The subject Cardinal Martini develops in this book is that of apostolic consciousness. It is the result of a retreat he preached to seminarians. Following the examples of the Apostles Peter and Paul, every Christian should be aware of being 'sent' by someone else to carry out a work that is not theirs. Christians are not people who roll up their sleeves thinking they have to undertake heaven knows what, organise strategies or believe that everything depends on their ability and efficiency. We are not about pursuing our own pet project. Rather, Christians should experience the excitement of responding to a God who loves them and calls them, and in calling them, sends them into the world, thus having them share in the 'mandate' Christ receives from the Father.
In our time, as Pope Francis has also often insisted, especially in Evangelii Gaudium, it is urgent that our faith matures toward a consciousness of mission which is totally connected with that of the Son. In this sense, Martini's book can be said to anticipate Pope Francis' view of the Church.
Cardinal Maria Martini (15 Feb 1927- 31 Aug 2012), Jesuit, and biblical scholar, was Archbishop of Milan from 1979 to 2002. Considered by Catholics and non-Catholics alike to be one of the most listened to and followed voices there, Cardinal Martini resigned from his various responsibilities in 2002 and decided to retire to Jerusalem to resume his beloved biblical studies, but even from this ancient capital of Major Faiths, he ensured that his voice was strongly heard. He returned to Italy for health reasons but even during his illness, he never ceased disturbing consciences with clarity and intelligence. At his death, more than 150,000 people filed past as he lay in state in the Milan Cathedral.