James Martin, S.J. is a Jesuit priest, culture editor of America magazine and author of numerous books, including The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything, a New York Times bestseller; and My Life with the Saints, which Publishers Weekly named one of the Best Books of 2006. (It is also available in Spanish as Mi Vida con los Santos.) He lives in New York City and often publishes articles in the secular press, and on America magazine's blog In all Things and on The Huffington Post.
I have been both astonished and moved by the tremendous outpouring of emotion over the death of Steve Jobs, at age 56. Mr. Jobs, as is known by anyone whose fingers ever touched a computer or held an iPhone, was a dazzlingly talented innovator who, as President Obama noted, will likely rank among the greatest of American inventors.
Still, there have been many other gifted public figures —political leaders, business tycoons, philanthropists, researchers, scientists, writers, entertainers and inventors of other sorts— whose deaths did not touch such a chord. Obituaries of Mr. Jobs have appeared in almost every newspaper, magazine and (of course) website; television news programs devoted hours to covering his legacy; Facebook was promptly filled with impromptu photos, collages and tributes; nearly everyone on Twitter had something to say; and the Apple store in New York City is taking on the look of a shrine.
The jesuit guide to (almost) everythingha sido traducido al español por la editorial Sal Terrae. Aquí les presento la reseña:
El modo de proceder de Ignacio consiste en encontrar la libertad; la libertad para ser la persona que estás llamado a ser, para amar y para aceptar el amor, para tomar buenas decisiones y para experimentar la belleza de la creación y el misterio del amor de Dios. Y se basa en un enfoque que se encuentra en sus propios escritos, así como en las tradiciones, prácticas y conocimientos transmitidos por los sacerdotes y los hermanos jesuitas de generación en generación.
Desde el primer día de existencia de su orden, Ignacio exhortó a los jesuitas a compartir esas ideas, tradiciones, prácticas y conocimientos no solo con otros sacerdotes, religiosos y religiosas, sino también con los laicos, hombres y mujeres. La «espiritualidad ignaciana» está dirigida a la audiencia más amplia posible de creyentes y personas en proceso de búsqueda.
You would think that the book many Scripture scholars agree to be the oldest in the New Testament would garner a great deal of respect. You would think that a document written only 17 years or so after the death and resurrection of Jesus would be pored over by contemporary Christians. You would think that Christians would know, as with the Gospels, even the smallest verses of this document by heart.
Well, you would be wrong: St. Paul’s First Letter to the Thessalonians is not well known.
Still, by common consent, it is the earliest of Paul’s letters and therefore the earliest writing in the entire New Testament. Scholars say that First Thessalonians was most likely written from Athens or Corinth around A.D. 50. As such, it predates the four Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles. And buried in the letter is a remarkable little phrase that upends the typical conception of St. Paul as a cranky, grumpy, depressive prude.
Interviewed by Our Sunday Visitor in their latest issue. Love the cover.
OSV: You wrote that humor should be seen as a requirement in a Church leader. Why do you think it’s such an important attribute?
Father Martin: First, it’s important to have a sense of humility and poverty of spirit. Second, humor helps us get along with people. Humor is a natural social element that is an essential part of human interaction. Third, to gain some perspective. The saints used humor as a tool in their quest for humility and also as a way of gaining some perspective on their place in the universe. And finally, as Archbishop Timothy Dolan has said, “Happiness attracts.” Why would anyone want to join a group of miserable people?
On Sept. 13, two days after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center, I made my way to one of the emergency trauma centers in Manhattan. It had been hastily set up in a cavernous sports facility called Chelsea Piers, on the Hudson River. I had been there earlier, on the evening of Sept. 11, still stunned from the day’s events like many New Yorkers, and, also like many New Yorkers, wanting desperately to do something. But on that surreal and awful night, I simply waited with dozens of doctors, nurses, police officers, firefighters and volunteers for what officials expected would be hundreds of survivors. I ran into three young Franciscan friars, who were planning to spend the night there. They were full of energy and devotion. But though we wanted to help, after a few hours the stunning reality dawned: there would not be many survivors to attend to.
From Our Sunday Visitor's story on unsettling findings from the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA): "A new survey conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University indicates that more than three in four adult Catholics in the United States are not aware that aspects of the English translation of the Roman Missal are about to change. [The] survey estimates more than four in 10 weekly attenders have not heard that the words and prayers at Mass will be changing. Respondents were asked if they had heard 'that parishes in the United States will soon be implementing changes in the words and prayers at Mass at the direction of the Vatican.' Seventy-seven percent answered 'no.' This is equivalent to more than 44 million adult Catholics who don’t know about the changes that will occur throughout the English-speaking world beginning Nov. 27, the first Sunday of Advent.
On my first day as a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania in August of 1978 (aka the Dark Ages) I was somewhat confused. To say the least. While I had pored over the voluminous information about dormitory life that Penn had helpfully sent in a thick envelope (yes, you’ll be sleeping in a minuscule room with a stranger for a year), tried to in vain to puzzle out Wharton’s byzantine description of required courses and electives (that even Wharton’s brochure seemed impossible to master should have been an indication of the difficulty of the business courses lying in wait for me) and, in those pre-Internet days attempted to figure out from assorted flyers and pamphlets what clubs I like to join (The Society for Creative Anachronism--really?) I was pretty addled. Baffled, actually. What would college be like? And: What would I be like in college?
So it was with a wistful sigh that I read The Freshman Survival Guide. I wish it had been around in 1978. Published in conjunction with Bustedhalo, the online young adult ministry run by the Paulists, and written by Bill McGarvey (full disclosure: a friend and frequent contributor to our page) and Nora Bradbury-Haehl, the Guide does the undoable: it prepares incoming freshmen (or, “first-year students”) for the joy and struggles of college life.
I'm rather in awe of this "widget" above from my publisher, which announces the availability of the audiobook version of "The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything," read by me (over a space of four long 9 to 5 days at a studio in Carnegie Hall.) Check out the widget —which includes an excerpt— then check out the audiobook. I apologized in advance for the Philly accent!
The Rev. Terrance W. Klein, professor of theology St. Bonaventure's University and author of Vanity Faith, catches up with TNT's hit sci-fi series "Falling Skies," and finds its take on American culture none too, um, alien.
I recently enjoyed a barbeque at the Connecticut home of a former student and his wife. The topic of backyard wildlife came up, the most fearsome being the largest snapping turtle they had ever seen, although they assured me that a mountain lion had also been reported in Connecticut. That lead to the topic of guns, and my host reminded me that his grandfather, a former Marine, still sleeps with a handgun under his pillow. “Loaded?” I said.
Ever since the Second Vatican Council spoke of the “universal call to holiness,” there has been a move to recognize more lay men and women as saints, as models of sanctity for lay Catholics. Several contemporary saints have already been raised to the “glories of the altar,” among them St. Gianna Molla (1922-1962), an Italian mother (pictured here) who carried a child to term rather than consenting to an abortion, and who died in the process. Others on their way include Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati (1901-1925), the charismatic Italian social activist who once said, “Charity is not enough; we need social reform.” In that same vein is the redoubtable Dorothy Day, the American-born co-founder of the Catholic Worker movement, whose cause for canonization has just been advanced. And in 2008, Louis and Zélie Martin, the devoutly Catholic parents of St. Thérèse of Lisieux (and her equally pious sisters) were beatified in 2008, the rare instance of a husband and wife recognized together.