|St. Francis Center for Renewal|
Rejoice & be Glad!
In his 2018 Apostolic Exhortation, Pope Francis commented on each of the Beatitudes in the light of today’s needs in our world. He notes at the start of Chapter Three:
There can be any number of theories about what constitutes holiness, with various explanations and distinctions. Such reflection may be useful, but nothing is more enlightening than turning to Jesus’ words and seeing his way of teaching the truth. Jesus explained with great simplicity what it means to be holy when he gave us the Beatitudes (cf. Mt 5:3-12; Lk 6:20-23). The Beatitudes are like a Christian’s identity card. So if anyone asks: “What must one do to be a good Christian?”, the answer is clear. We have to do, each in our own way, what Jesus told us in the Sermon on the Mount. In the Beatitudes, we find a portrait of the Master, which we are called to reflect in our daily lives. 
The word “happy” or “blessed” thus becomes a synonym for “holy”. It expresses the fact that those faithful to God and his word, by their self-giving, gain true happiness. 
In the retreat, I will connect our Holy Father’s interpretation of the Beatitudes from Gaudete et Exsultate, and also his “six new Beatitudes” for today, with religious life as we live it today. Our lives as religious is a call to holiness, based on our baptismal call. So Pope Francis' exhortations to holiness can also give us an opportunity to re-examine our vocation, our vows, our ministries, in a creative way.