Messy Jesus Business

Messy Jesus Business

Father James Martin: Prayer and Polarities

November 05, 2020

Season 2, Episode 4: of Messy Jesus Business, hosted by Sister Julia Walsh


In Season 2, Episode 4 of the Messy Jesus Business podcast, we get into the mess of learning to pray as well as polarities in the Church, which Father James Martin reflected upon. As an author, Priest and editor at large for America Media, Father James is adept at understanding and facing these challenges while remaining true the Gospel.

Father James Martin. Photo Credit: Nutopia.


"I've been a Jesuit 30 years. I've never seen it so divided," he said. "I mean...I cannot believe it. It's stunning to me that you have even some cardinals and archbishops and bishops opposing the Pope."

Father James has experienced these polarities first-hand in his ministry. "It's difficult. but I think part of it is understanding not everyone's gonna like me," he explained. "Not everybody liked Jesus and he was a pretty nice guy."

Sister Julia agreed, "Yeah, but he upset the system, and sometimes when we're being faithful to Christ, we might have to disturb the status quo a little too."

Finding the right approach in the face of division is essential. "The personal attacks are just amazing to me. So that's messy, and the key is to try to be charitable, to never attack people personally, to give them the benefit of the doubt, but also to keep preaching the Gospel," Father James explains.

In this episode, Father James and Sister Julia also explored vocational discernment, what drew him to the Jesuits, and what it was like for him to have a private audience with Pope Francis. And with his latest book on the horizon, "Learning to Pray," they also talked about how surprisingly difficult prayer can be.


Father James Martin, SJ, is a Jesuit priest, editor at large of America, consultor to the Vatican's Dicastery for Communication and author of many books, including the New York Times bestseller, Jesus: A Pilgrimage. His latest book, Learning to Pray will be released in February 2021.

This episode's contemplative moment includes a prayer by Father James Martin, called "A Prayer for When I feel Rejected," taken from his book, Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and LGBT Community Can enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity. You can find the prayer here.

MESSY JESUS BUSINESS is produced, hosted and edited by Sister Julia Walsh with assistance from Charish Badzinski.

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