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Pope John Paul II to be beatified May 1

 

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Last Will and Testament

Pope John Paul II

(Abstract)

Last Will and Testament of Pope John Paul II

Pope John Paul II's Tomb Webcam

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 in 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

Rome, 6.III.1979
After my death, I ask for Holy Masses and prayers

5.III.1990

* * *

Undated sheet:

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.

* * *

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

* * *

Totus Tuus ego sum

5.III.1982

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

* * *

5.III.82

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.

* * *

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.

JPII

The Spiritual Exercises of the Jubilee Year 2000
(12-18.III)

[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 not 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 worlds of culture, science, politics, the means of social communication!

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

A.D.

17.III.2000

L'Osservatore Romano
Pope John Paul II Funeral Mass April 8, 2005 Saint Peter's Square

Pope John Paul II's last word was Amen in response to a prayer being said aloud.

AFP

Before his funeral, and while prayers were said, a white silk veil was placed over Pope John Paul II's face, and a lead tube containing his Rogito (biographical sketch), and a bag containing Pope John Paul II's memorial coins, were placed in his cypress coffin before closing.

L'Osservatore Romano
Pope John Paul II's coffin

To slow decomposition, Pope John Paul II was buried in three coffins: Cypress, zinc and oak. The cypress coffin was sealed and wrapped in three silk ribbons before being placed in the zinc coffin which was hermetically sealed, and the two coffins were then placed in an oak coffin and buried in the earth, as Pope John Paul II wished, under a marble slab at 2:20 P. M. on April 8, 2005, Roman time in the same burial plot beneath Saint Peter's Basilica that was formerly used by Pope John XXIII.  Pope John Paul II is resting next to his role model, Pope Paul VI.

(Pope John XXIII was disinterred in 2000 and brought upstairs into St. Peter's Basilica when he was beatified because so many pilgrims still wanted to visit him. )

L'Osservatore Romano
Pope John Paul II crypt

A potted lilly is at Pope John Paul II's head and a candle is at his feet.  On the wall overhead is the Madonna and Child, the Holy Father's favorite image.  Pope John Paul II's tomb is covered by a grey-streaked marble slab on which is written in gold:

IOANNES PAVLVS PPII

16-X-1978 * 2-IV-2005

Beneath the date are the Latin letters for Christ, XP, intertwined.   

16-X is Latin for the 16th day of the 10th month, 1978 until the 2nd day of the 4th month, 2005, the date of Pope John Paul II's papacy.

L'Osservatore Romano

Below is Pope John Paul II's Rogito or biographical sketch signed off by all the cardinals and placed in Pope John Paul II's cypress coffin.

Reuters
Pope John Paul II

Rogito

Pope John Paul II

(Placed in His Cypress Most Inner Coffin)

In the light of Christ risen from the dead, on April 2 of the year of the Lord 2005, at 9:37 p.m., as Saturday was coming to an end, and we had already entered the day of the Lord, octave of Easter and Sunday of Divine Mercy, the beloved pastor of the Church, John Paul II, passed from this world to the Father. The whole Church, in prayer, accompanied him in his passing.

John Paul II was the 264th pope. His memory remains in the heart of the Church and of the whole of humanity.

Karol Wojtyla, elected pope on October 16, 1978, was born in Wadowice, a city 50 kilometers from Krakow, on May 18, 1920, and was baptized two days later in the parish church of the priest Francis Zak.

He received his First Communion when he was 9 years old and the sacrament of Confirmation when he was 18.  His studies interrupted, because the Nazi occupation forces had closed the university, he worked in a quarry and later in the Solvay Chemical factory.

In 1942, aware of his call to the priesthood, he began courses of formation in the clandestine seminary of Krakow. He received his priestly ordination on November 1, 1946, from the hands of Cardinal Adam Sapieha. Then he was sent to Rome where he obtained a licentiate and doctorate in theology with a thesis entitled Doctrina de fide apud Sanctum Ioannem a Cruce.

He returned to Poland where he had several pastoral duties and taught the sacred disciplines. On July 4, 1958, Pope Pius XII named him auxiliary bishop of Krakow. He was nominated archbishop of the same See by Paul VI in 1964. In this capacity, he took part in Vatican Council II. Paul VI created him cardinal on June 26, 1967.

He was elected pope by the cardinals in the conclave on October 16, 1978, and took the name John Paul II. On October 22, the day of the Lord, he solemnly began his Petrine ministry.

