God is Near 3 Minute Retreat

Fr. James Martin, SJ, shares his reflection on today’s retreat:

Sometimes it’s hard not to fear. It seems like the reasonable and unavoidable thing to do: for example, if you get a bad diagnosis from the doctor, or lose a job, or hear a piece of terrible news. In these situations, I sometimes find myself trying to trust in God but failing. Fear gets the better of me. That’s when I find comfort in old adage from the Scottish philosopher John MacMurray about real religion and false religion.

I’ll paraphrase: False religion says that if you believe in God, nothing bad will ever happen, so don’t worry. Real religion says that even if you believe in God, something bad might happen, but there’s no need to worry. In fearful times we tend to forget that God is right there with us, no matter what happens—through our friends, our families, even our doctors—and that God gives us all sorts of resources to deal with our problems and move through them, and if we’re lucky, past them. The key is remembering all this when the fear starts and focusing on the trust instead.


James Martin SJ

James Martin, SJ

James Martin, SJ, is associate editor of America magazine and a prolific author, writer, and editor.

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Books by James Martin, SJ

Lourdes Diary

Seven Days at the Grotto of Massabieille

Fr. Martin's illuminating and humorous account of seven busy and gratifying days at Lourdes is a vivid description of a place with a special, mysterious spiritual presence.

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A Jesuit Off-Broadway

Center Stage with Jesus, Judas, and Life's Big Questions

Theater and theology share the stage in Fr. James Martin’s A Jesuit Off-Broadway, the true story about the making of a celebrated play.

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Awake My Soul

Contemporary Catholics on Traditional Devotions

A contemporary look at traditional devotions from well-known Catholic writers.

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