02 March 2018, The Tablet

Apostolic exhortation on holiness due out at Easter

Pope Francis: 'Holiness is a gift that is offered to everyone, no one is excluded.'

Apostolic exhortation on holiness due out at Easter

Pope Francis is to release a new apostolic exhortation on holiness that will probably be signed on 19 March, the Feast of St Joseph, according to the journalist Andrea Tornielli writing in Vatican Insider. The release would mark the fifth anniversary of the Francis pontificate.

According to Vatican Insider Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, a close ally of Pope Francis, dropped the hint to the Council of Cardinals (C9), the Pope’s advisory body who held their 23rd meeting earlier  this week.

“I just heard a distant voice,” the Honduran cardinal was reported as saying, “who says that the Pope is preparing a beautiful document on holiness. We are all called to holiness; if we do not listen to this call reform does not happen.”

The exhortation would be released around Easter time, when translations are finalised. It would be shorter than Evangelii gaudium (2013), which set out a programme for the pontificate and Amoris laetitia (2016), the exhortation on the family.

Speaking about holiness at the general audience on 19 November 2014, Francis said: “Holiness is not something we obtain from ourselves, with our qualities and our abilities. Holiness is a gift that the Lord Jesus gives us. When he takes us with him and clothes us with himself, he makes us like him.”

He continued: “Holiness is a gift that is offered to everyone, no one is excluded; it constitutes the distinctive character of every Christian.” To be saints, he said, “we do not necessarily have to be bishops, priests or Religious”, or like those who are able to “detach themselves from ordinary matters, to dedicate themselves exclusively to prayer”. 

“It is precisely by living with love and by offering our Christian witness in the daily occupations that we are called to become saints,” he said. “When the Lord invites us to become saints,” the Pope said on 19 November, “he does not call us to something heavy, sad ... Far from it! It is an invitation to share his joy, to live and to offer joyfully every moment of our life, making it become at the same time a gift of love for the people around us.”

Pic: Pope Francis at confession in public at Saint Peter's basilica, Vatican on March 28, 2014. Photo by ABACAPRESS.COM/PA

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