Early last year Pope Francis released an Apostolic Exhortation known by its opening words Gaudete Exsultate (Rejoice and be Glad) It is a call to holiness in today’s world. It is an important letter but as with all papal documents it is not always easy to read. So, the diocese has offered bite size portions which will be printed periodically on the back page of the newsletter for your personal reflection and prayer.
The first instalment follows below. The numerals refer to the paragraph numbers in the original document but do not necessarily quote the whole paragraph. It would be advantageous to refer to the biblical quotations.
1 Rejoice and be glad (Mt 5:12), Jesus tells those persecuted or humiliated for his sake. The Lord asks everything of us, and in return he offers us true life, the happiness for which we were created. He wants us to be saints and not to settle for a bland and mediocre existence. The call to holiness is present in various ways from the very first pages of the Bible. We see it expressed in the Lord’s words to Abraham: “Walk before me, and be blameless” (Gen 17:1).
2 The Letter to the Hebrews presents a number of testimonies that encourage us to “run with perseverance the race that is set before us” (12:1). It speaks of Abraham, Sarah, Moses, Gideon and others (cf. 11:1-12:3). Above all, it invites us to realise that “a great cloud of witnesses” (12:1) impels us to advance constantly towards the goal. These witnesses may include our own mothers, grandmothers or other loved ones (cf. 2 Tim 1:5). Their lives may not always have been perfect, yet even amid their faults and failings they kept moving forward and proved pleasing to the Lord.
Points to ponder or discuss: Who are the witnesses among our own family and friends who inspire us? What is it about them?