My Life with the Saints by James Martin SJ is his reteling of how he has connected with several saints of the Catholic Church and why he emulates and prays to them. A quick read I found it quite enjoyable, but probably not worth reading twice. I found the epigraph to his concluding chapter, a quote from Loyola Press Bolero Ozon.
My Life with the Saints. Martin resides in New York City. He also explains some of the theology about saints and why they are important and tells a little about the life of each saint that has played an important role in his life. The main point of the book is that each saint has his or her own personality with individual strengths and weaknesses - and that this shows t This is a really great, life-changing kind of book.
The main point of the book is that each saint has his or her own personality with individual strengths and weaknesses - and that this shows that there are many different ways to be holy. He also makes the point that God wants every person to be holy and that we can become holy by being true to ourselves and by following the righteous desires that God has given us. This book was gave me a better understanding of and appreciation for the Catholic religion, strengthened my personal testimony of those principals that are taught in both the Catholic church and the Mormon church, and also made me grateful for the additional knowledge that has been restored through modern-day prophets.
This is a very thought-provoking, faith-promoting, uplifting book and I totally recommend it to everyone. Jun 15, booklady rated it really liked it Recommended to booklady by: Of course most of the saints he writes about are old friends so there weren't too many introductions per se. Still reading and hearing about how my favorite heavenly allies have helped others in their spiritual journeys was very comforting. However, there were also some new faces among Fr. Martin's gallery of saints and that made the book especially enjoyable. Pedro Arrupe was completely unfamiliar to me although he was the head of the Jesuits in our modern age.
And although I had heard of the Ugandan martyrs and St. Aloysius Gonzaga, I knew next to nothing about either.
An easy and enjoyable read—spiritual without being preachy. View all 11 comments. Nov 22, Grace rated it really liked it. I am now officially a Father Martin fan. This is the second book of his that I've read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. More importantly, the stories and meditations on his favorite saints were packed with inspiration and practical wisdom. Father Martin's self-deprecating, witty writing style makes for a fun read that also happens to edify the soul. Apr 13, Jeanne rated it it was amazing.
My own experience with Catholic saints was better than most raised in the Catholic tradition. I always viewed them as adventurous fairy tales, having been exposed to the grim version of the Grimm fairy tales. This book is written by a Catholic priest who came into the priesthood without really knowing the canon of Catholic popular media like "The Bells of St.
Mary's" or "The Song of Bernadette". Without having been influenced by the stranger aspects that can come with Catholic folklore, James Ma My own experience with Catholic saints was better than most raised in the Catholic tradition. Without having been influenced by the stranger aspects that can come with Catholic folklore, James Martin starts his personal narrative of "Life with the Saints" with a trip to the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky, the same monastic home of the late Thomas Merton.
Merton's story greatly influenced Martin's life. The remainder of his accounts also are a telling of ways that various saints' stories had an effect in his life. Martin also sticks to factual research when relating the biographies of these Catholic celebrities making sure to steer away from the fantastic or cloyingly sentimental. His accounts are down to earth and told in a way that modern people can recognize and relate to.
Because I am a great fan of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, the chapter on Ignatius is my absolute favorite. In my experience, only a Jesuit priest can convey the true story of Ignatius' life and teachings with both truth and exuberance knowing the depth of knowledge, solace and meaning that can be found within the Exercises. Those who know them well have usually experienced a fun and fabulous time while remaining perfectly quiet.
A very good read, indeed. Jan 15, Anna rated it really liked it. An absolutely fascinating book Although it is nothing like a devotional, every page has a little nugget to help with your every day life as he relates the lessons learned from saints. He talks about how saints are important to us not because they all do great things for God, but because they are individuals whom God used to do seemingly small things in an extraordinary way. May 29, Sara rated it really liked it.
If you went to Catholic grade school, odds are that your classroom or library had multiple "lives of saints" books for your eight-year-old self to peruse. Full of lavish pictures of romantically dressed men and women, the books told stories about people who traveled to exotic places, fought authority in the name of justice, and performed the occasional miracle or two.
And if that wasn't enough to make your eight-year-old-self love them, you might just have gotten hooked by the fact that there ar If you went to Catholic grade school, odds are that your classroom or library had multiple "lives of saints" books for your eight-year-old self to peruse. And if that wasn't enough to make your eight-year-old-self love them, you might just have gotten hooked by the fact that there are as many women saints as men saints.
I know I was. But let's face the demographic odds of early twenty-first century America. You probably didn't go to Catholic school, and you probably think of it as kind of a fictional place in itself, in which the saints are just the imaginary icing on the disappeared cake of catholic community ties. Or something like that. James Martin suspects that's how you feel. And I think he's writing a saints' lives books for people like him, who know the saints mainly as kitschy jokes in flowing robes, but who find themselves drawn to them even so.
