Steps on path to holiness: charity, joy and humour

The apostolic exhortation was released yesterday (Vatican News)

Pope Francis says the path to holiness consists in daily acts of charity, joy and a sense of humour while warning Catholics against ideologies that suggest God’s grace is controlled by doctrine. Source: The Tablet.

In a new apostolic exhortation, Gaudete et Exsultate – Rejoice and be Glad – released yesterday, Francis calls on Catholics to follow Jesus’ beatitudes through serving the marginalised, the poor and migrants, while offering an unequivocal defence of the child in the womb.

“Our defence of the innocent unborn needs to be clear, firm and passionate, for at stake is the dignity of a human life, which is always sacred and demands love for each person, regardless of his or her stage of development,” he writes.

“Equally sacred, however, are the lives of the poor, those already born, the destitute, the abandoned and the underprivileged, the vulnerable infirm and elderly exposed to covert euthanasia, the victims of human trafficking, new forms of slavery, and every form of rejection.”

In the exhortation, Francis criticises those who describe the plight of migrants as a “secondary issue” compared to “grave bioethical issues”, saying they have adopted an attitude akin to a “politician looking for votes”. The attitude of a Christian, the Pope explains, is “to stand in the shoes of those brothers and sisters of ours who risk their lives to offer a future to their children.”

The exhortation urges each Catholic not to try and copy the saints but to discover their own path to holiness, safe in the knowledge that those who have gone before them are carrying them forward.

For Francis, sanctity is discovered through daily life which he describes as the “middle class of holiness”. Husbands and wives become holy by caring for each other, as do parents sacrificing time to listen to their child and employees acting with integrity.

To be holy, the Pope writes, it is important to avoid two contemporary versions of old heresies: Pelagianism, a belief that God’s grace is attained through our own effort, and Gnosticism, where special knowledge makes people “judge others based on their ability to understand certain doctrines”.

FULL STORY

Pope calls on Catholics to follow path to Christian holiness (The Tablet)

Gaudete et Exsultate full text (The Holy See)

RELATED COVERAGE

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A guide to Christianity for the 21st Century: the new Apostolic Exhortation of Pope Francis (Vatican News)

Pope Francis offers practical steps to holiness in new exhortation (Catholic Herald)

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