Pope Francis has written another Apostolic Exhortation, this one on the universal call to holiness, called Gaudete et Exsultate, which takes its title from the words of Jesus in the sermon on the mount as recorded in the Gospel according to St Matthew – “REJOICE AND BE GLAD” (Mt 5:12). Jesus tells those persecuted or humiliated for his sake. The Lord asks everything of us, and in return he offers us true life, the happiness for which we were created. He wants us to be saints and not to settle for a bland and mediocre existence. The call to holiness is present in various ways from the very first pages of the Bible. We see it expressed in the Lord’s words to Abraham: “Walk before me and be blameless” (Gen 17:1).
Pope Francis says “what follows is not meant to be a treatise on holiness, containing definitions and distinctions helpful for understanding this important subject, or a discussion of the various means of sanctification. My modest goal is to repropose the call to holiness in a practical way for our own time, with all its risks, challenges and opportunities. For the Lord has chosen each one of us ‘to be holy and blameless before him in love’ (Eph 1:4).”
In the following weeks we will look at some of the messages given in the five chapters.