Monday, November 29, 2004

More good stuff from Radcliffe.

No, Harry Potter fans, I'm not talking about the kid who plays your hero on the silver screen - though I'm sure he does that very well. I'm talking about Timothy Radcliffe, O.P., former Master General of the Dominican Order, whose writings I've begun to dip into. This past summer I read and appreciated his Sing a New Song, a collection of speeches and essays focusing on each of the vows of consecrated life and on Christian virtue more generally. The reflections contained in Sing a New Song impressed me in no small part because they managed to balance fidelity to the unique charism of Radcliffe's religious community with a universality that appealed even to this confirmed Ignatian and (then) soon-to-be Jesuit novice. Sing a New Song was enough to get me hooked on Radcliffe's writings, so when I enterted the novitiate I brought along a copy of his more recent book I Call You Friends. Last week I finally got around to reading the book, an experience that only confirmed my admiration for its author. I Call You Friends covers diverse territory: the first half of the book is made up of autobiographical interviews that Radcliffe gave to a French journalist, while the second is a mix of speeches and articles on a broad variety of topics. As told by the man who lived it, Radcliffe's vocation story has a charming simplicity: he decided to join the Dominicans without ever having met a member of the Order, attracted as an earnest spiritual seeker by the Dominican motto Veritas (Truth). Radcliffe's eventual rise to global leadership of his religious order was, he claims, a surprise for a man who met none of the stated criteria for the post of Master General. The second half of I Call You Friends offers Radcliffe's thoughts on such topics as our evolving understanding of the nature of time, the role of missionaries today, the proper manner of teaching of Christian doctrine in Catholic schools and the state of the Church in contemporary Europe. Radcliffe displays equal insight and mastery discussing each of these topics (among many others) and I found much to reflect upon in each chapter of I Call You Friends. If you're looking for a good book to read during Advent, either Sing a New Song or I Call You Friends would fit the bill nicely. AMDG.


Post a Comment

<< Home