On April 9, which this year marked the transferred Solemnity of the Annunciation, the Vatican released the latest Apostolic Exhortation from Pope Francis: Gaudete et exsultate: On the call to holiness in today’s world.
Helping people to be holy is one of the Church’s main tasks, in every era. At this time, being holy can be distorted by misleading or mythical ideas about holiness. So Pope Francis “exhorts” his followers to engage in a journey that takes place in the concrete here and now of our daily lives, in small gestures and little things, in which we are led more and more by God’s grace.
In Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis spoke of the call to all the faithful to be missionary disciples; Gaudete et Exsultate is about the mission at the heart of that call, which is to be in relationship with Jesus Christ, who not only invites us to be holy but enables us, through His Grace, to achieve that. Holiness is for all of us, not a select few. Holiness is our destiny; it’s what
God has planned for us; and yet there is nothing intimidating or overpowering about that; rather it is a liberation, a way of becoming who we really are.
Gaudete et Exsultate is different in tone and emphasis from preceding documents.
- First, the Exhortation is addressed personally to each and every one of us, whatever our state in life or level of education or development. Pope Francis often uses the informal singular expression tu (in Latin languages), which is how we speak one at a time to friends and family. So Francis is extending a personal invitation to follow Christ.
- Second, it is deliberately lay in its language and invitation, aimed at people who live in the world, who have jobs and families and busy lives with many different pressures. Pope Francis wants people to know that they need no special education or qualifications, nor to take religious vows: just an open heart and a desire to spend some time with the Lord in prayer and by reading
the Gospel. He also wants people to know that the Church has everything they need to become holy, and it is all available to them.
- Third, the pope shows us, in very practical ways, how the journey to holiness is undertaken, and how it makes us more alive and more human.
click HERE to download Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation