Pope Francis has recently issued an apostolic exhortation. For anyone not sure what an apostolic exhortation is, it is in essence a letter from the Pope that encourages people to undertake a particular activity but doesn’t define Church doctrine. In this recent apostolic exhortation, Gaudete et Exsultate Pope Francis writes of what it means to be holy, and what true holiness looks like.
Both staff and students have been learning about and reflecting on the wisdom contained within Gaudete et Exsultate this week and praying for the courage to strive to live lives of holiness.
Some of the quotes from Gaudete et Exsultate that we’ve been reflecting on:
“To be holy does not require being a bishop, a priest or a religious. We are frequently tempted to think that holiness is only for those who can withdraw from ordinary affairs to spend much time in prayer. That is not the case. We are all called to be holy by living our lives with love and by bearing witness in everything we do, wherever we find ourselves.”
“You need to see the entirety of your life as a mission. Try to do so by listening to God in prayer and recognizing the signs that he gives you. Always ask the Spirit what Jesus expects from you at every moment of your life and in every decision you must make, so as to discern its place in the mission you have received. Allow the Spirit to forge in you the personal mystery that can reflect Jesus Christ in today’s world.”
“Do not be afraid of holiness. It will take away none of your energy, vitality or joy. On the contrary, you will become what the Father had in mind when he created you, and you will be faithful to your deepest self. To depend on God sets us free from every form of enslavement and leads us to recognize our great dignity.”
“Do not be afraid to set your sights higher, to allow yourself to be loved and liberated by God. Do not be afraid to let yourself be guided by the Holy Spirit. Holiness does not make you less human, since it is an encounter between your weakness and the power of God’s grace. For in the words of León Bloy, when all is said and done, “the only great tragedy in life, is not to become a saint”.