Between Heaven and Mirth

11 Aug

When I am away from Milford and mention that I am from Milford, I hear, “There’s a Jesuit retreat house there.” I quickly add, “Yes, it’s within the boundaries of my parish, but I claim no responsibility for the Jesuits.”

Often a visitor to the parish, seeing “A.M.D.G.” in stone right under “St. Andrew” over the doors of our church, and knowing that “Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam” is the motto of the Jesuits, asks me, “Are you a Jesuit”? I return, “No, I’m a real priest.”

The Jesuits are known and respected in our city, not only for the retreat house, but also because of St. Xavier parish, St. X. High School and Xavier University.

Somehow I stumbled on “My Life with the Saints” written by Father James Martin, S.J. It was so down to earth and uplifting, and got me believing, as Father Martin suggested, that maybe I was attracted and drawn to know and become devoted to St. Andrew, because Andrew had been praying for me long before I paid any attention to him. Fascinating!

Then comes along Father Jim’s “The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life.” I devoured it. It is so practical and applicable to everyone’s life, yes, even to mine as a diocesan priest. The book begs me to recommend it to anyone who is looking to grow in their relationship with God or their enjoyment of life.

I just left, where I pre-ordered his “Between Heaven and Mirth: Why Joy, Humor, and Laughter Are at the Heart of the Spiritual Life,” which won’t be released until October. I want to be among the first to read it.

Yesterday Father Martin, bravely and in good humor, sat across the desk from the host of the Colbert Nation, explaining God’s job and defending God’s approval rating. That’s brave – and that’s using a pulpit to reach many who might not usually sit near a pulpit.

2 Responses to “Between Heaven and Mirth”

  1. Bridget August 12, 2011 at 7:19 pm #

    Thank you, Fr. Rob for posting this. I too have enjoyed reading Fr. James Martin S.J.’s books. He as well as many other Jesuit, Dominican, Franciscan and diocesan priests have brought me closer to God.
    Your post is well timed as tomorrow (August 13) the Jesuit Novices (as well as Novices of other orders I am sure) take their permanent vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Please join me in praying for these men and thanking the Lord for calling them to use their gifts to serve God by serving God’s people.

  2. Jennifer August 12, 2011 at 8:02 pm #

    Very fond of the Jesuits. I went to XU and cannot claim that I really had a personal relationship with any of them. However, I feel that I got something out of their mere presence on the campus (besides an excellent education). Of course, they influence everything at the school. I never really thought about that before. The concept of service to others was very, very emphasized there. I loved Bellarmine Chapel too. It was just really nice to have a chapel on campus where you could go if you needed to. It’s interesting that I would read about Fr. Martin here because I just found out about that Colbert interview on the Internet the other day (on Facebook via Raymond Arroyo? or on the Loyola Press site?). Friended him right away on Facebook. If you are suggesting with your last comments that the Jesuits are very forward-thinking, I share your opinion. The suggestion that St. Andrew was praying for you long before you came to know him is wonderful!

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