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James Martin quotes (showing 1-30 of 90)

“In our deepest longings we hear echoes of God's longing for us. And the more we can follow these deep-down desires, those that God places within us for our happiness, the more joyful we will find ourselves.”
James Martin, Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life
“Newly confident, Mary says yes. Notice that she does so in absolute freedom. No one coerces her. And she was free to say no. Mary also makes her decision without appealing to a man. She doesn’t ask Joseph for permission. Nor does she tell the angel that she must consult with her father. The young woman living in a patriarchal time makes a decision about the coming king. Someone with little power agrees to bring the powerful one into the world: “Let it be with me according to your word.”
James Martin, Jesus: A Pilgrimage
“But Jesus accepts what we give, blesses it, breaks it open, and magnifies it. Often in ways that we don’t see or cannot see. Or will not be able to see in this lifetime. Who knows what a kind word does? Who knows what a single act of charity will do? Sometimes the smallest word or gesture can change a life.”
James Martin, Jesus: A Pilgrimage
“When John O’Malley was a Jesuit novice, an older priest told him three things to remember when living in community: First, you’re not God. Second, this isn’t heaven. Third, don’t be an ass.”
James Martin, The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life
“When we take ourselves too seriously, we are at the risk of taking other things, including God, too lightly,”
James Martin, Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life
“Before you begin, as in all prayer, remind yourself that you’re in God’s presence, and ask God to help you with your prayer. Gratitude: Recall anything from the day for which you are especially grateful, and give thanks. Review: Recall the events of the day, from start to finish, noticing where you felt God’s presence, and where you accepted or turned away from any invitations to grow in love. Sorrow: Recall any actions for which you are sorry. Forgiveness: Ask for God’s forgiveness. Decide whether you want to reconcile with anyone you have hurt. Grace: Ask God for the grace you need for the next day and an ability to see God’s presence more clearly.”
James Martin, The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life
“Overall, being spiritual and being religious are both part of being in relationship with God. Neither can be fully realized without the other. Religion without spirituality can become a dry list of dogmatic statements divorced from the life of the spirit. This is what Jesus warned against. Spirituality without religion can become a self-centered complacency divorced from the wisdom of a community. That’s what I’m warning against. For St. Ignatius”
James Martin, The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life
“Often, when we are in trouble, or doubting, or struggling, we rely on others to carry us to God. Just as often we must do the carrying, to help friends who are struggling. This is one of the many benefits of organized religion, as we all need others to help us find God. Even though we may disagree with others and find life in a community occasionally annoying and sometimes scandalous, we need others, because the community is one way that we are carried to God, especially when we are too weak to walk to God on our own. But I wondered about the paralyzed man. He may have felt shame for his illness or for being unable to support himself. Maybe his friends carried him in spite of himself. Sometimes when we are too embarrassed to approach God, someone must bring us there—even drag us there. Many times when I am discouraged, demoralized, or angry at God, it is friends who remind me of God’s great love and who carry me to God. We cannot come to God without others.”
James Martin, Jesus: A Pilgrimage
“Religion can provide a check to my tendency to think that I am the center of the universe, that I know better than anyone about God, and that God speaks most clearly through me.”
James Martin, The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life
“Finding God often happens in the midst of a community—with a “we” as often as an “I.”
James Martin, The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life
“All of us need to leave things behind in order to follow God. For some of us, it is addictive patterns of behavior, for others an overweening emphasis on our own success, for others the adulation of the crowd. It helps sometimes to look not just at what we’re leaving behind and what God promises us, but also at what God has shown us already. Just look at all those fish.”
James Martin, Jesus: A Pilgrimage
“All of our lives are important, even the parts of our past that we have ignored, downplayed, or forgotten. If we open the door to our past, we will discover God there, accompanying us in both happy and sad moments.”
James Martin, Jesus: A Pilgrimage
“No matter how often I pray, how many retreats I make, or how hard I try, I still sin. It is something that I bump up against daily.”
James Martin, Jesus: A Pilgrimage
“All work has dignity. No job, when done freely, is ignoble.”
James Martin, The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life
“So be joyful. Use your sense of humor. And laugh with the God who smiles when seeing you, rejoices over your very existence, and takes delight in you, all the days of your life.”
James Martin, Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life
“define Ignatian spirituality in a few words, you could say that it is: Finding God in all things Becoming a contemplative in action Looking at the world in an incarnational way Seeking freedom and detachment”
James Martin, The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life
“So if anyone asks you to define Ignatian spirituality in a few words, you could say that it is: Finding God in all things Becoming a contemplative in action Looking at the world in an incarnational way Seeking freedom and detachment”
James Martin, The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life
“The present moment holds infinite riches beyond your wildest dreams but you will only enjoy them to the extent of your faith and love. The more a soul loves, the more it longs, the more it hopes, the more it finds. —Jean-Pierre de Caussade, S.J. (1675–1751), The Sacrament of the Present Moment”
James Martin, The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life
“What would you concede if it didn’t matter who got the credit? What would no longer matter if you were not hostage to the accomplishment tally? How much peace could you claim by trusting that the choices that you made for goodness would ultimately turn out right? Just picture the freedom that comes with living a surrendered life.”
James Martin, The 10 Best Books to Read for Easter: Selections to Inspire, Educate, & Provoke: Excerpts from new and classic titles by bestselling authors in the field, with an Introduction by James Martin, SJ.
“Here’s a joke about discernment: A woman asks her local priest for advice. “Father,” she says, “I have a little boy who is six months old. And I’m curious to know what he will be when he grows up.” The priest says, “Place before him three things: a bottle of whiskey, a dollar bill, and a Bible. If he picks the bottle of whiskey, he’ll be a bartender. If he picks the dollar bill, a business man. And if he picks the Bible, a priest.” So the mother thanks him and goes home. The next week she returns. “Well,” said the priest, “which one did he pick: the whiskey, the dollar bill, or the Bible?” She says, “He picked all three!” “Ah,” says the priest, “a Jesuit!”
