Here is a selection of quotations from the Pope’s apostolic exhortation on holiness "Gaudete et Exsultate" ("Rejoice and Be Glad"), which was released on Monday. Read the full text of the Pope’s apostolic exhortation.
On being holy:
- "This holiness to which the Lord calls you will grow through small gestures."
- "Do not be afraid of holiness. It will take away none of your energy, vitality or joy."
- "Thanks be to God, throughout the history of the church it has always been clear that a person's perfection is measured not by the information or knowledge they possess, but by the depth of their charity."
- "We need to think of ourselves as an army of the forgiven. All of us have been looked upon with divine compassion."
- "The saints do not waste energy complaining about the failings of others; they can hold their tongue before the faults of their brothers and sisters and avoid the verbal violence that demeans and mistreats others."
- "I do not believe in holiness without prayer, even though that prayer need not be lengthy or involve intense emotions."
- "Needless to say, anything done out of anxiety, pride or the need to impress others will not lead to holiness."
- "Let us listen once more to Jesus, with all the love and respect that the Master deserves. Let us allow his words to unsettle us, to challenge us and to demand a real change in the way we live. Otherwise, holiness will remain no more than an empty word."
- "Discernment is not about discovering what more we can get out of this life, but about recognising how we can better accomplish the mission entrusted to us at our baptism."
- "Let us ask the Holy Spirit to pour out upon us a fervent longing to be saints for God's greater glory, and let us encourage one another in this effort."
- "You too need to see the entirety of your life as a mission. Try to do so by listening to God in prayer and recognising 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."
- "The same distractions that are omnipresent in today’s world also make us tend to absolutize our free time, so that we can give ourselves over completely to the devices that provide us with entertainment or ephemeral pleasures. As a result, we come to resent our mission, our commitment grows slack, and our generous and ready spirit of service begins to flag. This denatures our spiritual experience. Can any spiritual fervour be sound when it dwells alongside sloth in evangelisation or in service to others?"
- "It is true that the primacy belongs to our relationship with God, but we cannot forget that the ultimate criterion on which our lives will be judged is what we have done for others."
- "I like to contemplate the holiness present in the patience of God’s people: in those parents who raise their children with immense love, in those men and women who work hard to support their families, in the sick, in elderly religious who never lose their smile. In their daily perseverance I see the holiness of the Church militant."
- "A community that cherishes the little details of love, whose members care for one another and create an open and evangelising environment, is a place where the risen Lord is present, sanctifying it in accordance with the Father's plan."
- "We should not think of the devil as a myth, a representation, a symbol, a figure of speech or an idea. This mistake would lead us to let down our guard, to grow careless and end up more vulnerable."
- "The devil does not need to possess us. He poisons us with the venom of hatred, desolation, envy and vice. When we let down our guard, he takes advantage of it to destroy our lives, our families and our communities."
On the media:
- "Christians too can be caught up in networks of verbal violence through the internet and the various forums of digital communication. Even in Catholic media, limits can be overstepped, defamation and slander can become commonplace, and all ethical standards and respect for the good name of others can be abandoned."
- "Similarly, when we allow ourselves to be caught up in superficial information, instant communication and virtual reality, we can waste precious time and become indifferent to the suffering flesh of our brothers and sisters. Yet even amid this whirlwind of activity, the Gospel continues to resound, offering us the promise of a different life, a healthier and happier life."
On the sanctity of life:
- "We often hear it said that, with respect to relativism and the flaws of our present world, the situation of migrants, for example, is a lesser issue. Some Catholics consider it a secondary issue compared to the 'grave' bioethical questions. That a politician looking for votes might say such a thing is understandable, but not a Christian, for whom the only proper attitude is to stand in the shoes of those brothers and sisters of ours who risk their lives to offer a future to their children."
- "Our defence of the innocent unborn, for example, 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. 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."
- "Within these various forms, I would stress too that the 'genius of woman' is seen in feminine styles of holiness, which are an essential means of reflecting God’s holiness in this world. Indeed, in times when women tended to be most ignored or overlooked, the Holy Spirit raised up saints whose attractiveness produced new spiritual vigour and important reforms in the Church. We can mention Saint Hildegard of Bingen, Saint Bridget, Saint Catherine of Siena, Saint Teresa of Avila and Saint Thérèse of Lisieux. But I think too of all those unknown or forgotten women who, each in her own way, sustained and transformed families and communities by the power of their witness."
Picture: A journalist reads the apostolic exhortation on holiness at the press office of the Holy See in the Vatican ahead of the document's launch on Monday 9 April 2018. Image/PA