Pope Francis’ new apostolic exhortation, “Gaudete et Exsultate,”
starkly challenges today’s Christians to take the dignity of all human life seriously, viewing it in light of Christ’s incarnation.
The pope offers a road map for simple ways that everyday people can be holy.
He also reflects on the Sermon on the Mount and asks people to go beyond the poetry found in the beatitudes.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Pope Francis outlines five spiritual attitudes necessary when striving for lives of holiness. They are “signs of holiness in today’s world” and “five great expressions of love for God and neighbor,” he wrote.
• Perseverance, patience and meekness
These three qualities demonstrate “solid grounding in the God who loves us” and form an inner strength that “enables us to persevere amid life’s ups and downs,” Pope Francis said.
• Joy and a sense of humor
“Christian joy is usually accompanied by a sense of humor,” the pope said. “The saints are joyful and full of good humor,” far from “putting on a dreary face,” he said.
• Boldness and passion
“Look at Jesus. His deep compassion … did not make him hesitant, timid or self-conscious as often happens with us. Quite the opposite,” Pope Francis wrote.
“Growing in holiness is a journey in community, side by side with others. … A community that cherishes the little details of love, whose members care for one another and create an open and evangelizing environment, is a place where the risen Lord is present,” the pope said.
• Constant prayer
“Are there moments when you place yourself quietly in the Lord’s presence, when you calmly spend time with him, when you bask in his gaze?” Pope Francis asked in the exhortation. “In that silence, we can discern, in the light of the Spirit, the paths of holiness to which the Lord is calling us.”