The Bishops of England and Wales have expressed their gratitude for the reflection on holiness which the Holy Father has given in Gaudete et Exsultate, and have commended it to all those who seek wholeness and peace in their lives.
In their statement, they write: ‘Gaudete et Exsultate is a personal letter addressed to each of us, inviting us all to put God, and not ourselves, at the centre of our lives.’
‘In this simple, direct and beautiful letter, Pope Francis reminds us that holiness is not the preserve of specialists. It is for all of us, not a select few. Holiness is our destiny. It is what God has planned for us. There is nothing intimidating or overpowering about this.
‘It is in small gestures and little things that we are led to be holy. Jesus Christ not only invites us to this holiness but enables us, through his grace, to make the journey to God. This journey, although deeply personal, is never private. Our worship becomes pleasing to God when we devote ourselves to living generously. God’s gifts, granted in prayer, are seen in our concern for our brothers and sisters, particularly those most in need. We are to set out afresh to do all we can to love the least in our society and culture.
‘As we receive Gaudete et Exsultate, we commit ourselves and commend all people to be bold and courageous in the mission of the Church (GE 129) and recognise that spiritual combat and renewal are at the heart of this journey to God. We echo the Holy Father’s own prayer in seeking the intercession of Mary, our Mother, and we ask “the Holy Spirit to pour out upon us a fervent longing to be saints for God’s greater glory” (GE 177). We will continue to encourage one another, and all our people, in this effort.’