“Do not be afraid of holiness,” Pope Francis tells us in his new apostolic exhortation, On the Call to Holiness in Today’s World (Gaudete et exsultate). Find a brief and inspiring video introduction to his message here.
Pope Francis tells us, “A Christian cannot think of his or her mission on earth without seeing it as a path of holiness” (19). “That mission has its fullest meaning in Christ, and can only be understood through him…. 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” (20).
Pope Francis continues: “You too need to see the entirety of your life as a mission. Try to do so by listening to God in prayer and recognizing the signs that he gives you. Always ask the Spirit what Jesus expects from you at every moment of your life and in every decision you must make, so as to discern its place in the mission you have received. Allow the Spirit to forge in you the personal mystery that can reflect Jesus Christ in today’s world” (23).
Pope Francis writes to each of us, those he calls “the middle class of holiness” (7). We belong to this group if we “reflect God’s presence” (7). He encourages us to live holy lives since “Holiness is the most attractive face of the Church” (9). Pope Francis uses the Beatitudes and Matthew 25 (Works of Mercy) to show us how to be holy. He also warns us to guard ourselves from the powers of evil.
As catechists and parents, your mission of holiness directly affects the children in your care. Pope Francis’s new apostolic exhortation should give you pause to consider how well your life shines the light of holiness for the children in your life. In a world and culture that pressure us to choose self over God and others, may you constantly and conscientiously choose the path of holiness.
As we endeavor to travel the path of holiness with you, we pray for you—and ask you to pray for us—so that our combined efforts may bear fruit in the lives of all children using the Gospel Weeklies.
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Image credit: M.MIGLIORATO/CPP/CIRIC