March 10, 2014 — Jesuit Father James Martin, editor-at-large of America magazine and a New York Times bestselling author, brings the Gospels to life in his latest book “Jesus: A Pilgrimage.” The book invites believers and seekers alike to experience Jesus through Scripture, prayer and travel.
“My aim was to write about both the ‘historical Jesus’ and the ‘Christ of faith,’ ” Fr. Martin said. “Too often books about one fail to take seriously the other. But to understand Jesus Christ we need to know as much as we can about the man who walked the dusty ground of first-century Nazareth, and we need to encounter the Risen One.”
Fr. Martin said he tried to combine three genres in his book. “It’s a travel narrative (a pilgrimage I took a few years ago to the Holy Land); biblical exegesis (as we move through Jesus' life I try to examine the relevant Gospel passages); and spiritual reflections (asking what this passage has to say to the reader today). So I hope it's a new way for people to encounter Jesus.”)
The book has stories about Fr. Martin traveling through the Holy Land with a fellow Jesuit, visiting important sites in the life of Jesus. Fr. Martin said the trip “informed and deepened the book in a way I never anticipated. There were some profound spiritual experiences there.”
According to Fr. Martin, some dimensions of Jesus’ life and ministry revealed themselves to him in new ways as a result of the trip. “For one thing, the close confines in which he worked along the Sea of Galilee, where he walked among the crowds, the crowds pressing in on him. The towns were close by one another. It’s easy to imagine him being pressed by the crowds and wanting to get away from the crowds,” he said.
The book, which is available as a hard cover, audiobook and e-book, is dedicated to Jesuit Father Daniel J. Harrington, Fr. Martin’s professor of New Testament during theology studies, who recently passed away.
“I want to say this is the most enjoyable book I’ve written yet,” Fr. Martin said. “It was like a dream come true for me. I was sorry when the project ended.”
Fr. Martin, who says his Jesuit vocation is the greatest gift of his life, also feels blessed by the work he does. “I enjoy my work at America a great deal. How great an opportunity to write a book about Jesus, too. I can’t think of anything more satisfying — except meeting him at the end of my life.” [Source: Catholic News Service]