If you are a religious publishing geek like me, you know all about James Martin. If you have not heard of him, then you are in for a treat. Jim is a Jesuit priest on staff with Americamagazine, for which he serves as “editor-at-large.” While Jim is mostly known for being ubiquitous in the media, most famously for Stephen Colbert naming him his old show’s “chaplain,” as well as Jim being the go-to Catholic-answer-man for almost all the major reporters covering the beat, he is probably the bestselling Catholic author writing on the faith today. Still, what I think makes him so special is his passion for helping people connect with God.
I first read Jim’s work in My Life with the Saints (Loyola), a wonderful memoir-plus-biography of the major Christian figures that have shaped Jim’s spiritual life. I was deeply moved by the capsule introductions to such figures as Ignatius of Loyola and Francis of Assisi but also by the unofficial saints, such as Dorothy Day, Mother Teresa, Thomas Merton, and others. But what I found most helpful was Jim’s story of how each figure changed how Jim practiced his own faith. This kept the focus on spirituality and how to grow as a Christian, which each of his subjects would have appreciated.