted me to write this testament.

I leave no property behind me of which it is necessary to dispose. As for the everyday objects that were of use to me, I ask they be distributed as seems appropriate. My personal notes are to be burned. I ask that this be attended to by Fr. Stanislaw, whom I thank for his collaboration and help, so prolonged over the years and so understanding. As for all other thanks, I leave them in my heart before God Himself, because it is difficult to express them.

As for 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, March 13, 1992). Let the College of Cardinals and my fellow citizens decide on the place.

Feb. 5, 1990: After my death I ask for Holy Masses and prayers.

Undated page: I express my profound trust that, despite all my weakness, the Lord will grant me all the grace necessary to face, according to His will, any task, trial or suffering that He will ask of His servant, in the course of his life. I also trust that He will never allow me — through some attitude of mine: words, deeds or omissions – to betray my obligations in this holy Petrine See.

Feb. 24-March 1, 1980 (spiritual exercises): Today I wish to add only this: that each of us must bear in mind the prospect of death. And must be ready to present himself before the Lord and Judge — Who is at the same time Redeemer and Father. I too continually take this into consideration, 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 unutterably difficult and disturbed. The path of the Church has also become difficult and tense, a characteristic trial 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 is undergoing a period of such persecution as to be in no way lesser than that of early centuries; indeed it surpasses them in its degree of cruelty and hatred. Sanguis martyrum - semen christianorum ("The blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians", Tertullian). And apart from this — many people die innocently even in this country in which we are living...

Once again, I wish to entrust myself totally 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 though Mary Immaculate. I hope, in already accepting my death now, that Christ will give me the grace I need for the final passover, in other words (my) Easter. I also hope that He will make (that death) useful for this more important cause that I seek to serve: the salvation of men and women, the safeguarding of the human family and, in that, of all nations and all peoples (among them, I particularly address my earthly homeland), and useful for the people with whom He particularly entrusted me, for the question 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, at the same time, this trust, to which the current spiritual exercises have again disposed me.

March 5, 1982: The attempt upon my life on May 13, 1981 in some way confirmed the accuracy of the words written during the period of the spiritual exercises of 1980 (Feb. 24-March 1). All the more deeply I now feel that I am totally in the God's hands — and I remain continually at the disposal of my Lord, entrusting myself to Him through His Immaculate Mother (Totus Tuus).

Spiritual exercise of the Jubilee Year 2000 (March 12-18), for my testament: 1. When, on October 16, 1978 the conclave of Cardinals chose John Paul II, the primate of Poland, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski told me: "The duty of the new Pope will be to introduce the Church into the Third Millennium."

don't know if I am repeating this sentence exactly, but at least this was the sense of what I heard at the time. This was said by the man who went down in history as the Primate of the Millennium. A great Primate. I was a witness to his mission, to his total entrustment. To his battles. To his victory. "Victory, when it comes, will be a victory through Mary": The Primate of the Millennium was fond of repeating these words of his predecessor, Cardinal August Hlond.

Thus i was in some way prepared for the task presented to me on October 16, 1978. As I write these words, the Jubilee Year 2000 is already a reality. (...)

2. As the Jubilee Year progressed, day by day the 20th century closes behind us and the 21st century unfolds. According to the plans of Divine

Providence, I was allowed to live in the difficult century that is retreating into the past, and now, in the year in which my life reaches 80 years l'octogesima adveniens'), it is time to ask oneself if it is not the time to repeat with Simeon of the Bible, "Nunc dimittis".

On May 13, 1981, the day of the attack on the Pope during the general audience in St. Peter's Square, Divine Providence saved me in a miraculous way from death. The One Who is the Only Lord of life and death Himself prolonged my life; in a certain way He gave it to me again. From that moment, it belonged to Him even more. I hope He will help me to recognize up to what point I must continue this service to which was called on October 16, 1978. I ask him to call me back when He Himself wishes. "In life and in death we belong to the Lord... we are the Lord's." (cf. Rm 14, 8). I also hope that, as long as I am called to fulfill the Petrine service in the Church, the Mercy of God will give me the necessary strength for this service.

3. As I do every year during spiritual exercises, I read the Testament that I wrote on March 6, 1979. I continue to maintain the dispositions contained in this text. What has been added then, and even during successive spiritual exercises, constitutes a reflection of the difficult and tense general situation which marked the eighties. After autumn of the year 1989, this situation changed. The last decade of the century was free of the previous tensions; that does not mean that it did not bring with it new problems and difficulties. In a special way may Divine Providence be praised for this, that the period of the socalled "cold war" ended without violent nuclear conflict, the danger of which 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 especially with the whole Episcopate — I feel indebted. I am convinced that for a long time to come the new generations will draw upon the riches that this Council of the 20th century gave us. As a Bishop who participated in this conciliar event from the first to the last day, I wish to entrust this great patrimony to all those who are, and who will be called in the future, to realize it. For my part, I thank the eternal Pastor Who allowed me to serve this very great cause during the course of all the years of my Pontificate.

"In medio Ecclesiae"... from the first years of my service as a Bishop – precisely thanks to the Council — I was able to experience the fraternal communion of the Episcopate. As a priest of the Archdiocese of Krakow, I experienced the fraternal communion among priests -- and the Council opened a new dimension to this experience.

5. How many people should I list! Probably the Lord God has called to Himself the majority of them — as to those who are still on this side, may the words of this testament recall them, everyone and everywhere, wherever they are.

During the more than 20 years that I am fulfilling the Petrine service "in medio Ecclesiae" I have experienced the benevolence and even more the fecund collaboration of so many Cardinals, Archbishops and Bishops, so many priests, so many consecrated persons - Brothers and Sisters and, lastly, so very, very many lay persons, within the Curia, in the Vicariate of the Diocese of Rome, as well as outside these contexts.

How can I not embrace with grateful memory all the Bishops of the world whom I have met in "ad limina Apostolorum" visits! How can I not recall so many non-Catholic Christian brothers! And the Rabbi of Rome and so many representatives of non-Christian religions! And how many representatives of the world of culture, science, politics, and of the means of social communication!

6. As the end of my life approaches, I return with my memory to the beginning, to my parents, to my brother, to my sister (whom I never knew because she died before my birth), to the parish in Wadowice, where I was baptized, to that city I love, to my peers, friends from elementary school, high school and the university, up to the time of the occupation when I was a worker, and then in the parish of Niegowic, then St. Florian's in Krakow, to the pastoral ministry of academics, to the milieu of... to all milieux... to Krakow and to Rome... to the people who were entrusted to me in a special way by the Lord.

To all I want to say just one thing: "May God reward you."

"In manus tuas, Domine, commendo spiritum meum." (Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.)

John Paul II


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