Pope Francis’ third Apostolic Exhortation titled “Gaudete et Exsultate” was published on March 19, 2018. The guiding thread of joy remains the unifying element of Pope Francis’ Magisterium, eliciting Christians’ rejoice in the encounter with the Resurrected Lord, in those who found in Him the secret of a full, accomplished and serene life. “Gaudete et Exsultate,” that somewhat echoes the Vatican II statement on the universal call to holiness, identifies in holiness the horizon of the faithful. “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 as he says to . Abraham: “Walk before me, and be blameless” (Gen 17:1).
Here is a quote from the Pope’s document: “A Christian cannot think of his or her mission on earth without seeing it as a path of holiness, for “this is the will of God, your sanctification” (1 Thess 4:3). Each saint is a mission, planned by the Father to reflect and embody, at a specific moment in history, a certain aspect of the Gospel. 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. But it can also entail reproducing in our own lives various aspects of Jesus’ earthly life: his hidden life, his life in community, his closeness to the outcast, his poverty and other ways in which he showed his self-sacrificing love.” (par 19).