Are you afraid of the dark?

Published in Faith

Love your enemies, Jesus tells us. Apart from the direct command of God, it’s not obvious that loving enemies is a necessary or even desirable thing to do. They can and do hurt us, and hating them can motivate us in protecting ourselves.  

Published in Mary Marrocco
One Sunday morning in church, I wondered why the person beside me was breathing so loudly. Did he have some terrible lung ailment? Was he about to expire? It sounded almost like… snoring. 
Published in Faith

“The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.”

Published in Mary Marrocco

In our city, and throughout the world during this Year of Mercy, several churches have Holy Doors. They’re pilgrimage sites, just like the one at St. Peter’s in Rome, only much closer.

Published in Mary Marrocco

“I saw that everything within my view which ought to be white, had been white long ago, and had lost its lustre, and was faded and yellow. I saw that the bride within the bridal dress had withered like the dress, and like the flowers, and had no brightness left but the brightness of her sunken eyes.”

Published in Mary Marrocco

A woman was sitting with her spiritual director. Not quite “sitting”; collapsed like a rag doll, listlessly staring at the floor. He looked at her. He urged her to pray: stop doing, stop trying to get herself out of the dark place she was in. “What good will it do?” she bleated, equally unsurprisingly. She hadn’t read Richard Dawkins’ description of prayer as uselessly “murmuring in our heads,” but would have resonated. Then, bitterly: “Is God going to send me a rose?”

Published in Mary Marrocco

My mother and I have an annual tradition of spending a day together at the Canadian National Exhibition. This year, as we sat in sunny chairs near a shady gingko tree, listening to the approaching parade, a tall man folded himself into the neighbouring chair. Taking a break from his booth, he told us it was his 38th year exhibiting there. He showed us a smooth rounded stone with a hole in the middle: a cobblestone he’d reclaimed from the lake. They were dumped there because they were obsolete, but he finds beauty in them.

Published in Mary Marrocco

“Change is good!” So proclaimed a brightly smiling instructor to her dismayed class, who’d just learned their school was being moved to a different corner of the city. Somehow it didn’t feel quite as good as the neon smile and cheery voice pronounced it should.

Published in Mary Marrocco

At a conference I attended in Belgium, people around the dinner table got talking about the different countries they were from, and the characteristic spirit of each nation.

Published in Mary Marrocco

My sister and I used to get season’s tickets to the ballet. They brought colour, beauty and music to long winters, and gave us an opportunity to visit. They also took us to performances we wouldn’t normally select, which is how we ended up at a performance of Swan Lake. We had tickets, so we went.

Published in Mary Marrocco

Why is everybody always rushing? 

Published in Mary Marrocco
May 30, 2014

Hearts on fire

It can be tough to speak up even when something burns inside you. Especially if everybody seems happiest not saying or hearing it, and you wonder if you’re crazy or misguided, and won’t you look like a fool or a downer if you do say it.

Published in Mary Marrocco

One of the most gifted actors I’ve observed is Robert Duvall. From fearless napalm-loving Lt. Col. Kilgore in Apocalypse Now, to shy retired Cuban barber in Wrestling Ernest Hemingway, or mild-mannered consigliere of The Godfather, he gives life to an astonishing array of characters.

Published in Mary Marrocco

A colleague drove me home, a long trip across the city. I volunteered directions. He, absorbed in the dulcet tones and colourful maps offered by his GPS (Global Positioning System), didn’t listen. The computer knew better than I did where I lived and how to get there. “Her” regularly interjected directions were the influential force of that journey.

Published in Mary Marrocco
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