The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything by James Martin, SJ

Along time ago during a class in college, I watched a movie titled The Mission. It starred Jeremy Irons and Robert De Niro as Catholic priests working in 18th century South America during the historical events surrounding the Treaty of Madrid. The movie, of course, takes a lot of creative liberties but all in all, it is a fantastic movie. For me, this movie was my introduction to a Catholic group known as the Society of Jesus or as they are commonly known as, the Jesuits.

Reverend James Martin, S.J. is a Jesuit priest who has the incredible gift for writing. It is extremely difficult to write seriously about deep theological discussions without being boring or melodramatic . Some writers try to throw in light-hearted stories or silly jokes to keep the mood up but typically it always feels tacked on. Martin, on the other hand, weaves together a perfect combination of significance, levity, and wit.

In The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything, Martin practically gives you a short summary on Jesuits. At nearly 400 pages, I would not usually call this book short, but seeing what one must do to become a Jesuit, this book does seem pretty short.

I am not Catholic nor do I plan on becoming Catholic, but I have deep respect for the Jesuits and other Catholic organizations that have shaped the world we live in today. The Jesuits are committed to many things, but one of the highest commitments is practical ministry. This book is a quick example of their practical ministry. Martin simply presents different religious and social topics and discusses them openly. He shares from the Scriptures, the Jesuit order, and from his own life experiences.

Though I enjoyed the book, I definitely thought the book could have used a bit more editing, but I live by a “less is more” motto. Between this and his other book Between Heaven and Mirth, I would definitely recommend the later.