A lot of what I remember and love most about the saints' lives is in this book -- the saintly confrontations with authority, the miracles, the exotic places, even the romantic clothes. One significant addition Martin highlights about the saints' lives, that I don't remember from grade school, is their healthy senses of humor. And that might just be the weapon that keeps them all faithful in the end -- Martin manages to tell story after story of ordinary people who find themselves in the throes of far-fetched religious devotion, and are able to recognize the absurdity of it without losing their real sense of faith.
Certainly that's the story Martin tells about his own spiritual journey from Ivy-League business major to Jesuit priest. Each chapter couples the story of a saint or saints' lives with a moment in Martin's life when he first encountered them. Thus Ignatius of Loyola presides over Martin's first year in seminary, and Mother Theresa over the six months he spends in Jamaica working with the Little Sisters of the Poor.
Martin throws in more than a fair share of Jesuits for obvious reasons. I think I found myself most surprised by two chapters on what I think of as "generic" saints -- Joseph and Peter, whose lives can be found only in the Bible, and aren't fleshed out by any additional information. Martin uses the life of Peter full of premature outbursts and hotheaded embarrassments to meditate on how God allows us to use even the worst in ourselves. He focuses on Joseph to talk about the hiddenness in the lives of most saints. Which is probably the truest aspect of most real saints' lives, the ones we know ourselves in our daily lives.
All the same, it doesn't keep us from being attracted to the more flamboyant ones.
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Mar 21, Drew rated it really liked it. Every time I read a book by Jim Martin I feel like maybe we should be friends. May 20, GK Stritch rated it liked it. Call me old fashioned, but I don't like Jesuits dumbed down. The title, the cover, and the blurb caught my interest Goodreads recommendation , but the premise of the book: If this is a way to reach out, I'm not sure it works for those of a certain age or those who are educated in Catholic culture. The author is in his second year as a novice and doesn't know Bernadette?
And he's a movie buff. That's one example, and there are many and a certain glibness throughout. Halfway through reading, I still haven't gotten a sense of how the saints have become "personal companions" to James Martin, SJ. The author is taken by Merton, but Merton is not a saint. The chapter on Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity is moving and honest and the book seems to warm up here, briefly. Mother Teresa is not yet canonized, but what's a process among friends, Dorothy Day?
Also, was I somehow mislead by the blurb and reviews into thinking this book was going to be more about a mystical union with the saints? Joseph chapter the "hidden life" is well worth reading more than once. I once had a friend who said the church is not at its best when it tries to be hip, and I agree. The book is popular and commercially successfully. Apparently it draws an appreciative book-club audience church retreat groups?
I love Merton, too. The book falls short of the hype, but is a good intro for beginners, and maybe that is how it more accurately should be advertised. Jun 13, Shannon rated it it was amazing. What a lovely spiritual memoir this book is. I've read a few other books by Fr. James Martin Building a Bridge: A Story of Discovery and I tend to find his narrative non-fiction more compelling than his fiction.
This book was no exception. I loved how personable and appro What a lovely spiritual memoir this book is. I loved how personable and approachable he felt as the narrator of this book. Even the opening story about eating cereal so he could order prizes immediately called a picture to mind for me. I did find the chapters on some saints to be more compelling than others - whether that's the writing or the reader isn't clear to me.
I'm certainly more drawn to some saints than others and it made me smile inwardly that I seem to find St.
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Ignatius more approachable and compelling than the Jesuit who wrote this book! Martin ultimately proposes - we are each drawn more to some saints than others because we all need to learn different lessons in order to become more fully ourselves.
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If for nothing else, read this book to understand this takeaway one that is heavily influenced by Thomas Merton and St. God doesn't want us all to do and be the same. If He did, He would have made us more alike. Instead, I believe the way to fully bring about God's kingdom is to discern what we each are called to do and then do that. If you're from a Protestant background and interested in understanding how Catholics view and experience Saints, this book is a great read.
If you're Catholic, this very readable book may help you know and love Saints new or well-known. Sep 15, Stephen rated it really liked it Shelves: The church I grew up in consistently referred to Rome as the whore of Babylon, so needless to say I didn't learn anything about saints.
My Life with the Saints
I knew Biblical personalities, sure, but was completely oblivious to the hundreds of men and women throughout the Christian era who served as outstanding examples, witnesses, or reproaches to the rest of us. I encountered a few in history books, like St. The sole exception was Joan of Arc, who began as a figu The church I grew up in consistently referred to Rome as the whore of Babylon, so needless to say I didn't learn anything about saints.
