A Priest for the Modern Age
Sarah Scannell '15
A group of SI students and teachers recently went to D.C. and were lucky enough to hear Fr. Martin speak. Fr. James Martin, SJ is SI’s kind of Jesuit: up with the times, focused on the plight of the impoverished, and driven by social justice. Ethics teacher Ms. Ahlbach appreciates his beliefs that “joy comes from the belief that we are beloved of God and know we are created for love.”
Both Maria Garcia ’15 and Mariana Weiss ‘15 said that Fr. Martin was their favorite guest speaker. Maria expressed her gratitude, saying, “He inspired me to live my own vocation, to have a sense of humor, and enforced that joy is key because it's a tool that welcomes people and shows courage.”
Mariana too had nothing but praise, saying, “I thought Fr. Martin was spectacular.” His personality and humor was definitely unique and I had never met a Jesuit like him. His message about incorporating humor into our lives was amazing, and I'm very happy I had the chance to hear him speak in D.C.”
Unlike many religious figures in history, Fr. Martin strongly believes that joy is pivot- al in faith. In his book Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life, Fr. Martin explores the importance of humor and joy in order to live a full and holy life, presenting an opposing view for a faith that has long been associated with seriousness and outdated tradition. He points out that Jesus was a funny man and showed great humor, but “we don’t get some of the jokes because we are far re- moved from first century Palestine.”
Fr. Martin is perhaps most recognizable to the younger generation as a frequent guest on Comedy Central’s Colbert Report, where he has been dubbed “The Colbert Report chaplain.”
Since 2007 he has discussed his views on faith and on the Catholic Church, often in response to recent news stories and criticism of the church. Like most Jesuits he puts great stock in helping and being in solidarity with the poor, mainly by reducing the importance today’s society has put on material goods. In an interview in 2010, Fr. Martin said, "Christ asked us to work with the poor...In the Gospel of Matthew he says that the way that we're going to be judged at the end of our lives is not what Church we prayed in or how we prayed but really...how we treated the poor."
He has proved to be a great supporter of Pope Francis and all that his ideology means for the future of the Church. With the image of strict, outdated tradition the Catholic Church is gaining, nothing is more refreshing then a progressive priest.
Fr. James Martin, SJ smiles brilliantly.
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