Pope Francis issues exhortation on holiness

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Pope Francis issued an apostolic exhortation on holiness called Gaudete et Exsultate (Rejoice and Be Glad).

The document is rich in guidance on how to answer the call to holiness in a world filled with distractions, consumerism and hedonism. Frequently, the Pope stresses the importance of prayer and worship, but gives greater emphasis to acts of love and mercy toward one’s neighbor, especially the poor and those on the periphery.

In one particularly notable section, the Pope stresses that “equally sacred” to defending the lives of the unborn are the lives of the poor, the elderly exposed to “covert euthanasia” and those facing “every form of rejection.”

As with every apostolic exhortation or letter, the document begins with its title: “Rejoice and be glad” — Jesus’ words to 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,” the Pope begins. “He wants us to be saints and not to settle for a bland and mediocre existence,” and he reminds the faithful that the call to holiness “is present in various ways from the very first pages of the Bible.”

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