John Paul II's pontificate was one of the longest in the history of the Church. In that period, under several aspects, many changes were witnessed. Counted among them was the fall of some regimes to which he himself contributed. He undertook many trips to various nations for the purpose of proclaiming the Gospel.

John Paul II exercised the Petrine ministry with untiring missionary spirit, dedicating all his energies, driven by sollicitudo omnium ecclesiarum and by open charity to the whole of humanity.  More than any predecessor, he met with the people of God and leaders of nations, in celebrations, general and special audiences, and pastoral visits.

His love of young people led him to initiate World Youth Day convoking millions of youths in several parts of the world.

He successfully promoted dialogue with the Jews and with representatives of the other religions convoking them at times to prayer meetings for peace, especially in Assisi.

He notably enlarged the College of Cardinals creating 231 (plus one in pectore). He convoked some 15 assemblies of the Synod of Bishops, 7 ordinary general and 8 special. He erected numerous dioceses and circumscriptions particularly in Eastern Europe.

He reformed the Western and Eastern Code of Canon Law and created nine institutions and reorganized the Roman Curia.

As sacerdos magnus, he exercised the liturgical ministry in the Diocese of Rome and in the whole world in total fidelity to Vatican Council II. He promoted in an exemplary way the liturgical and spiritual life and contemplative prayer especially Eucharistic adoration and the prayer of the Holy Rosary (Cf. apostolic letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae).

The Church entered the third millennium under his leadership and celebrated the Great Jubilee of 2000 according to the guidelines indicated in the apostolic letter Tertio Millennio Adveniente. She then faced the new age receiving guidelines in the apostolic letter Novo Millennio Ineunte in which the faithful were shown the path of the future time.

With the Year of the Redemption, Marian Year, and Year of the Eucharist, he promoted the spiritual renewal of the Church. He gave an extraordinary impulse to canonizations and beatifications to show innumerable examples of holiness today which would give an incentive to the men of our time.  He proclaimed St. Therese of the Child Jesus, Doctor of the Church.

John Paul II's doctrinal magisterium is very rich. Guardian of the deposit of faith, with wisdom and courage he did his utmost to promote Catholic, theological, moral, and spiritual doctrine, and to oppose during the whole of his pontificate tendencies contrary to the genuine tradition of the Church.

Among his principal documents are numbered 14 encyclicals, 15 apostolic exhortations, 11 apostolic constitutions, 45 apostolic letters in addition to the catecheses proposed in the general audiences and the talks given all over the world.  With his teaching, John Paul II confirmed and enlightened the people of God on theological doctrine especially in the first three important encyclicals: Redemptor Hominis, Dives in Misericordia, and Dominum et Vivificantem; Anthropology and social issues: Laborem Exercens, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis and Centesimus Annus; Morals: Veritatis Splendor and Evangelium Vitae; Ecumenicism: Ut Unum Sint; Missiology: Redemptoris Mission; and Mariology: Redemptoris Mater.

He promulgated the Catechism of the Catholic Church in the light of tradition authoritatively interpreted by Vatican Council
II.  He also published volumes as a Ph.D.

His magisterium culminated during the Year of the Eucharist in the encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia and in the Apostolic Letter Mane Nobiscum Domine.

John Paul II left all an admirable testimony of piety, sanctity, and universal paternity.

Pope John Paul II

 Last General Audience Letter

Pope John Paul II

Pope John Paul II wrote Sunday's General Audience message on Saturday, April 2, the day he died.

Dearest Brothers and Sisters!

The joyous Hallelujah of Easter resonates today too. Today's page of John's Gospel emphasizes that He who was resurrected the evening of that day appeared before the apostles and 'showed them His hands and His side' (John 20,20); that is, the signs of the painful Passion that were marked indelibly onto His body even after the Resurrection. Those glorious wounds, which eight days later He made the unbelieving Thomas touch, reveal the mercy of God who 'so loved the world that he gave His only begotten Son' (John, 3, 16).

This mystery of love is at the center of today's liturgy of Sunday in Albis dedicated to the worship of Divine Mercy.

To humanity which at times appears lost and dominated by the power of evil, of selfishness, and fear, the Lord resurrected offers as a gift his forgiving love, reconciles and reopens the spirit to hope. It is a love that converts hearts and gives peace. How much need the world has to understand and receive Divine Mercy!

