Category Archives: Scripture

VIDEO REPORT: Colbert Report chaplain says God wants us to laugh

Father James Martin, S.J.

Being a faithful Catholic doesn’t mean you have to be a joyless one.

New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan knows that. When Archbishop Dolan was installed to his post in the Big Apple, an enterprising reporter asked the newcomer if there was anything he would like to condemn. Archbishop Dolan responded in the affirmative.

“I condemn instant mashed potatoes and light beer,” he deadpanned.

A few years ago, when Washington Cardinal Donald Wuerl visited a Catholic bookstore, the owner approached him and said, “Oh!  You’re looking for a book, Father. You must be a Jesuit!”

“No,” Cardinal Wuerl replied, “but I’m literate.”

Back when Blessed Pope John XXIII enjoyed making surprise visits to Catholic institutions in Rome, he once stopped at a hospital run by the Sisters of the Holy Spirit. The superior of the religious community ran up to the Holy Father and announced that she was “the superior of the Holy Spirit.”

Without skipping a beat, the pope countered with: “Well, you outrank me. I’m only the vicar of Christ!”

Those were just a few of many stories of faith and good humor shared by Jesuit Father James Martin during last night’s Ignatian Day Lecture at St. Ignatius in Baltimore. The Jesuit priest, a bestselling author and culture editor of America Magazine, spoke on the important role of humor in living a spiritual life.

Well-known for his amazingly funny appearances on Comedy Central’s Colbert Report, Father Martin is traveling the country to spread a message that might be summed up in two words: “Lighten up.”

Along with Matt Palmer – my good friend and colleague at The Catholic Review, I had the honor of interviewing Father Martin at the end of his lecture.  The priest was very generous with his time and gave us a lot of good insights into evangelization.

We will be sharing some of what he had to say in the next few days.  I will also be posting some interesting observations from Father Martin on what it’s like to be on the Colbert Report.

For now, take a look at some of these three video clips from last night.  Father Martin will have you laughing like you won’t believe.  Stay tuned for much more to come and check out The Welcome Matt to see what Matt Palmer’s posting about Father Martin’s appearance last night.

7/31 UPDATE: Click here to hear Father Martin share some of his favorite Jesuit jokes.


New Bible features C.S. Lewis

There’s a new Bible on the market from HarperOne that features annotations taken from the spiritual writings of C.S. Lewis, one of the greatest Christian writers of all time best known for his “Chronicles of Narnia.” The newly released “C.S. Lewis Bible” incorporates passages from some of Lewis’s greatest works, including “Mere Christianity,” “The Screwtape Letters,” “The Great Divorce,” “The Problem of Pain,” “Miracles” and “A Grief Observed.”

The New York Times has the story:

(Lewis’) most famous apologetic is “Mere Christianity,” based on radio talks given during World War II. That book has helped convert Christians as dissimilar as the Watergate felon Charles W. Colson and the National Institutes of Health director, Francis S. Collins.

In “Mere Christianity,” Lewis writes of Jesus: “I am trying here to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: ‘I’m ready to accept Jesus as a great moral teacher, but I don’t accept His claim to be God.’ That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic — on a level with the man who says he is a poached egg — or else he would be the Devil of Hell.”

This famous passage does not, on a second read, make much sense. After all, could not a great moral teacher have messianic delusions? But on a first read, it is quite persuasive, and classic Lewis. It is clear, confident and a bit humorous, and it offers a stark choice as it firmly suggests the right answer.

According to (Michael) Maudlin, an executive editor at HarperOne, the “Narnia” books are still “huge backlist sellers that dominate everything else” his company publishes by Lewis. But “Mere Christianity” still sells about 150,000 copies a year, as does “The Screwtape Letters” (1942), a satirical correspondence from an uncle demon to his nephew demon about how to lead a human astray.

“I would say in the last 10 years, C. S. Lewis has sold more books than any other 10-year span since he started publishing,” Mr. Maudlin said. “He’s not only not declining, he is in his sweet spot.”

No wonder HarperOne, owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, repackages Lewis so. The Lewis Bible, available in cloth (18,000 copies sold since its November debut) or leather (6,000), shares a recycling genre with “A Year with C. S. Lewis,” a collection of 365 Lewis readings, which since 2003 has sold 200,000 copies.

The new Bible splices in quotations from Lewis’s books and unpublished papers. For example, in Genesis, next to the story of Noah’s drunkenness, appears an excerpt from a 1955 letter to one Mrs. Johnson. “One can understand,” it reads in part, “the bitterness of some ‘temperance’ fanatics if one has ever lived with a drunkard.” But, Lewis suggests, teetotalers are wrong if they write alcohol out of the Bible.

More here.


Redemptorists tweet through Advent

The Redemptorists of the Baltimore Province are making it about as easy as it gets to read snippets of daily Scripture this Advent. Every day, they are sharing a short Bible passage on Twitter, Facebook and their website. Twitter only allows messages of 140 characters or less, so these messages are short and sweet!  In this hectic time of year, take a few seconds (really, that’s all it takes!) to reflect on the true meaning of the season.


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