Saturday, November 16, 2013

Author Highlight: Father James Martin

Another new feature that I thought would be fun is to highlight an author. Highlighted authors will be authors that I have read multiple books by.(Man that was a clunky sentence, but you know what I mean). Today is our inaugural post, and I think we're starting off with a good one!

Father James Martin is...wait for it...a Catholic priest. You may have seen him on places like "The Colbert Report"; he's the show's official "Chaplain". He shows up there a lot with other Catholic Colbert kingpin Cardinal Dolan. Fr Martin is also very active on Twitter: @JamesMartinSJ. He is not a religious figure who hides his head in the sand. He knows whats up and acknowledges that things are not always perfect in his church. He LOVES Pope Francis. Loves him. It's a little adorable.

Fr Martin is no slouch. He entered the priesthood after a few years in an unsatisfying career in the corporate jungle. What intrigues me most about his path to the priesthood is that while he and his family were Catholics growing up, it's not like he was on fire for the priesthood from a very young age. He had several life experiences before joining up and I think that makes him a better/more understanding priest.

I was introduced to Father James Martin by my coworker, who is also Catholic. She knows that I'm always looking for new and interesting books and she lent me a few of her own copies.(Also we have a weird love for popes in our Lutheran house. J. is more partial to JPII. I like JPII but I'm pretty fond of the new one. Did you see the picture of him kissing the man covered in boils?!)

You might think "Am I going to care about this if I'm not Catholic? Because I don't know the secret Catholic passwords or whatever it is they do." I'm not Catholic and I thought all of these books were worthwhile. Even if you didn't believe in God and you just want to be a better person these books are worthwhile. Don't let the fact that the author is a priest, or that you are not a Catholic, deter you from these books.

Picture break! St Patrick's in Dublin...because I thought a church picture was appropriate.

Here are the three books that I have read by Fr. Martin:

"Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter are at the Heart of Our Spiritual Life"
   Laughter and joy is such an important part of our lives. It enriches it beyond measure, but is that element lacking in our spiritual lives and practices? Fr Martin talks about why this should be more important to us using examples from the lives of the saints and his own life. This is the book from the three I enjoyed the most.

(Side bar: In "The Name of the Rose" which is a book (Umberto Eco) and a movie (Sean Connery and a VERY young Christian Slater); one of the characters talk about how he believes Jesus never laughed. Which I think is ridiculous. Of course Jesus laughed.)

"My Life With the Saints"
   As I mentioned before, growing up Fr Martin was Catholic but not a fervent Catholic. When he entered the seminary he found himself at a bit of a deficit in his knowledge about the saints. His fellow seminarians helped to introduce him to saints that were important to them. Fr Martin talks about the saints that have had a profound effect on his life, and outlines the life of the saints as well.

 I thought this was so interesting. Not being Catholic I don't know saint back stories but these are people who had extraordinary faith in extraordinary times. One of my favorite examples was about a priest who spent years ministering to people in Japan in the 1940s and survived Hiroshima.

"The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Anything: A Spirituality for Real Life"
   This books mission is simple. We can't make our faith something we only think about on Sundays. Faith needs to be apart of our everyday lives, and this book tries to show us how we can live our faith daily. Simple message, hard to put into actions sometimes!

There you have it! Do you guys like this idea? Anyone that you'd like to see highlighted?


  1. I just discovered your website, and I intend to "follow". You have just "sold" 3 of Father Martin's books. Thank you!

  2. Welcome! I'm so happy to have you. Enjoy the books, I'll be interested to hear what you think about them when you're done!


Thank you so much for your comment. I'd love to talk books with you!