Pope Francis Teaches Holiness: Gaudete et Exsultate Study Guide

Pope Francis Teaches Holiness: Gaudete et Exsultate Study Guide August 18, 2018
Photo by Ravi Roshan on Unsplash
Photo by Ravi Roshan on Unsplash

Recently Pope Francis wrote a document on how we can all be holy called Gaudete et Exsultate (Rejoice and Be Glad). I produced a study guide to help you if you want to read or discuss it. It has a lot to teach us all. I want to share with you a few points from it to give you a summary and encourage you to read it yourself. I highly recommend reading Gaudete et Exsultate.

Summary / Introduction:

As an apostolic exhortation, Gaudete et Exsultate is a letter to the whole world on a specific theme: in this case it is “On the call to holiness in today’s world.” As such, Francis is speaking individually to each person or each community on holiness and not speaking of larger geopolitical issues. It is a summary of what is often called “spiritual theology” which is not dogma but the path we should all follow to become holy.

The title means “Rejoice and be glad” and is taken from Matthew 5:12. The title is also the first words of the document, “Jesus tells those persecuted or humiliated for his sake, ‘Rejoice and be Glad.’” Francis’s goal is to show us both the happiness of a holy Christian life and call us to live up the demands that life entails.

Each chapter includes a chapter summary and questions. Here is part of chapter 3.

This chapter is the central chapter of this document. It consists of a small and a big meditation on Scripture applied to our lives. The first and larger meditation is based on the beatitudes, and the second shorter meditation is based on the final judgement in Matthew 25. Each of these tries to draw out the various lines of Jesus like “Blessed are those who mourn,” or “I was thirsty and you gave me to drink.” This is the longest and most beautiful chapter so if you want to take two sessions for this chapter, it’s fine.

1. Why does Francis say, “The Beatitudes are like a Christian’s identity card”? What does he mean? (63)

2. Optional: What are the various words that are synonyms for “Blessed” in the beatitudes?

3. What direction do the beatitudes push us in? What do they ask of us? (65–66)

4. What truths does Francis draw out of “Blessed are the poor in spirit”? Where does he suggest security be put? How does he compare earthly wealth to the God’s word? How does he relate “poor” and “poverty of spirit”? (67–70)

5. How does Francis approach the beatitude of “Blessed are the meek”? What tendencies does this beatitude counter? How does this related to Jesus’ revelation that he is “gentle and humble of heart”? How does this relate to other Biblical concepts like the gifts of the Holy Spirit or the poor faithful remnant? (71–74)

If you are interested, please go and read the whole guide.

You can also read some key quotes from Gaudete et Exsultate that I collected into two columns (Part 1, Part 2).

Note: I know I haven’t been posting much. I was on vacation this week and am working on a few pieces for later.


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