“Holiness is as diverse as humanity; the Lord has in mind a particular path for each believer, not just the clergy, the consecrated, or those who live a contemplative life. We are all called to holiness, whatever our role, by living our lives with love and bearing witness, and in the everyday turning to God.’… Holiness keeps you faithful to your deepest self …” (Gaudete et Exsultate)
On Monday as the Church celebrated and reflected on the great mystery of ‘The Annunciation’ (the visit of the Angel Gabriel to Mary announcing that she was to conceive the Lord), Pope Francis released to the world his new Apostolic Exhortation ‘Gaudete et Exsultate’ (Rejoice and be Glad).
One of the great reminders to the Church given by the Second Vatican Council was the ‘Universal call to holiness’; all people, in all places, in all times are called to by holy. Paragraph 40 of the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (Lumen Gentium) reminded us:
“… all the faithful of Christ of whatever rank or status, are called to the fullness of the Christian life and to the perfection of charity; …They must follow in His footsteps and conform themselves to His image seeking the will of the Father in all things. They must devote themselves with all their being to the glory of God and the service of their neighbour”
The call to holiness is especially important in today’s world where relativism and a subjective approach to who we are is dominant, and any notion of spirituality and religion is to be used to the sidelines if not completely eradicated. The culminating effect is that people are suffering a greater number of identity crises as the call to holiness is a fundamental part of what it is to be fully human.
In this exhortation Pope Francis reminds us that we are called to be saints and offers practical steps for living the Christian life in today’s world. He begins by defining what it is to be holy and reminds the reader that everyday day life is the means to holiness. A beautiful gift to the Church and the world at a time where we most need it.
The full text of the exhortation and a short explanatory video can be found by using the links below.