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"Rejoice and Be Glad": Pope Francis' Letter on Holiness

The Vatican - Pope Francis has recently published his apostolic exhortation "Gaudete et Exsultate" on the call to holiness. This 177 paragraphed papal letter explores the many aspects of holiness in our time. First our Holy Father explores the contribution of the saints and their witness among us, as well as the profound call to become a saint through such subtitles as "The Saint Next Door", "The Lord Calls", "For You Too", "Your Mission in Christ", Activity That Sanctifies", and "More Alive, More Human".

The Second Chapter explores two subtle enemies of Holiness such as Gnosticism and pelagianism. He explores many beautiful sources of "Light of the Master" through a discussion and exploration of the Beatitudes and concludes Chapter 3 with "The Great Criterion of the Spiritual and Corporal works of Mercy. He provides insight into the social needs and concerns of our time and gives a detailed rendering of "The Signs of Holiness in Today's World" in Chapter 4. He encourages "Perseverance, Patience and Meekness", "Joy and a Sense of Humour", "Boldness and Passion", and the importance of "Community" and "Constant Prayer".

Chapter 5 discusses "Spiritual Combat, Vigilance and Discernment". He ends his exhortation by requesting that these reflections be crowned by Mary because she has lived the Beatitudes, rejoiced in the presence of God, treasured all things in her heart and was pierced by the sword. She teaches us the way to holiness and she walks ever at our side. She consoles, frees and sanctifies us. Mary does not need us to tell her what is happening in our lives with lengthy explanations. All we need do is whisper, time and time again: "Hail Mary...!"

This summary is shared to encourage you to explore this most blessed Papal letter through prayerful meditation and discernment. It can be found on The Vatican website. Throughout its pages Pope Francis encourages us to continue our fervent longing to be saints.

Lord, continue to bless our journey in You and prompt our minds and hearts to always do what is pleasing and acceptable in your eyes. May all we experience and do be for your honor, glory and praise. In thanksgiving we pray: Thy perfect will be done. Amen

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Joanne Jolee