Oh Lord, who with your death and resurrection reveal the love of the Father, we believe in you and with confidence we repeat today, 'Jesus, I trust in you, have mercy on us and the entire world.'

The liturgic solemnity of the Annunciation that we will celebrate tomorrow pushes us to contemplate with the eyes of Mary the immense mystery of this merciful love that springs from the heart of Christ.  Helped by her, we can understand the true sense of the joy of Easter which is based on this certainty; He whom the Virgin carried in her womb, who suffered and died for us, is truly resurrected. Hallelujah!

L'Osservatore Romano
Pope John Paul II Funeral

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Germany gave the funeral Mass homily for Pope John Paul II on Friday, April 8, 2005, in Saint Peter's Square.

Pope John Paul II

Requiem Mass Homily

by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger

Follow me. The Risen Lord says these words to Peter. They are his last words to this disciple chosen to shepherd his flock.  Follow me -- this lapidary saying of Christ can be taken as the key to understanding the message which comes to us from the life of our late beloved Pope John Paul II. Today we bury his remains in the earth as a seed of immortality. Our hearts are full of sadness, yet at the same time of joyful hope and profound gratitude.

These are the sentiments that inspire us, brothers and sisters in Christ, present here in St. Peter's Square, in neighboring streets and in various other locations within the city of Rome, where an immense crowd, silently praying, has gathered over the last few days. I greet all of you from my heart. In the name of the College of Cardinals, I also wish to express my respects to heads of state, heads of government, and the delegations from various countries.

I greet the authorities and official representatives of other Churches and Christian Communities and likewise those of different religions. Next I greet the archbishops, bishops, priests, religious men and women, and the faithful who have come here from every continent; especially the young, whom John Paul II liked to call the future and the hope of the Church.  My greeting is extended, moreover, to all those throughout the world who are united with us through radio and television in this solemn celebration of our beloved Holy Father's funeral.

Follow me.  As a young student, Karol Wojtyla was thrilled by literature, the theater, and poetry. Working in a chemical plant, surrounded and threatened by the Nazi terror, he heard the voice of the Lord: Follow me! In this extraordinary setting, he began to read books of philosophy and theology and then entered the clandestine seminary established by Cardinal Sapieha. After the war, he was able to complete his studies in the faculty of Theology of the Jagiellonian University of Krakow.

How often, in his letters to priests and in his autobiographical books,has he spoken to us about his priesthood to which he was ordained on November 1, 1946.  In these texts, he interprets his priesthood with particular reference to three sayings of the Lord.

First: It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain (John 15:16). The second saying is: A good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep (John 10:11). And then: As the Father loves me, so I also love you. Remain in my love (John 15:9). In these three sayings, we see the heart and soul of our Holy Father. He really went everywhere, untiringly, in order to bear fruit, fruit that lasts.

Rise, Let Us Be on Our Way! is the title of his next-to-last book.  Rise, let us be on our way!  With these words he roused us from a lethargic faith, from the sleep of the disciples of both yesterday and today.  Rise, let us be on our way! he continues to say to us even today. The Holy Father was a priest to the last for he offered his life to God for his flock and for the entire human family in a daily self-oblation for the service of the Church especially amid the sufferings of his final months. And in this way he became one with Christ, the Good Shepherd who loves his sheep.

Finally, abide in my love:  The Pope who tried to meet everyone, who had an ability to forgive and to open his heart to all, tells us once again today, with these words of the Lord, that by abiding in the love of Christ, we learn at the school of Christ the art of true love.

Follow me! In July 1958, the young priest, Karol Wojtyla, began a new stage in his journey with the Lord and in the footsteps of the Lord.  Karol had gone to the Masuri lakes for his usual vacation along with a group of young people who loved canoeing.  But he brought with him a letter inviting him to call on the primate of Poland, Cardinal Wyszynski. He could guess the purpose of the meeting: He was to be appointed as the auxiliary bishop of Krakow.

Leaving the academic world, leaving this challenging engagement with young people, leaving the great intellectual endeavor of striving to understand and interpret the mystery of that creature which is man, and of communicating to today's world the Christian interpretation of our being -- all this must have seemed to him like losing his very self, losing what had become the very human identity of this young priest. Follow me!  Karol Wojtyla accepted the appointment for he heard in the Church's call the voice of Christ. And then he realized how true are the Lord's words: Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses it will save it (Luke 17:33).

