Dr. Mary Marrocco is an associate secretary for the Canadian Council of Churches. She is also a teacher, writer and lay pastoral worker. Morrocco explores the lives and writings of the saints, spiritual writers and theologians‚ and how they relate to contemporary life.

Have you ever said no to God? Consciously, that is, and deliberately. Very likely, most of us have a constant “no” running through our bloodstream, even when we think we’re saying yes. But occasionally we may be aware of ourselves saying no.

Do bodies go to heaven?

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My friend Eleanor and I went to the garden show, exploring things of the Earth, how they grow and flourish. Eleanor, who’s battling illness, said she’s been wondering about the resurrection of the body.

Christ calls us to walk in truth

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We were sitting watching his daughter’s hockey tournament (her team was winning). My friend and I had both been thinking that day about Robert Latimer, whose request for parole was not granted. Mr. Latimer’s story asks uncomfortable questions.

Faith calls us to love

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Trudging along the slushy sidewalk, I kept my left hand in my pocket, eyes alert, watching for panhandlers. In the pocketed hand was a wad of fresh crisp bills.   

Dividing wall won’t reach to heaven

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Somehow over the Christmas holidays, I become more aware of world conflicts and turmoil. Maybe it’s because our world slows down and I have time to notice. For example, in 1989, the Berlin Wall fell starting Nov. 9, with the Brandenburg Gate opened on Dec. 22 of that year. Over those Christmas holidays the changes in the Eastern bloc dominated the news, especially with the demise on Dec. 25 of Ceaucescu in Romania. 

Baby Jesus points us to our humanness

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How do you prepare for Christmas? One year, when I was working in parish ministry, we decided to hold an Advent retreat. Many parishioners were eager for such a time of reflection. We arranged it well in advance, made posters, booked rooms and soon had abundant pre-registered participants.

Part of Christian life is preparing for death

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A rather superficial movie, a murder mystery, struck a deeper note with me. The movie was about a group of people on an island holiday. Every so often, one of them would disappear, never to be seen again. They didn’t know who would be taken next, or when, how, why or where the person went; but they knew they were all subject to the mysterious phenomenon. Not so different from real life, except that in the movie, the mystery got solved.

Humanity, nature go hand-in-hand

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{mosimage} My old friend Julia was describing her battle with her body. Conflict between body and spirit is often part of physical illness. Sometimes it seems the body is attacking us, as though it were the enemy.

The Spirit shows us reality in ways we never dreamed

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On a trip to France I had a weekend in Paris, which meant serious decisions about what to visit and what to leave out. After Notre Dame, I went to nearby Sainte Chapelle, advertised as having the best stained glass in the country. Stained glass was not a particular interest of mine, but the day was sunny and the destination close.

There’s nothing ordinary about the Trinity

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“I would die without the Trinity,” my friend Fr. Peter said once. How many of us would echo Fr. Peter? Does the Trinity make much difference to our lives or our faith?  Yet it’s one of our key doctrines, distinguishing Christianity from all world religions.   

Lighting the fire of our faith

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The church was in darkness when I came in, the Easter vigil just beginning. The paschal candle was lit. Its fire was passed around the church, until many tiny candles together became a mass of light.