I’m not accustomed to writing about stuff I read. But I plan here to share with you some of the reading I have done along the way, and when the spirit moves me, to offer some thoughts and reactions.
It prompted me to read just about all of Fr. Martin’s books and to subscribe to his blog. He’s such an accessible writer. His style hit a sweet spot with me and, from everything I’ve read, with many others, as well. My Kindle reader version of this book is so highlighted with my marks and notes, that it seems nearly every page has something of value to be tagged for future consideration.
In the Jesuit Guide, in particular, Fr. Martin writes about the basics — what is prayer, how to pray, how to find God, where to find God — sharing his own personal experience and perspective. He discusses the frustrations and inhibitions that he has felt with his own prayer, as well as his joy of discovering deeper and deeper ways to know and serve God.
Part of what caused me to begin this blog was the realization, after reading Fr. Martins descriptions of prayer, that I have used and continue to use several of the prayer forms he describes. I have felt in the past that some of these these were just me being silly (especially in the case of writing letters, even love poems, to God), but after reading Fr. Martin’s writing, I felt a sense of liberation…many of the ways through which I have communicated with and honored God were what other people (people who actually know what they are supposed to be doing!) are doing. WOW!
Reading the Jesuit Guide made me want to contribute more to and on behalf of God…to DO something more. I didn’t know quite what. But as I prayed about this, I began to have a strong sense that writing about my relationship with God could be helpful to others. That in seeing how clumsy I can be and feel and yet how much joy I derive from my relationship with God, others might feel as liberated as I did to grope about and stumble and get up and try again; in short, to do whatever seems to come naturally to find one’s own way to a deeper relationship with God.
And, I figured, if I never influence anyone else, this writing and organization of my thoughts and experiences would nonetheless enliven and deepen my own spiritual life. It has already accomplished much in this latter regard. I derive much consolation from being able to return to something I’ve written and be reminded of the feelings I felt, the revelations I had been given.
So, all this is due to Fr. Martin’s writing. First, the Jesuit Guide. From there, I proceeded to read just about all of his other books. I enjoyed and was blessed by each of them. Not the least of the benefit of his books has been the reading list he offers in them of other writers who helped to shape his thinking and beliefs.
- Jesus: A Pilgrimage
- The Jesuit Guide To (Almost) Everything
- Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life
- Together on Retreat: Meeting Jesus in Prayer
- My Life With The Saints
- In Good Company: The Fast Track from the Corporate World to Poverty, Chastity and Obeidance
- Becoming Who You Are: Insights on the True Self from Thomas Merton and Other Saints
- How Can I Find God?: The Famous and the Not-So-Famous Consider the Quintessential Question