Rejoice and Be Glad ~ Chapter 1
As we embark on the first chapter of Pope Francis' Gaudete et Exsultate - Rejoice and be Glad you are invited to begin by reflecting on what comes to mind when you hear the word 'holiness'? With this question in mind download the pptx file below, open the file, click on 'slideshow' and 'from beginning'.
What were your reactions to the video images? which corresponded to your sense of holiness? Which surprised you? Which challenged you?
In #7 of the exhortation we read:
" 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. Very often it is a holiness found in our next-door neighbours, those who, living in our midst, reflect God’s presence. We might call them “the middle class of holiness”.
How do you feel called to view the idea of holiness through different eyes as a result of Pope Francis' words?
In #14 Pope Francis reminds us that “we are called to be holy by living our lives with love and by bearing witness in everything we do, wherever we find ourselves.”
Where are the places in your life that you feel you are most able to answer this call to holiness? Where are the places in your life that you find it most difficult?
In #11 the Pope reminds us of our unique call to holiness which is also reflected in the song 'The Saint That Is Just Me'.
"We should not grow discouraged before examples of holiness that appear unattainable. There are some testimonies that may prove helpful and inspiring, but that we are not meant to copy, for that could even lead us astray from the one specific path that the Lord has in mind for us. The important thing is that each believer discern his or her own path, that they bring out the very best of themselves, the most personal gifts that God has placed in their hearts (cf. 1 Cor 12:7), rather than hopelessly trying to imitate something not meant for them. We are all called to be witnesses, but there are many actual ways of bearing witness."
So fittingly the Pope ends chapter one with these beautiful words:
"Do not be afraid to set your sights higher, to allow yourself to be loved and liberated by God. Do not be afraid to let yourself be guided by the Holy Spirit. Holiness does not make you less human, since it is an encounter between your weakness and the power of God’s grace. For in the words of León Bloy, when all is said and done, “the only great tragedy in life, is not to become a saint”.