Pope Francis’ 2018 document “Gaudete et Exsultate”
On April 9, 2018 Pope Francis released his latest Apostolic Exhortation “Gaudete et Exsultate: On the Call to Holiness in Today’s World.” In this document Pope Francis tells us that:
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).
While this is not a social teaching of the Church this document offers many great practical suggestions for our own spiritual and moral development. However even in presenting us with this important emphasis Pope Francis reminds us that our pursuit of holiness is not completely authentic if it does not engage in social issues that violate the dignity of the human person.
Our defense of the innocent unborn, for example, needs to be clear, firm and passionate, for at stake is the dignity of a human life, which is always sacred and demands love for each person, regardless of his or her stage of development. Equally sacred, however, are the lives of the poor, those already born, the destitute, the abandoned and the underprivileged, the vulnerable infirm and elderly exposed to covert euthanasia, the victims of human trafficking, new forms of slavery, and every form of rejection. We cannot uphold an ideal of holiness that would ignore injustice in a world where some revel, spend with abandon and live only for the latest consumer goods, even as others look on from afar, living their entire lives in abject poverty.
The following article, Top Five Takeaways from ‘Gaudate et Exsultate’ and accompanying video by Fr. James Martin SJ highlight some important elements of this document. They are:
- Holiness means being yourself
- Everyday life can lead to holiness
- Two tendencies to avoid: Gnosticism and Pelagianism
- Be kind
- The Beatitudes are a roadmap for holiness