Book Club – Rev. James Martin, SJ

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“…the road that we seek is often the road we have already found.”

– Father James Marttin, My LIfe with the Saints

In addition to graduating from the Wharton School of Business, being a published author, and a priest in the Society of Jesus, the religious order founded by St. Ignatius Loyola, Father Jim Martin also made several appearances on The Colbert Report with Stephen Colbert.He is also an editor-at-large at America magazaine.

I follow Father Martin on Facebook where he attends every issue with kindness, compassion, and openness, and expects the same charity from his followers and commenters. Whether the issue is about civil rights or health care or any other variety of social justice, he is right there with an opinion, a reflection, a Scripture to help us all discern what our own feelings on the subject are.

I have had the privilege of reading four of his books, and I am very much looking forward to his next one: Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community Can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity, to be published on June 13th of this year.

They’ve all affected me in different ways, and have no doubt given me much to think about.
I read Jesus: A Pilgrimage right after my baptism, and after I had finished Reza Aslan‘s Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth. I found it remarkable to read them one after the other. While Aslan searched for historical Jesus, Fr. Martin gave me divine Jesus, and together it hit me profoundly.

My LIfe with the Saints was a wonderful mirror into my own spiritual journey that began without religious base on my first visit to North Wales. From there I have found a great many things that have latched onto my soul and feed it. This book gave me the opportunity to look deeper into myself and see why I was drawn to certain aspects of the church and certain saints, like Mary Magdalene, and my own confirmation saint, Elen of Caernarfon.

The third book, and first e-book was Together on Retreat: Meeting Jesus in Prayer (Enhanced Edition). I found this at a perfect moment in my life and used it to form my own personal retreat for a fall weekend. That was before I knew anything about the retreat house that I try to regularly attend, and this gave me the beginings of looking for prayer, spirituality, and Jesus in all things. I read each day. I watched the videos. I explored my region and wrote and photographed, and it really was uplifting. In fact, as I write this now, I think I will download this book again after Easter and have a go before the kids are out of school.

For some of his other books, please check out his author page at Amazon. He addresses everything with a great sense of humor, and easy explanations of things that are sometimes a bit much to understand. He is probably one of the most influential people whom I have never met that has guided me towards the right path.

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