Upon a recent rereading of Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Gaudete et Exsultate, “On the Call to Holiness in Today’s World,” I found myself troubled by a glaring omission. The word “Heaven” seems to be missing from the document entirely. In the context of the saints — which forms the basis for the introduction to the exhortation — the Pope mentions “true life” and “happiness,” but not “eternal life” or “beatitude.” A this-worldly bubble seems to surround the mental process at work here. The mundane is substituted in the place of the supernatural perspective for which faith exists.
The goal of a holy life here on Earth is Heaven, where happiness is eternal. The saints themselves often speak of the Kingdom as their only goal, where Love Himself is attained without fear of loss because the embrace is eternal. Without Heaven there can be no true hope because there only are found those realities which, once attained, can never be lost.
We cannot preach Christ without His Kingdom, which is not of this world. If we do so, we betray Him and those He came to save by dying and rising. Thus the reason for trepidation upon encountering a message promoted to the Church on behalf of the Church which omits the very goal for which the place of faith, the Church, was founded by Christ.