Rejoice and be Glad.[i]
The Vatican has just released “APOSTOLIC EXHORTATION GAUDETE ET EXSULTATE
OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS ON THE CALL TO HOLINESSIN TODAY’S WORLD.” (End note 1). I recommend any serious Catholic read it now before reading any further here!
What could I possible write that would be better stated or more informed than the Holy Father? Yes, that is a rhetorical question. No answer needed please. If you are not a serious Catholic I would advise the same direction if you are interested in living a holy life. I would also advise the same for the curious or the atheist – 1.2 billion people, many of them your neighbors, are Catholic.
I have read the document hot of the press this evening as an alternative to the latest Donald Trump news cycle. It is short and to the point. It covers many of the themes covered in my ongoing review of Dietrich Von Hildebrand: Transformation in Christ 300 plus page thesis in simple layman’s language. I had to break from this review to provide this timely piece from our Holy Father. His work speaks to our foundational spiritual formation and may intuit spiritual direction and reflection along the way.
It celebrates the anonymous spiritual warriors, the saint’s next door, and their invisible acts of love, kindness and mercy that may never be validated or honored in our worldly view. It calls you to live and pursue a sanctified life while acknowledging the impossibility of achieving in the smallest act of holiness without God’s grace.
Unfortunately the vast majority of Catholics will not read the original and practically no non-believers. Yet all will see the “document” described through a secular lens of our newspapers and media. The Washington Post today sensationalized it with excerpts of the value scale of abortion relative to other Catholic Social values and places the piece squarely in the political scene of both American politics and internal church divides:
“The document, titled “Gaudete et Exsultate” (Latin for “Rejoice and Be Glad”), is Francis’s latest major publication in his five-year papacy, following works on the environment and the family that each made waves in the church. This apostolic exhortation takes up a broader theme, holiness, but some church scholars quickly read the new work as an implied response to the pope’s conservative critics.”[ii]
The surface review, however accurate about the human side of our religious institution and political landscape, misses the mark on the authenticity and call to Holiness detailed in this remarkable document. I am happy that the Pope’s publication receives front page press attention and coverage. It is up to the readers to take the next step and dive into the source document!
The signs of Holiness in today’s world are especially insightful. One of my many takeaways is sharing “Joy and a Sense of Humor.” Radiating a positive and hopeful spirit is sometimes an area where I can do more to reflect my faith accurately and the blessings I have received! The second take away as it may challenge your beliefs and comfort level – our faith is not a closed system but a living and growing faith.
The beatitudes are not easy to apply in today’s world all the time. Sometimes the pain and sacrifice called for will challenge us to the core. Other times the mystery and unfairness of life will strain our faith.
Thanks for visiting my blog. Pope Francis exhortation below. Feel free to leave comments and have a peaceful and insightful read of the exhortation!