Not his early recommendations for living according to the duties of one’s state in life. I love that part. Not enough is said about it, in my opinion. It’s your vocation. Follow it.
I am reminded of a talk my father heard, almost certainly at a lunch-time meeting of the Downtown Chicago Serra Club, as long ago as the late 1940s. “Everybody’s got a vocation” was the message. He came home that night full of that idea. It was a day when vocation meant religious life, period. He was hearing something that warmed his heart.
And Francis’ reminder that none of us is perfect, which says nothing about fulfilling our vocation in life, is also something we might hear more of.
But then he gets to some needless, I would say harmful, negativity about religious life, as in this:
26. It is not healthy to love silence while fleeing interaction with others, to want peace and quiet while avoiding activity, to seek prayer while disdaining service. Everything can be accepted and integrated into our life in this world, and become a part of our path to holiness. We are called to be contemplatives even in the midst of action, and to grow in holiness by responsibly and generously carrying out our proper mission. [Italics mine]
Contemplation in action is a worthy goal, “generously carrying out our proper mission.” But why the shot at contemplatives in monasteries and convents? What’s the point of that? “Not healthy,” he says. Who else says it? He comes out of left field with that one.
For one thing, there’s at least as much flight involved in poorly considered and badly motivated action as in the badly motivated contemplative, cloistered life.
Some need more, not less contemplation, largely as daily reminders of what we are about. “Disdaining service”? Hardly. Rather, keeping oneself on track.
— more more more on puzzlements in Gaudete et Exsultate. —