Mary Marrocco

Mary Marrocco

Dr. Mary Marrocco is an associate secretary for the Canadian Council of Churches. She is also a teacher, writer and lay pastoral worker. Her column, Questioning Faith, features topics about the teachings of our church, scriptures, the lives and writings of the saints and spiritual writers and theologians. She can be reached at marrocco7@sympatico.ca.

How do we not become violent in an age of violence? How can we find another way when in our world, and even in our Church, violence seems to have made such terrible inroads?

Her body is thin and tense. It carries the anguish, the hurts and false steps, of years. Her face does not as yet reveal the pain she’s known in her young life. She doesn’t cry. Alone, sometimes, she has bursts of uncontrollable stormy tears. Never the gentle kind and never for long. 

Our collective annual engagement in gifts at Christmas-time has wound up for the year. Consumer Christmas can be frustrating and painful, but still it recognizes and develops in us the power of gift. 

Stopping for lunch en route to a big city, my companion remarked:  “My grandmother grew up in this town. In those days, it was beautiful, a thriving and energetic community.”  

“A voice was heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children; and she refused to be comforted, because they were no more.” (Matthew 2:18, quoting Jeremiah 31:15)

“I have been half in love with easeful Death.” So wrote poet John Keats two centuries ago. For him it was sorrowful, yet his succinct sentence could well describe our current perspective in this country. 

One late-summer evening, I snatched a moment to walk down to the lake. The day’s rain was starting to clear, golden sunshine emerging. The beach was criss-crossed with noise and activity: volleyball players, loudspeakers, food sales, toys, umbrellas. 

As a psychotherapist, I work with people harmed by abuse: abusers who “own” it, and who don’t; falsely-accused people; and many, many people from many walks of life who have been abused.  

Are you afraid of the dark?

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.