Third in a series
I PROBABLY COULD not even list all the reasons why I am so enthusiastic about Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et Exultate (“Rejoice and Be Glad”). One of the reasons I think it is such an important document is that a kind of dualism has crept into the way some Catholics think about what is and what is not holy. We throw around the word “secular” so often that we can inadvertently think that there are only particular places that are sacred and certain actions that are holy. I think Pope Francis is trying to broaden our vision and deepen our appreciation of what our faith tells us about ourselves and the mystery of the Holy Spirit’s presence in our lives. If by “secular” we mean some place in which God is not present, there is no such place.
IN THE CONTEMPORARY crisis of faith, Pope Francis speaks to all of humanity through his latest apostolic exhortation, “Gaudete et Exsultate” (“Rejoice and Be Glad”). It is his understanding of holiness, based on Ignatian spirituality. It furthers the principle he holds so dear to his ideology, that reality is greater than ideas.
We think of saints as perfect people with halos on their heads. At least that’s the way they are pictured in religious art. But in his new papal exhortation, “Gaudete et Exsultate,” Pope Francis tells us that saints are actually ordinary people, who do ordinary things, day-in and day-out.
IN REFLECTING on the experience of writing this column, I find it interesting how, without any conscious planning on my part, some themes come together in my mind.