Pope Francis issued an Apostolic Exhortation on Sunday 15 October, the 150th anniversary of the birthday of St Therese of the Child Jesus and Holy Face.
Apostolic Exhortations are a form of papal communication that is used to address important issues, offer encouragement, guidance, or reflections on specific topics, and to provide pastoral teaching. Apostolic exhortations are not as formal or authoritative as papal encyclicals, but they hold significant weight and authority within the Catholic Church.
Pope Francis has issued 7 Apostolic Exhortations during his pontificate. The first ‘Evangelii Guadium’ was issued in November 2013 and set out his vision for the Catholic Church. Translating to “The Joy of the Gospel”, in this document Pope Francis discusses the Church’s mission in the modern world and emphasizes the importance of evangelisation, emphasising the need for a more inclusive and compassionate Church that reaches out to those on the margins of society. The document calls for a renewal of faith and a commitment to social justice and caring for the poor.
In ‘C’est La Confiance’, meaning ‘It is the confidence’, taken from the words of St Therese written in September 1896, Pope Francis links these two Exhortations, saying
“ In Evangelii Gaudium, I urged a return to the freshness of the source, in order to emphasize what is essential and indispensable. I now consider it fitting to take up that invitation and propose it anew”.
Pope Francis ends C’est La Confiance with prayer:
“A century and a half after her birth, Therese is more alive than ever in the pilgrim Church, in the heart of God’s people. She accompanies us on our pilgrim way, doing good on earth, as she had so greatly desired. The most lovely signs of her spiritual vitality are the innumerable “roses” that Therese continues to strew: the graces God grants us through her loving intercession in order to sustain us on our journey through life.
Dear Saint Therese, the Church needs to radiate the brightness, the fragrance and the joy of the Gospel. Send us your roses! Help us to be, like yourself, ever confident in God’s immense love for us, so that we may imitate each day your “little way” of holiness.Amen.”