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.