Pope Francis’ new exhortation is a call to become holy by serving others.

Christians cannot quest for holiness with prayer alone but must strive to serve those most in need, particularly migrants “who risk their lives to offer a future to their children,” Pope Francis says in a new major teaching document.

In an often-poetic 98-page apostolic exhortation focused on how Christians can be holy in today’s world, the pontiff says the most basic teaching handed on by Jesus is to help others, “without any ‘ifs or buts.'”

At the heart of the new papal letter, titled Gaudete et Exsultate (“Rejoice and Be Glad”) is a reflection on the great criterion Jesus said will be used at the final judgment: “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.”

“Given these uncompromising demands of Jesus, it is my duty to ask Christians to acknowledge and accept them in a spirit of genuine openness, sine glossa,” the pontiff states at one point in the letter. “Our Lord made it very clear that holiness cannot be understood or lived apart from these demands.”

The full text of “Gaudete et Exsultate” can be found here:


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