Following Mary’s example, the contemplative is a person centred in God. (VDQ 10)

Gaudete et exsultate




            “Rejoice and be glad!” urges our Holy Father, Pope Francis, as he exhorts us to a life of sanctity.

              God summons us to come, to choose and freely accept this challenge.


      As always, the words of the Pope are clear, simple, and direct and we need not hesitate in receiving this text as a personal invitation. “Each in his or her own way …. The important thing is that each believer discerns his or her own path, that they bring out the very best of themselves … rather than hopelessly trying to imitate something not meant for them.” (11)
In Carmel, we have yet another reason to make 'Gaudete et exsultate' a "must" spiritual reading. Our Carmelite saints are quoted abundantly and summoned as witnesses to a call to holiness, "that unique and mysterious plan that God has for each of us, which takes shape amid so many varied situations and limitations." (170)

      Our Holy Mother Saint Teresa is quoted with her famous 'definition' of prayer which “is nothing but friendly intercourse, and frequent solitary converse, with him who we know loves us… I would insist that this is true not only for a privileged few …” then insisting - and this was Saint Teresa's intended ... “We all have need of this silence, filled with the presence of him who is adored”. (149)

      Saint John of the Cross is alluded to four times: (11) to clarify how the divine life communicates itself in a way always adapted to each, (117) emphasizing, in contrast, to those who find it satisfying in always giving lessons to others and that such souls are on the wrong path, (141) concerning the journey to holiness as lived in community (148) and recommending us to live in a state of constant prayer, as in fact there is "no holiness without prayer".

      St. Teresa of Avila and St. Teresa of Lisieux are both quoted among the women in whom the « feminine genius » i.e. the existential uniqueness of feminine identity, not as a woman’s “role” but rather as a state of “being”, is particularly manifested. Being a mother and wife, or single, or one called to the religious life, there is indeed a model to emulate: The Immaculate, who walks with as she leads us to Jesus. St. Therese of Lisieux is quoted three more times in (52), as the holy doctor of the Church witnessing to grace, a gift that we will never deserve, yet she reassures us that "in the evening of this life I will appear before you with empty hands ...". Again in (72) in the commentary of the second Beatitude " Blessed are the meek ": "the perfect charity is to support the defects of others, not to be surprised at their weaknesses" and finally at (145) the Holy Father quotes at some length the story that Therese gives of her service of kindness to Sister Mary of St Peter and the happiness which suddenly invades her, like a foretaste of Heaven.

     St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross (Edith Stein) is also quoted regarding those un-canonized saints not found in any book of saints, rather those saintly people who simply manifest holiness in quiet and ordinary ways. … "It is only when we will be manifested that we will be indebted for the decisive turning points of our personal life". (8)

     With our Carmelite saints and all the others, those who extend to us with outstretched arms, to enter with "boldness and fervor" in the mission entrusted to us in our Baptism: nothing less than the very holiness of God which He offers us as a gift!

      To read the text of the exhortation : [link] 


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