.- Earlier today, the Vatican released the last will and spiritual testament of Pope John Paul II, read yesterday for the first time by gathered cardinals. The frequently updated document, originally written in the popeâs native Polish, expresses the popeâs profound gratitude for all those who have accompanied him in his time as pontiff.
Quoting the words of Matthewâs Gospel, which read, "Watch therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming,â the Holy Father wrote that âthese words remind me of the last call, which will happen at the moment the Lord wishes.
He continued: âI desire to follow Him, and I desire that everything making up part of my earthly life should prepare me for this moment. I do not know when the moment will come, but like everything else, I place it too in the hands of the Mother of my Master: Totus Tuus.â
John Paul recalled in his testament the words spoken to him by Polish Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski who told him upon his election in 1978 that, "The duty of the new Pope will be to introduce the Church into the Third Millennium."
In this light, the pope wrote of his symbolic opening of the doors in various basilicas around Rome in honor of the great Jubilee of 2000.
Recalling specifically, the opening of the Door of the Basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls, the Holy Father wrote that, âThis last event, given its ecumenical character, has remained impressed in my memory in a special way.â
He also revealed that he had considered retirement in 2000 after having led the Church into the Jubilee.
John Paul likewise reflected on the protection of Mary during the assassination attempt on his life in 1981 and on the great significance of the Second Vatican Council.
âI am convincedâ, he wrote, âthat 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.â
The pope also noted that he left behind no material possessions to bequeath other than some small items that he used day to day. He asked that his personal secretary, Archbishop Stanislaw Dziwisz distribute these accordingly.
116 cardinals will gather at the Sistine Chapel on April 18th to prayerfully elect the successor to John Paul II.
Read a summary of the document at: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/document.php?n=57