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.

A woman I knew became Christian as an adult. Unlike some of us lifelong Christians who can be oblivious of the strangeness of our faith, she was appalled by one of the Beatitudes. 

Who could forget the look on Ingrid Bergman’s face, playing Paula in the movie Gaslight, as she apprehends the possibility that she might be slowly going insane?

Remember the old fairy tales?  They are told, or re-told, by great story-tellers like the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen and my favourite, Andrew Lang — who, back in the 19th century, gathered stories from around the world into the Red Fairy Book, Green Fairy Book and plenty of other colours. 

A spiritual director once surprised me by asking: “What does your little voice have to say?” 

How difficult it is to get out of the centre of the universe. And how painful to find our way there.

Increasingly, I’ve been observing incidents of white-hot anger flaring out on quiet streets or on public transit. To name but one, a pedestrian accidentally crossed in front of a cyclist, the two immediately started swearing at each other and almost came to blows. These strangers were dry tinder, ready to burst into flames of rage.

A contemporary government official, in a high-profile speech, once enthused about the benefits and powers of science.

A young Catholic couple were not engaged, but hoping to get there. At a certain point, naturally enough, Anne and Simon found it difficult not to engage in sexual relations. Instead, they quarrelled.

One of many arresting moments in J.R.R. Tolkien’s masterfully gripping The Lord of the Rings involves Merry, one of Frodo’s three hobbit friends who accompany him on his journey to destroy the ring of power. Merry finds himself at the centre of a great battle, with one of the Nazgul (dread servants of the Enemy) bearing down on the King whom Merry has sworn to serve. When the King is struck down, with horror all around him, Merry starts to crawl away. Something inside calls him to return — but “his will would not answer” and he keeps fleeing in the other direction.

During the pandemic lockdown, a bishop spoke to his flock about fears and panic. He emphasized that times were bad, faith was going to be lost, God would leave us and all that remained was to hold tight to our traditions and hope for the best.