Pope Francis has released his third apostolic exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate (“Rejoice and be glad”), insisting that “every minute of our lives can be a step along the path to growth in holiness”.

Gaudete et Exsultate (“Rejoice and be glad”), released on Monday, follows Evagelii Gaudium and Amoris Laetitia. It explains that holiness is the mission of every Christian. Holiness grows, it says, “through small gestures” in everyday life.

Being part of a parish and receiving the sacraments, especially the Eucharist and Confession, are essential, the Pope wrote, along with giving up time for silent prayer. “I do not believe in holiness without prayer,” he said, “even though that prayer need not be lengthy or involve intense emotion.”

Describing holiness as being built up through small steps, the Pope cites the example of a woman refusing to gossip. “This is a step forward in holiness.

“Later, at home, one of her children wants to talk to her about his hopes and dreams, and even though she is tired, she sits down and listens with patience and love. That is another sacrifice that brings holiness.

“Later she experiences some anxiety, but recalling the love of the Virgin Mary, she takes her rosary and prays with faith. Yet another path of holiness. Later still, she goes out onto the street, encounters a poor person and stops to say a kind word to him. One more step.”

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