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March 8, 2017

Book: James Martin: Essential Writings
Selected with an Introduction by James T. Keane
Orbis Books. Maryknoll, NY. 2017. Pp. 245

An Excerpt from the Jacket:

One of the nation's most beloved spiritual authors, James Martin, S.J., is a Jesuit priest, editor at large of America magazine, and former longtime chaplain of The Colbert Report. This anthology includes insights and reflections on all manner of topics drawn from his articles, books, and online writings over the past quarter century.

An Excerpt from the Book:


There are few things more enjoyable than reading a good biography of a saint or soon-to-be-saint. And when faced with a choice between a scholarly treatment over the more fictionalized versions, I'd start with the scholarly one. Because it's almost impossible to improve on their real lives. For example, as wonderful a movie as is The Song of Bernadette, the real life of Bernadette Soubirous, the visionary of Lourdes, is even more inspiring. Did you know, for example, that after the apparitions, Bernadette always turned down offers of gifts, even though she was desperately poor? And did you know that she could be blunt when confronted with people who wanted to use her? When a photographer told her to pretend that she was looking at the Blessed Mother, she said, "But she's not here!"

In scholarly biographies you always find the kinds of things that are left out of some of the pious books --- specifically, places where the saint struggled and felt discouraged. There you'll learn about Mother Teresa's dark night and Thomas Merton's struggles with pride. And in those scholarly biographies you'll also learn about how those human struggles helped to draw them closer to God.

Table of Contents:

Introduction: The call of the king

1. Motions of the soul: spirituality and prayer
2. God in all things: the divine in daily life
3. The care of souls: solidarity with the suffering and the wounded
4. More by deeds than by words: models of holiness