His Motto and Papal Coat of Arms

Saint John Paul II took as the motto of his papacy Totus Tuus (Totally Yours). This was because his interior life was centered on his Total Consecration to Jesus through Mary. His papal coat of arms, shown above, has the capital letter “M” (for Mary) which is shown beneath the Cross. This symbolized his great devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary whom he beheld as his mother, as Jesus requested as she stood beneath the Cross. (See John 19:25-27).

Cardinal Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) explained the motto and the papal coat of arms in his homily during the Mass for the beatification of Pope John Paul II:

Karol Wojtyła took part in the Second Vatican Council, first as an auxiliary Bishop and then as Archbishop of Kraków. He was fully aware that the Council’s decision to devote the last chapter of its Constitution on the Church to Mary meant that the Mother of the Redeemer is held up as an image and model of holiness for every Christian and for the entire Church. This was the theological vision which Saint John Paul II discovered as a young man and subsequently maintained and deepened throughout his life. A vision which is expressed in the scriptural image of the crucified Christ with Mary, his Mother, at his side. This icon from the Gospel of John (19:25-27) was taken up in the episcopal and later the papal coat-of-arms of Karol Wojtyła: a golden cross with the letter “M” on the lower right and the motto “Totus tuus”, drawn from the well-known words of Saint Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort in which Karol Wojtyła found a guiding light for his life: “Totus tuus ego sum et omnia mea tua sunt. Accipio te in mea omnia. Praebe mihi cor tuum, Maria – I belong entirely to you, and all that I have is yours. I take you for my all. O Mary, give me your heart.” (Treatise on True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, 266).

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