On ‘Gaudete et Exsultate’

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The goal of an apostolic exhortation is to encourage — literally, to “give courage.” In his new apostolic exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate” (“Rejoice and Be Glad”)Pope Francis achieves this goal by calling us to renewed boldness and courage to pursue holiness. “The only great tragedy in life,” our Holy Father reminds us in the words of Leon Bloy, “is not to become a saint.”

In timely, candid, and welcoming words, our Holy Father invites all of us to examine and discern the concrete “risks, challenges and opportunities” which we experience as we attempt to answer the call to holiness. He confidently and joyfully reflects on the places in our everyday lives where this call to holiness is tested, including our families, communities, Church, and use of digital media.

Pope Francis acknowledges that the call to holiness is a “constant battle” against the temptations and false promises of the devil. From such temptations he invites us to set our “sights higher” with renewed commitment to daily prayer and examination of conscience, the Eucharist, an “attitude of listening,” works of mercy, joy, community, and an “austere life.” In our radical openness to God, he writes that no areas can be off limits. 

I respectfully encourage all the faithful in the Diocese of Arlington to read prayerfully Pope Francis’ new exhortation. Open your heart anew to the Lord and allow him to renew in you a desire to strive for holiness each and every day as you rely on God’s grace and the help of Our Blessed Mother. For then we will have every reason “to rejoice and be glad.”

© Arlington Catholic Herald 2018