Pope Francis released an Apostolic Exhortation today, on the observed Feast of the Annunciation, Gaudete et exsultate: On the call to holiness in today’s world. He writes that he does not intend the document to be a “treatise.” Rather, “My modest goal is to repropose the call to holiness in a practical way for our own time, with all its risks, challenges and opportunities.”
He notes that holiness grows through “small gestures” and is for each of us: “We are frequently tempted to think that holiness is only for those who can withdraw from ordinary affairs to spend much time in prayer. That is not the case. We are all called to be holy by living our lives with love and by bearing witness in everything we do, wherever we find ourselves.” (14)
In the central portion of the document, he discusses each of the Beatitudes, which are, he writes, “Like a Christian’s identity card. So if anyone asks: ‘What must one do to be a good Christian?’, the answer is clear. We have to do, each in our own way, what Jesus told us in the Sermon on the Mount. In the Beatitudes, we find a portrait of the Master, which we are called to reflect in our daily lives.
“The word ‘happy’ or ‘blessed’ thus becomes a synonym for ‘holy.’ It expresses the fact that those faithful to God and his word, by their self-giving, gain true happiness.” (para. 64)