Our Pope -- and we all know this -- never wanted to make his own life secure, to keep it for himself; he wanted to give of himself unreservedly, to the very last moment, for Christ and thus also for us. And thus he came to experience how everything which he had given over into the Lord's hands came back to him in a new way. His love of words, of poetry, of literature, became an essential part of his pastoral mission and gave new vitality, new urgency, new attractiveness to the preaching of the Gospel even when it is a sign of contradiction.

Follow me! In October 1978, Cardinal Wojtyla once again heard the voice of the Lord. Once more there took place that dialogue with Peter reported in the Gospel of this Mass: Simon, son of John, do you love me? Feed my sheep! To the Lord's question, Karol, do you love me? the archbishop of Krakow answered from the depths of his heart: Lord you know everything; you know that I love you. The love of Christ was the dominant force in the life of our beloved Holy Father. Anyone who ever saw him pray, who ever heard him preach, knows that. Thanks to his being profoundly rooted in Christ, he was able to bear a burden which transcends merely human abilities, that of being the shepherd of Christ's flock, his universal Church.

This is not the time to speak of the specific content of this rich pontificate. I would like only to read two passages of today's liturgy which reflect central elements of his message.  In the first reading, St. Peter says, and with St. Peter, the Pope himself, In truth, I see that God shows no partiality. Rather, in every nation whoever fears him and acts uprightly is acceptable to him. You know the word (that) he sent to the Israelites as he proclaimed peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all (Acts 10:34-36). And in the second reading, St. Paul, and with St. Paul, our late Pope, exhorts us, crying out: Therefore, my brothers, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, in this way stand firm in the Lord, beloved (Philippians 4:1).

Follow me! Together with the command to feed his flock, Christ proclaimed to Peter that he would die a martyr's death. With those words which conclude and sum up the dialogue on love and on the mandate of the universal shepherd, the Lord recalls another dialogue which took place during the Last Supper. There Jesus had said: Where I am going you cannot come. Peter said to him, Lord, where are you going? Jesus replied: Where I am going, you cannot follow me now; but you will follow me afterward (John 13:33,36). Jesus from the Supper went toward the Cross, went toward his resurrection, he entered into the paschal mystery, and Peter could not yet follow him.  Now, after the resurrection comes the time, comes this afterward.

By shepherding the flock of Christ, Peter enters into the paschal mystery, he goes toward the cross and the resurrection. The Lord says this in these words: when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go (John 21:18).

In the first years of his pontificate, still young and full of energy, the Holy Father went to the very ends of the earth, guided by Christ.  But afterward, he increasingly entered into the communion of Christ's sufferings; increasingly he understood the truth of the words: someone else will dress you. And in this very communion with the suffering Lord, tirelessly and with renewed intensity, he proclaimed the Gospel, the mystery of that love which goes to the end (cf. John 13:1).

He interpreted for us the paschal mystery as a mystery of divine mercy. In his last book, he wrote: The limit imposed upon evil is ultimately Divine Mercy" (Memory and Identity, pp. 60- 61). And reflecting on the assassination attempt, he said: In sacrificing himself for us all, Christ gave a new meaning to suffering, opening up a new dimension, a new order: the order of love.... It is this suffering which burns and consumes evil with the flame of love and draws forth even from sin a great flowering of good (pp. 189-190). Impelled by this vision, the Pope suffered and loved in communion with Christ, and that is why the message of his suffering and his silence proved so eloquent and so fruitful.

Divine Mercy. The Holy Father found the purest reflection of God's mercy in the Mother of God. He, who at an early age had lost his own mother, loved his divine mother all the more. He heard the words of the crucified Lord as addressed personally to him: Behold your Mother.  And so he did as the beloved disciple did, he took her into his own home (John 19:27). Totus tuus. And from the mother he learned to conform himself to Christ.

None of us can ever forget how in that last Easter Sunday of his life, the Holy Father, marked by suffering, came once more to the window of the Apostolic Palace and one last time gave his blessing urbi et orbi. We can be sure that our beloved Pope is standing today at the window of the Father’s house, that he sees us and blesses us. Yes, bless us, Holy Father. We entrust your dear soul to the Mother of God, your Mother, who guided you each day, and who will guide you now to the eternal glory of her Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

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