New apostolic exhortation released

A new apostolic exhortation has been released by the Vatican.

An apostolic exhortation is considered one of the highest ranking papal documents after Encyclical Letters.

The latest exhortation, Gaudete et Exsultate (“Rejoice and be glad”), focuses on the call to holiness in the contemporary world.

The exhortation’s title comes from the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:12).

This says: “Rejoice and be glad for your reward will be great in heaven.”

The exhortation is subtitled: “On the call to holiness in the contemporary world.”

Since his election as Pope, Francis has issued two other exhortations: “Evangelii Gaudium” in 2013 and “Amoris Laetitia” in 2016.

He has often spoken of the call to sainthood.

On one occasion in St Peter’s Square, he said: “Sanctity is not something we can procure for ourselves, that we can obtain by our own qualities and abilities.

“Sanctity is a gift, it is a gift granted to us by the Lord Jesus when He takes us to Himself and clothes us in Himself, He makes us like Him.”

He also pointed out sanctity “is not a prerogative of the few” but a gift offered to all.

Francis says we don’t have to be bishops, priests or religious, or to lead a life dedicated exclusively to prayer.

Rather, he suggests, we are all called to sainthood, regardless of our life status.

This means consecrated people can be saints by living out their donation and ministry with joy.

Married people can be saints by loving and taking care of their husband or wife, as Christ did for the Church.

Unmarried baptised people can be saints he says, by carrying out their work with honesty and competence and by offering time in the service of their brothers and sisters.

Some snippets from “Rejoice and be glad”.

  • Fighting abortion and poverty are equally sacred causes
  • Christians must acknowledge and accept Jesus’ command to feed the hungry and welcome the stranger
  • Helping migrants cannot be seen as a lesser issue; the only proper attitude is to stand in the shoes of those brothers and sisters of ours.
  • Holiness means loving, not boring.
  • Holiness is present in people, in 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.
  • Holiness is not based on prayer alone but on also serving those in need and in self-control.
  • Contrary to the promptings of the Spirit, the life of the Church can become a museum piece or the possession of a select few,” the pope writes. “This can occur when some groups of Christians give excessive importance to certain rules, customs…”
  • Francis does not believe in holiness without prayer, even
    though that prayer need not be lengthy or involve intense emotions.



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News category: World.

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