Radical Discipleship Consecrated Life and the Call to Holiness
by Cardinal Francis Arinze
Since 2015 has been deemed the Year of the Consecrated Life by Pope Francis, this work by Cardinal Arinze is a very timely one-for this year, and for any time. A reflection on the consecrated life, Radical Discipleship represents a beautiful way for faithful Catholics to participate in this Church-wide theme and celebration by coming to a deeper understanding of the consecrated life.
Radical Discipleship illuminates the vocation of the consecrated state and its presence in the Body of Christ, beginning with a brief look at its origins in Scripture and the early Church. The work then reflects upon the following:
- The different forms this radical life takes
- The population of consecrated persons in the Church today
- The recognition that the consecrated life has received from the Church
- The vows of Poverty, Chastity and Obedience taken by all consecrated persons
- Community life as it pertains to consecrated life
- The prophetic aspect of the consecrated life
- The impact of the consecrated state on the Church community and on society
Alongside these fascinating topics, Cardinal Arinze addresses some of the problems faced by consecrated people, and how these difficulties have led some to abandon this vocation. In examining the struggles specific to the consecrated state, the Cardinal seeks to encourage other consecrated persons to persevere in their vocation. He further calls the entire Church to support the consecrated life and those who have dedicated themselves to Christ in this way.
Although filled with substantive information, even the most involved sections are presented in an engaging, readable and reflective style. The book is not, as the Cardinal explains, "a dissertation based on deep research on the theology and canon law on the consecrated life". Radical Discipleship is rather a reflection, written for consecrated people, other laity and clergy alike, and offers wonderful material for thought and prayer. It is Cardinal Arinze's hope that his work will make the consecrated life "better understood, loved, lived and promoted".
Cardinal Francis Arinze grew up in Nigeria, became the youngest Bishop in the world, and the first African Cardinal to head a Vatican office, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. His biography, God's Invisible Hand, was published by Ignatius Press, as were his books The Layperson’s Distinctive Role, and Meeting Jesus and Following Him.
Praise for Radical Discipleship:
“Cardinal Arinze has done a great service to the Church in this year of Consecrated Life in his book Radical Discipleship. His presentation of the mystery of Consecrated Life is simple and within the grasp of all. His exposition of the essential elements of the consecrated life, its origin and various forms, draws one to esteem the life of radical discipleship and to support and encourage those called to the consecrated life. Cardinal Arinze’s love for the Church and the religious vocation, which is at the heart of the Church, is evident throughout the book. I highly recommend it for all.”
Fr. Thomas Nelson, O. Praem, National Director, Institute on Religious Life
“In Radical Discipleship Cardinal Arinze has given us all a gift with which to celebrate the Year of Consecrated Life, and beyond. For one who wants to know more about the life of a nun or sister, brother or hermit Radical Discipleship is a tour through the beauty and mystery of these calls to consecration. In a very readable style, Cardinal Arinze highlights the essential characteristics of religious consecration, and gives an overview of the current status of consecrated life throughout the world. A satisfying, informative book for all the faithful people of God.”
Mother Agnes, Superior, Sisters of Life
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