James Martin, The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life
“To some of us the humiliation of failure seems to open a wide gulf between God and us. We imagine that God turns away from us in disgust. What I discovered was that failure could be a bridge across the chasm that pride had created.”
James Martin, The 10 Best Books to Read for Easter: Selections to Inspire, Educate, & Provoke: Excerpts from new and classic titles by bestselling authors in the field, with an Introduction by James Martin, SJ.
“Gratitude, peace, and joy are ways that God communicates with us. During these times, we are feeling a real connection with God, though we might not initially identify it as such. The key insight is accepting that these are ways that God is communicating with us. That is, the first step involves a bit of trust.”
James Martin, The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life
“In Ignatian spirituality there is nothing that you have to put in a box and hide. Nothing has to be feared. Nothing has to be hidden away. Everything can be opened up”
James Martin, The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life
“Instead of seeing the spiritual life as one that can exist only if it is enclosed by the walls of a monastery, Ignatius asks you to see the world as your monastery.”
James Martin, The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life
“What would St. Ignatius say about all this? Most likely he would furrow his brow and say (in Basque, Spanish, or Latin, of course) that while you need to earn a living, you have to be careful not to let your career become a “disordered affection” that prevents you from being free to meet new people, spending time with those you love, and viewing people as ends rather than means. It’s an “affection” since it’s something that appeals to you. It’s “disordered” because it’s not ordered toward something life-giving.”
James Martin, The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life
“Without the Jesuits you wouldn’t be enjoying your gin and tonic.”
James Martin, The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life
“Notice that Jesus knows exactly who he is asking to lead his community: a sinner. As all Christian leaders have been, are, and will be, Peter is imperfect. And as all good Christian leaders are, Peter is well aware of his imperfections. The disciples too know who they are getting as their leader. They will not need—or be tempted—to elevate Peter into some semi-divine figure; they have seen him at his worst. Jesus forgives Peter because he loves him, because he knows that his friend needs forgiveness to be free, and because he knows that the leader of his church will need to forgive others many times. And Jesus forgives totally, going beyond what would be expected—going so far as to establish Peter as head of the church.11 It would have made more earthly sense for Jesus to appoint another, non-betraying apostle to head his church. Why give the one who denied him this important leadership role? Why elevate the manifestly sinful one over the rest? One reason may be to show the others what forgiveness is. In this way Jesus embodies the Father in the Parable of the Prodigal Son, who not only forgives the son, but also, to use a fishing metaphor, goes overboard. Jesus goes beyond forgiving and setting things right. A contemporary equivalent would be a tenured professor stealing money from a university, apologizing, being forgiven by the board of trustees, and then being hired as the school’s president. People would find this extraordinary—and it is. In response, Peter will ultimately offer his willingness to lay down his life for Christ. But on the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he can’t know the future. He can’t understand fully what he is agreeing to. Feed your sheep? Which sheep? The Twelve? The disciples? The whole world? This is often the case for us too. Even if we accept the call we can be confused about where God is leading us. When reporters used to ask the former Jesuit superior general Pedro Arrupe where the Jesuit Order was going, he would say, “I don’t know!” Father Arrupe was willing to follow, even if he didn’t know precisely what God had in mind. Peter says yes to the unknowable, because the question comes from Jesus. Both Christ’s forgiveness and Peter’s response show us love. God’s love is limitless, unconditional, radical. And when we have experienced that love, we can share it. The ability to forgive and to accept forgiveness is an absolute requirement of the Christian life. Conversely, the refusal to forgive leads ineluctably to spiritual death. You may know families in which vindictiveness acts like a cancer, slowly eating away at love. You may know people whose marriages have been destroyed by a refusal to forgive. One of my friends described a couple he knew as “two scorpions in a jar,” both eagerly waiting to sting the other with barbs and hateful comments. We see the communal version of this in countries torn by sectarian violence, where a climate of mutual recrimination and mistrust leads only to increasing levels of pain. The Breakfast by the Sea shows that Jesus lived the forgiveness he preached. Jesus knew that forgiveness is a life-giving force that reconciles, unites, and empowers. The Gospel by the Sea is a gospel of forgiveness, one of the central Christian virtues. It is the radical stance of Jesus, who, when faced with the one who denied him, forgave him and appointed him head of the church, and the man who, in agony on the Cross, forgave his executioners. Forgiveness is a gift to the one who forgives, because it frees from resentment; and to the one who needs forgiveness, because it frees from guilt. Forgiveness is the liberating force that allowed Peter to cast himself into the water at the sound of Jesus’s voice, and it is the energy that gave him a voice with which to testify to his belief in Christ.”
James Martin, Jesus: A Pilgrimage
“Noticing helps you realize that your life is already suffused with the presence of God. Once you begin to look around and allow yourself to take a chance to believe in God, you will easily see God at work in your life.”
James Martin, The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life
“We are gradually losing the art of silence. Of walking down the street lost in our own thoughts. Of closing the door to our rooms and being quiet. Of sitting on a park bench and just thinking. We may fear silence because we fear what we might hear from the deepest parts of ourselves. We may be afraid to hear that "still small" voice. What might it say? Might it ask us to change?”
James Martin
“God desires for us to be the persons we were created to be: to be simply and purely ourselves, and in this state to love God and to let ourselves be loved by God. It is a double journey, really: finding God means allowing ourselves to be found by God. And finding our true selves means allowing God to find and reveal our true selves to us.”
James Martin, Becoming Who You Are: Insights on the True Self from Thomas Merton and Other Saints

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