The Portal May 2018 - Page 23

THE P RTAL May 2018 Page 23 Gaudete et Exsultate Fr Michael Halsall has been reading the latest Papal document P ope Francis has published his third Apostolic Exhortation - Gaudete et Exsultate – ‘Rejoice and be glad’. The five chapter, 98-page document, can be considered something of a practical handbook on how to help us achieve holiness in the particular circumstances of our lives. Rather frustratingly (for some), the Holy Father does not seek to define holiness, but recognises it in the outworking of people’s lives. This exhortation is a call to holiness, to be like God. In this journey towards holiness there can be little room for compromise, or complacency: “The Lord asks everything of us, and in return he offers us true life, the happiness for which we were created”. A Christian cannot think of his or her mission on earth without seeing it as a path of holiness. The Holy Father expresses this in relation to the Easter mysteries: “That mission has its fullest meaning in Christ, and can only be understood through him. At its core, holiness is experiencing, in union with Christ, the mysteries of his life. It consists in uniting ourselves to the Lord’s death and resurrection in a unique and personal way, constantly dying and rising anew with him”. Here he is also intensely practical, in that this personal mission is lived out in the ordinariness – or extraordinariness – of each individual life and circumstance. We read that holiness is not just for ‘bishops, priests, or religious’, but for all, and it stems from living out our baptism – the reality of our constant dying and rising, as we place more of our trust in Him who first died and rose again. former focuses too much on intellectual ascent and human reason; the latter on our own works in order to gain salvation. Here Pope Francis gives a corrective on both, in a balanced but (allegedly) provocative manner. While recalling some of the saints’ heroic examples - including SS Francis of Assisi, John Paul II, Edith Stein, and Josephine Bakhita - Pope Francis provides advice on how we can be good Christians. The answer is clear, he says: “We have to do, each in our own way, what Jesus told us in the Sermon on the Mount.” A large part of the document is given over to applying the Beatitudes to daily living. Characteristically, Pope Francis stresses According to Pope Francis, the path to holiness has the attributes of perseverance, patience, and meekness; less to do with performing individual acts of personal joy and a sense of humour; boldness and passion; and piety (though he does not discount them), and more our community life as Christians. being “challenged to show our commitment in such a The document which stresses the need for way that everything we do has evangelical meaning and identifies us all the more with Jesus Christ … Do discernment, acknowledges also that the Christian life not be afraid of holiness … you will become what the is a battle. It notes that the devil tries to “poison with Father had in mind when he created you, and you will the venom of hatred, desolation and vice”. Our call to be faithful to your deepest self. To depend on God sets holiness, it also asserts, is a constant battle. If we do us free from every form of enslavement and leads us to not realize this, it warns, we “will be prey to failure or mediocrity”. Yet, it suggests, we can count on “the recognize our great dignity”. powerf [X\ۜ'H\][\[Y[^Y\YX[ۈZ[HHXZXYX[HوYY]][ۋX\ۙ\[ۋ]X\\XYܘ][ۋH8&Z[^܎&HH\\8'HZH۝[\]H\]XHX[[][]H]XX H[\\[[H]Y[Hو8&\[N[H[\ۘY\Hܚ][8']\^BZ\Z[H\]\[KHYHH[\وH\Z[][ H[\[[\^ Y܈ZY\H]\HY\[ݙH[[H[X[BH\]H\[[][[BHZYH\و[\˸'B\\H܈[\'KX^H]H[\ۈ[YK\\ۙHوH[X[H۝ݙ\X[\X‘ZXY[[[\\X܈و\X[[BوH[\HYܙ\[ۈ[\\ ۂ][Y[][[[[Z[\K[\^[\\و[Y[\\Y\]Y[[\X܂ق][ۜ˜[ܛX][ۈ܈Hܙ[\X]BH\^NۛX\H[[YX[\KB[\\[Y\[H][Z\[