Magisterial Documents: Gaudete in Domino

Apostolic Exhortation - on Christian Joy Pope Paul VI
9 May 1975

The full document is available on the internet.

Brief History

1975 was proclaimed by Pope Paul VI as a Holy Year. Gaudete in Domino situates the current concerns and shows the remedy the Holy Spirit will provide. The crisis the document focuses on is the sacrament of reconciliation. In this document the Holy Father only briefly touches the difficulties. Instead, he points out the sources of joy in the Christian life lived according to the Holy Spirit's indwelling. To live in grace is to find joy. The document states:

Unfortunately, in our century which is so threatened by the illusion of false happiness, we do not lack opportunities of noting the psychic inability of man to accept "the gifts of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Cor 2:14)

Spiritual discernment is possible only in the Holy Spirit. Mary masters of this discernment. It is she who can sing, "My soul rejoices in God my Savior." (Cf. Lk 1:46-8)

The attainment of such an outlook is not just a matter of psychology. It is also a fruit of the Holy Spirit. This Spirit, who dwells fully in the person of Jesus, made him during his earthy life so alert to the joys of daily life, so tactful and persuasive for putting sinners back on the road to a new youth of heart and mind! It is this same Spirit who animated the Blessed Virgin and each of the saints.

Mary knows the beatitude promised by the outpouring of the Spirit: "With Christ, she sums up in herself all joys; she lives the perfect joy promised to the Church: Mater plena sanctae laetitiae. And it is with good reason that her children on earth, turning to her who is the mother of hope and of grace, invoke her as the cause of their joy: Causa nostrae laetitiae."



The strengthening joy of the Spirit
Our intention: a hymn in praise of joy

I. All Men Feel the Need of Joy

The natural experience of joy
Joy is especially difficult today
The message of joy is needed more than ever
Educating men to experience natural joys
The sadness of non-believers

II. The Anticipations of Christian Joy in the Old Testament

Passover, Psalms, and New Jerusalem

III. Joy According to the New Testament

The human joys of Jesus
The deeper joy of Jesus
Christ's disciples are to share his joy
Christian joy is based on both the death and the resurrection of Jesus
The work of the Spirit in the soul
The law of Christian life and apostolate

IV. The Joy in the Hearts of the Saints

The Blessed Virgin Mary
The martyrs
The message of the spiritual masters
St. Francis of Assisi
St. Therese of Lisieux
Blessed Maximilian Kolbe
Joy is diffusive
Joy turns us to God

V. A Joy for the Whole People?

Those with responsibilities
The need of leadership
Sin the greatest obstacle to joy

VI. A Joy for the Whole People?

The spiritual significance of youth
Reasons for the Church's confidence
Grounds for hoping in today's youth
Exhortation to the young

VII. The Joy of the Holy Year Pilgrim

The renewal desired by the Council
The real goal of our pilgrimage
We want all to share Our joy
Unity a necessity


Our joy is rooted in God
Great importance of the Eucharist


AAS 67 (May 31, 1975): 289-322
St Paul Editions, 1975

© This material has been compiled by M. Jean Frisk.
Copyright is reserved for The Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute.
Most recently updated in 2005.

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