PEARLS FROM THE
APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION GAUDETE ET EXSULTATE
OF OUR HOLY FATHER POPE FRANCIS
THE CALL TO HOLINESS IN TODAY’S WORLD
We are pleased to present to you the Apostolic Exhortation GAUDETE ET EXSULTATE of Pope Francis given in Rome, at Saint Peter’s, on 19 March, the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, in the year 2018, the sixth of his Pontificate. The Exhortation however was made public on 9th April 2018.
GAUDETE ET EXSULTATE gives Practical Advice on How Not to Settle for Failure or Mediocrity.
The five-chapter, 98-page document can be considered somewhat of a practical handbook on how to help us achieve holiness in the circumstances of our ordinary lives. The chapters include: 1) The Call to Holiness 2) Two Subtle Enemies of Holiness 3) In the Light of the Master 4) Signs of Holiness in Today’s World 5) Spiritual Combat, Vigilance and Discernment.
It is next to impossible to summarise the rich text without losing its vividness. We give only a few pearls from the document to stimulate your interest in the document
CHAPTER ONE: CALL TO HOLINESS
THE SAINTS WHO ENCOURAGE AND ACCOMPANY US: These witnesses may include our own mothers, grandmothers or other loved ones (cf. 2 Tim 1:5).
THE SAINTS “NEXT DOOR”: I like to contemplate the holiness present in the patience of God’s people: in those parents who raise their children with immense love, in those men and women who work hard to support their families, in the sick, in elderly religious who never lose their smile.
THE LORD CALLS: Within these various forms, I would stress too that the “genius of woman” is seen in feminine styles of holiness, which are an essential means of reflecting God’s holiness in this world…
FOR YOU TOO: Are you called to the consecrated life? Be holy by living out your commitment with joy. Are you married? Be holy by loving and caring for your husband or wife, as Christ does for the Church. Do you work for a living? Be holy by labouring with integrity and skill in the service of your brothers and sisters. Are you a parent or grandparent? Be holy by patiently teaching the little ones how to follow Jesus. Are you in a position of authority? Be holy by working for the common good and renouncing personal gain.
YOUR MISSION IN CHRIST: That mission has its fullest meaning in Christ, and can only be understood through him.
ACTIVITY THAT SANCTIFIES: Needless to say, anything done out of anxiety, pride or the need to impress others will not lead to holiness.
MORE ALIVE, MORE HUMAN: Do not be afraid of holiness. It will take away none of your energy, vitality or joy.
CHAPTER TWO: TWO SUBTLE ENEMIES OF HOLINESS
CONTEMPORARY GNOSTICISM: When somebody has an answer for every question, it is a sign that they are not on the right road.
CONTEMPORARY PELAGIANISM: Once we believe that everything depends on human effort as channelled by ecclesial rules and structures, we unconsciously complicate the Gospel and become enslaved to a blueprint that leaves few openings for the working of grace
CHAPTER THREE: IN THE LIGHT OF THE MASTER
In the Beatitudes, we find a portrait of the Master, which we are called to reflect in our daily lives.
GOING AGAINST THE FLOW: (the Beatitudes) Although Jesus’ words may strike us as poetic, they clearly run counter to the way things are usually done in our world
Wealth ensures nothing. Indeed, once we think we are rich, we can become so self-satisfied that we leave no room for God’s word, for the love of our brothers and sisters, or for the enjoyment of the most important things in life.
If we are constantly upset and impatient with others, we will end up drained and weary
Much energy is expended on fleeing from situations of suffering in the belief that reality can be concealed. But the cross can never be absent.
justice comes about in people’s lives when they themselves are just in their decisions; it is expressed in their pursuit of justice for the poor and the weak.
Mercy has two aspects. It involves giving, helping and serving others, but it also includes forgiveness and understanding.
Nothing stained by falsehood has any real worth in the Lord’s eyes.
The world of gossip, inhabited by negative and destructive people, does not bring peace. 18 Such people are really the enemies of peace; in no way are they “blessed”.
Peacemakers truly “make” peace; they build peace and friendship in society.
Persecutions are not a reality of the past, for today too we experience them, whether by the shedding of blood, as is the case with so many contemporary martyrs, or by more subtle means, by slander and lies.
THE GREAT CRITERION: If I encounter a person sleeping outdoors on a cold night, I can view him or her as an annoyance, an idler, an obstacle in my path, a troubling sight, a problem for politicians to sort out, or even a piece of refuse cluttering a public space. Or I can respond with faith and charity, and see in this person a human being with a dignity identical to my own, a creature infinitely loved by the Father, an image of God, a brother or sister redeemed by Jesus Christ.
CHAPTER FOUR: SIGNS OF HOLINESS IN TODAY’S WORLD
PERSEVERANCE, PATIENCE AND MEEKNESS:
We need to recognize and combat our aggressive and selfish inclinations, and not let them take root.
Christians too can be caught up in networks of verbal violence through the internet and the various forums of digital communication. Even in Catholic media, limits can be overstepped, defamation and slander can become commonplace, and all ethical standards and respect for the good name of others can be abandoned.
At times, precisely because someone is free of selfishness, he or she can dare to disagree gently, to demand justice or to defend the weak before the powerful, even if it may harm his or her reputation.
JOY AND A SENSE OF HUMOUR: Far from being timid, morose, acerbic or melancholy, or putting on a dreary face, the saints are joyful and full of good humour.
BOLDNESS AND PASSION: We are inspired to act by the example of all those priests, religious, and laity who devote themselves to proclamation and to serving others with great fidelity, often at the risk of their lives and certainly at the cost of their comfort.
IN COMMUNITY: A community that cherishes the little details of love, whose members care for one another and create an open and evangelizing environment, is a place where the risen Lord is present, sanctifying it in accordance with the Father’s plan.
IN CONSTANT PRAYER: Meeting Jesus in the Scriptures leads us to the Eucharist, where the written word attains its greatest efficacy, for there the living Word is truly present.
CHAPTER FIVE SPIRITUAL COMBAT, VIGILANCE AND DISCERNMENT
The Christian life is a constant battle. We need strength and courage to withstand the temptations of the devil and to proclaim the Gospel.
COMBAT AND VIGILANCE: The devil does not need to possess us. He poisons us with the venom of hatred, desolation, envy and vice.
DISCERNMENT: All of us, but especially the young, are immersed in a culture of zapping. We can navigate simultaneously on two or more screens and interact at the same time with two or three virtual scenarios. Without the wisdom of discernment, we can easily become prey to every passing trend.
MOTHER MARY: Mary our Mother does not need a flood of words. She does not need us to tell her what is happening in our lives. All we need do is whisper, time and time again: “Hail Mary…”