Holiness isn't out of reach

Pope Francis greets the crowd during his general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican April 11. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)

On April 9, Pope Francis released a new apostolic exhortation, “Gaudete et Exsultate,” which joyfully re-proposes the universal call to holiness, renewing and reinforcing a significant theme of Vatican II.

The exhortation is, above all, a practical guide. The pope tells us that holiness is not a goal that is out of reach for the people of God but is something we can find in abundance “next door.”

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Pope Francis emphasizes the importance of discernment, “small gestures” and daily attention to the task of holiness. His distinctively Jesuit approach is both programmatic and personal, challenging all Catholics, especially those already in tune with his papacy, to consider how they might deepen their cooperation with God.

“Do not be afraid to set your sights higher, to allow yourself to be loved and liberated by God,” he writes. “Holiness does not make you less human, since it is an encounter between your weakness and the power of God’s grace” (No. 34).

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