In this work, Sallie McFague unites her love of hagiography, the study of the saints, and the urgent need to address overconsumption in the economy and the environment. McFague suggests a close study of lives of the saints. Here specifically, she considers Simone Weil, John Woolman, and Dorothy Day, in the hope that contemporary believers may find a path from belief to faith-inspired action. A kenotic lifestyle, one of self-emptying, the author sees reflected in the lives of the saints considered here. She sees the unified path to kenosis inspired by the “wild space” of voluntary poverty, the awakening of the saint through this poverty to material needs of others, the increase in view of the self to include a universal self, and finally the connection of the kenotic lifestyle to the personal and public spheres of life.
Speaking specifically to middleclass readers, McFague condemns the complacent comfort in which we live that destroys God’s creation, human and nature alike. She calls for a radical understanding of the divine incarnation and expansion of the self to include the universal. An unsettling of traditional theology in favor of recognition that kenotic love is that which fuels the universe is the good news that can oppose the crisis in the economy and environment. McFague brilliantly weaves the example of the saints with our own call to action which must, like the saints discussed, be personal and public.