Gaudete et Exultate
By Evan Cummings, Paulist Seminarian
Father Isaac Hecker, founder of the Paulist Fathers, once wrote that:
Through the new Papal exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate (Rejoice and Be Glad), Pope Francis delivers a powerful reminder to the whole Church of this same call to holiness, reminding us that “[God] wants us to be saints” (§ 1) and that this will lead us to true happiness.
Holiness is built up over time through small actions such as caring for our loved ones even when we are tired. Holiness is found in living out the Beatitudes in our world today. To be holy does not mean running away from the world, but rather, by letting God’s grace touch the world through us. We don’t have to become someone we are not, we are instead called to be our authentic selves in love.
Pope Francis also reminds us that this holy life is not a boring, painful existence, but a life of joy, “the saints are joyful and full of good humor” (§ 122). This joy is not a passing happiness or the pleasure that the consumerist world offers us, but a lasting and infectious joy that fills us to the core! “[This] joy brings deep security, serene hope and a spiritual fulfillment that the world cannot understand or appreciate” (§ 125).
Pope Francis’s new exhortation is not naive about the struggles of holiness. He recognizes that there are many obstacles to holiness such as indifference, a lust for power, and over-emphasized individualism. However, in overcoming these obstacles and becoming a holy people of God, Pope Francis reminds us that our lives will transform the world. In being a holy people, we evangelize, we share the joy and good news of a life in Christ with the world.
Evan Cummings is a seminarian with the Paulist Fathers finishing his fifth year of formation in Washington, DC. Evan originally hails from Clearfield, Utah, and originally encountered the Paulists through the internet and felt called to the mission of evangelizing America. He hopes to continue to use media and technology to reach others and help them grow in their faith and holiness.