edited by William C. Placher

In a collection of writings, published posthumously as Waiting for God, Simone Weil confessed: “Nothing among human beings has such power to keep our gaze fixed ever more intensely upon God, than friendship for the friends of God.” In this fine anthology William Placher gives us a series of well-chosen reflections on vocation, spanning two millennia, from men and women, friends of God in Christ. The famous and familiar appear and, as always, challenge: Augustine and Aquinas, Teresa of Avila and Dorothy Day. The less known also delight and edify by their distinctive personal voice: Christine de Pisan and Sor Juana de la Cruz, relatively unknown to me; or Pope Leo XIII and Dorothy Sayers in unexpected and mutually enriching guise.

Placher frames the motivating impulse for gathering so diverse a cloud of witnesses in these words: “We wonder if the bits and pieces of our struggles, disappointments, and successes will add up to a significant whole. ‘Call’ and ‘vocation’ are categories the Christian tradition has long used to address such issues.” The representative figures he has chosen offer illuminating perspectives on this perennial quest.

The selections cover four historical periods of uneven length and disparate focus, and a brief but insightful introduction to each is provided by Placher. The first covers the church from Paul to Augustine. Here the focus is on the common, radical call to Christian...

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About the Author

Rev. Robert P. Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, is Associate Professor of Theology Emeritus at Boston College.