The sole exception was Joan of Arc, who began as a figure from history but became as I read various biographies someone I felt an odd sense of affection for. James Martin grew up Catholic, but his saintly education seems to have been almost as paltry as mine, discovering most of them as he attended seminary and trained to be a Jesuit. In the beginning, Martin notes that Catholics approach saints as both intercessors and companions; the latter approach inspiring most of this book. My Life with the Saints mixes biography -- his, the saints, and others -- with spiritual reflection.
In each chapter, Martin recounts his encounter with each personality, sharing how they shaped and informed his own spirituality while connecting their lives to people he has worked with through the years. Martin mixes Biblical, medieval, and modern personalities, and includes a fair few people notably Thomas Merton and Dorothy Day who aren't "official" saints. Sep 21, Alexis rated it it was amazing. Some were just reinforcements of what I already know and understand, but there were other concepts, that I have felt before but could never describe, put into words, fully extrapolate, etc.
You get the idea, I am sure. Throughout the chapter on Terese of Lisieux, Martin explains how he came to terms with his own feelings towards his faith and the fact that many he has and will come in contact with will have the opposite reaction. Keeping his experiences real and tangible for the reader. As well as, inspiring one to read on.
Ignatius of Loyola, who founded the Jesuit order, brings finding God to a simple level. Not to be overstated… Ignatius found God everywhere, during these inspirational moments he would shed tears in wonder and adoration. This is similar to my own experiences of late. This struck a cord with me — a revelation of sorts. A five-step daily process I have heard about before in homilies from our parish priest and have, on occasion, taken a stab at myself. Step Four — Ask God for forgiveness for any wrongdoings or sins Step Five — Ask God for the grace to follow him more closely the following day.
While I have not embraced doing this daily, even since when I began to read this book, I have found myself contemplating his points throughout the day. Martin reflects on C. Lewis and trying to better recognize the moments of beauty and grace in life. This is timeless and tremendous advice that we all should follow. I see these, in retrospect and I know I should reflect on them more: How much more would we appreciate we have, time and moments, not just physical possessions.
My Life With the Saints
Utilizing Ignatius and Pedro Arrupe, a past Superior General of the Jesuits who I had never read of before , Martin brings us to the understanding or perhaps to the acceptance that we should all be seeking to find this greater relationship with God. This study of Arrupe brings the reader back to the theme of indifference, accepting, no matter what we are handed in life.
Martin states that the good accept decisions and trust that the Holy Spirit is at work and that through dedication God will somehow work through us. Joseph, Mother Teresa and St.
Bernadette and Dorothy Day bring out different points and experiences, but perpetually back to these same key points: Mary — in answer to her great calling, she found God by simply being aware and brought us all a great gift. Bernadette of Soubrious — both struggling to be true to themselves and eventually finding God through their struggle.
Would love to further discuss — any takers? Feb 03, Eeyore rated it really liked it Shelves: I read this book on the recommendation of my amazing niece, Jen Bergeron, and I was not disappointed. Martin is very 'human' and down-to earth, making this book enjoyable. I did learn a lot about saints I already knew and saints I had not even heard of before. This book confirmed for me the fact that God has a purpose for all of us and it is unique for each of us. Martin mentioned I read this book on the recommendation of my amazing niece, Jen Bergeron, and I was not disappointed.
Martin mentioned in his book. Thanks for the enjoyable read! May 23, Samantha rated it really liked it. Beautifully written, with a ton of personality and inspiring stories of people who really spent their life dedicated to the well-being of humanity.
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I am so happy to have received this book as a gift. In it Father Martin opened my mind to a whole new way of looking at saints and how their stories may influence my story. He introduced me to saints that I did not know and reacquainted me with many others. Father Martin showed me that saints are human and unique individuals that permitted Jesus to become the center of their lives. We are all called to be saints; to be ourselves centered on Jesus. I feel that this is one book that I will return I am so happy to have received this book as a gift. I feel that this is one book that I will return to often.
Apr 29, Mary Harley rated it it was amazing Shelves: I've never really been interested to read what I've traditionally seen as a "lives of the saints" book. Contact your Consultant or Customer Service.
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Click Image to Zoom. Also available in Spanish. Books by James Martin, SJ. Who Cares About the Saints? My Life with the Saints 10th Anniversary Edition This best-selling memoir of spiritual self-discovery is an homage to the Catholic saints who have accompanied Fr. Praying with America Years of Encountering God in Prayer with America Magazine Praying with America presents and celebrates the diversity of prayer over the past century and offers readers the wisdom and inspiration of leading Catholic thinkers on the practice of prayer.
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