Text of Pope’s Last Will and Testament

The following is an English translation of the official Vatican Italian translation of the text of Pope John Paul II’s last will and testament, which was originally written in Polish with successive additions.

The document begins with a Latin phrase that reads, “I am completely in Your hands.” It follows with a citation from the New Testament.

The testament of 6.3.1979

In the Name of the Holiest Trinity. Amen.

“Keep watch, because you do not know which day when the Lord will come” - These words remind me of the final call, which will come the moment that the Lord will choose. I desire to follow Him and desire that all that is part of my earthly life shall prepare me for this moment. I do not know when it will come, but, like all else, this moment too I place into the hands of the Mother of My Master: Totus Tuus. In the same maternal hands I place All those with whom my life and vocation are bound. Into these Hands I leave above all the Church, and also my Nation and all humanity. I thank everyone. To everyone I ask forgiveness. I also ask prayers, so that the Mercy of God will loom greater than my weakness and unworthiness.

During spiritual exercises I reflected upon the testament of the Holy Father Paul VI. This study has led me to write the present testament.

I do not leave behind me any property which necessitates disposal. Regarding those items of daily use of which I made use, I ask that they be distributed as may appear opportune. My personal notes are to be burned. I ask that Don Stanislaw oversees this and thank him for the collaboration and help so prolonged over the years and so comprehensive. All other thanks, instead, I leave in my heart before God Himself, because it is difficult to express them.

Regarding the funeral, I repeat the same disposition given by the Holy Father Paul VI: Burial in the bare earth, not in a tomb, 13.3.92.

Apud Dominum misericordia et copiosa apud Eum redemptio

John Paul pp.II

Rome 6.3.1979

Following my death I ask for Holy Masses and prayers

5.3.1990

I express the deepest faith that, despite all my weakness, the Lord will accord me every necessary grace to face, according to His will, whatever task, trial and suffering that will be demanded of His servant, during the course of my life. I also have faith that never will it be permitted that, through my behavior: by words, actions or omissions, I betray my obligations in this holy seat of Peter.

24.II - 1.III.1980

Also during these spiritual exercises I have reflected upon the truth of the Priesthood of Christ in the perspective of that Crossing which is for each one of us the moment of death. In taking leave of this world - to be born into the other, the future world, eloquent sign is for us the Resurrection of Christ.

I therefore read the copy of my testament of the last year, it also made during spiritual exercises - I compared it with the testament of my great Predecessor and Father Paul VI, with that sublime witness to the death of a Christian and of a pope - and I renewed in myself consciousness of the questions, to which refers the copy of 6.III.1979, prepared by me (in a rather provisional way).

Today I desire to add to it only this, that each one of us must keep in mind the prospect of death. And must be ready to present himself before the Lord and Judge - and contemporaneously Redeemer and Father. Then I too can take this into consideration continuously, 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 indescribably difficult and troubled. Difficult and tense has become the life of the Church as well, characteristic trial of these times - as much for the Faithful, as much as for the Pastors. In some Countries (as, e.g. in that one about which I was reading during the spiritual exercises), the Church finds itself in a period of persecution that is not inferior to those of the first centuries; on the contrary, the degree of cruelty and hatred is greater still. Sanguis martyrum - semen christianorum. And beyond this - so many people disappear innocently, even in this Country, in which we live …

I desire once more to entrust myself totally to the mercy of the Lord. He himself will decide when and how I must finish my earthly life and pastoral ministry. In life and in death Totus Tuus through the Immaculate. Accepting this death already, I hope that Christ will give me grace for my final passage, which is Easter. I hope too that it shall be made useful also for this important cause in which I am trying to serve: the salvation of men, the safeguarding of the human family and of all the nations and the peoples (among these I refer in particular to my earthly Country), useful for the persons who in a special way have entrusted to me for the questions of the Church, for the glory of God himself.

I do not desire to add anything to that which I wrote a year ago - only express this readiness and at the same time this faith, to which the present spiritual exercises prepared me.

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