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Statement of Bishop Daniel E. Thomas on Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate; R

In his new Apostolic Exhortation, “Rejoice and Be Glad: On the Call to Holiness in Today’s World,” Pope Francis has provided a practical guide for all people to embrace the call to holiness that the Lord addresses to each of us personally. The Lord “wants us to be saints and not to settle for a bland and mediocre existence,” the Pope writes.

In this Easter time as we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection from the dead, the very title of the exhortation, “Rejoice and Be Glad,” reminds us that “the Lord asks everything of us, and in return he offers us true life, the happiness for which we were created.”

The Holy Father underlines the Second Vatican Council’s teaching of the universal call to holiness, and at the same time identifies two perennial “subtle enemies” of that holiness, which can “weigh down the Church” and block her progress by seeking salvation not through Christ, but through one’s own ideas or human efforts alone. True progress on life’s journey is marked by key expressions of holiness: perseverance, patience, meekness, joy, humor, boldness, passion, a sense of community, and constant prayer.

Reminding the faithful that “Christianity is meant above all to be put into practice,” Pope Francis provides direct and concrete examples on how this can be done by highlighting what he calls the “Christian’s identity card:” the Beatitudes found in the Gospels (Mt 5:3-12; Lk 6:20-23). Living an authentic Christian life means being engaged in a spiritual combat requiring vigilance and discernment.  The Holy Father affirms: “We need strength and courage to withstand the temptations of the devil and to proclaim the Gospel.”

“Rejoice and Be Glad!”  We rejoice that the mission and vision of the Diocese of Toledo to foster holy disciples, holy families, and holy vocations is renewed and confirmed in this Apostolic Exhortation.  I invite all Catholics and all people of good will to embrace Pope Francis’ call with the intent of striving more fervently to grow in holiness in our ordinary daily lives.    

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The text of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate; Rejoice and Be Glad, may be found here: http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/apost_exhortations/documents/papa-francesco_esortazione-ap_20180319_gaudete-et-exsultate.html