Reflection on Pope's Latest Teaching Document
by Diocese of Des Moines | April 10, 2018
Written by Adam Storey
On Monday, the pope released a new teaching document (called an apostolic exhortation), he named Rejoice and Be Glad (Gaudete et Exsultate), which he described as a practical call to holiness for the Universal Church. This beautiful, and short, exhortation has words of wisdom for all of us, but I think it is particularly rich for our families. The pope wrote that he likes 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” (7).
Often times when we think of holiness, we think of monasteries and mystics, we think of all night vigils and extreme penances. In Rejoice and be Glad, Pope Francis offers us a more practical and immediate vision of holiness. One in which holiness is found in the details (144), in being stretched by others (141), in silent discernment (150) and in our daily mission (23). Pope Francis is reminding us that we are all called to be saints, we are called to share in God’s own life, and that this communion with God happens in the everyday, mundane, ordinary circumstances that we find ourselves in.
I believe in this vision of holiness because I have experienced it. I’ve watched my wife grow in holiness as she gets up at 1 a.m. to retrieve a missing pacifier (and 2 a.m., and 3 a.m., and 3:13 a.m…) I’ve experienced God’s loving gaze through my children, whose depth of love and simplicity is staggering. And I’ve seen my own heart be purified through the daily annoyances and obligations that come from living in a community.
God is present in our homes, in every home and in every situation. He accompanies us at all times, and he desires to share his own life with us. I am not a saint yet, not even close, but I pray that through God’s grace I someday will be. In our diocese let’s pray for the sanctification of all our families. The world need saints, and the Lord has a plan to make each of us one. Let us say yes to this beautiful invitation!