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.

How difficult is human relationship! How glorious, how deeply and universally sought-after it is! Our hunger for relationship can draw out the best and the worst in us. The deepest wrestling is with one another, in relationship — be it person to person, nation to nation, or Church to Church.  

Mary and child is an enduring image of wonder

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At a major-league baseball playoff game in Toronto last year, after a questionable umpiring call, disgruntled spectators started throwing beer cans onto the field of play.

Great things can come from depths of pain

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Towards the end of the summer, I met my friend John for coffee. A recurring event, not nearly frequent enough, but invariably enriching to heart and mind.

Called to be painfully Christian

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On a rainy Saturday, I joined a unique gathering. In Grimsby Museum, an exhibition long in the making opened — “Sweat Equity: Grimsby Co-operative Homebuilders 1953-1956.” It documents and displays the story of 80 families who co-operatively financed and built their homes. Sixty years later, those houses still grace several lakeside blocks in this Ontario town in the Niagara Peninsula.

Bridging power and vulnerability

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Walking home from the grocery store, I heard a wild cry on the street behind me. A young man had ripped open his car door, slammed it again with a thundering metallic crash, then simply stood and roared like a lion. Seeing that no one was in danger, I walked on. Another roar came, with a richly voiced four-letter epithet, and another crash-slammed door. The counterpoint of raw emotion continued for a while — door-slamming, wordless roaring, life-searing oaths. Even at a distance, I felt it. Whatever that young man was expelling into the atmosphere, something in me resonated.

God’s investment in humanity brings us to the fullness of life

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On summer evenings, without intending it, one hears interesting conversations. 

Parish must become the centre of one’s life

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It can be easy to feel lost and lonely in church; and that’s twice as lost and lonely as anywhere else.

God is found in being present to each other

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Recently I received, on the same day, articles from three different sources. One was about the 219 girls captured by Boko Haram who are still missing. The second, about “way more” than 1,200 aboriginal Canadian women missing or murdered. And the third, about 4,472 baby girls “unaccounted for” in Canada over the past 20 years, referring to female fetuses aborted in favour of male children.

Open and shut case for mercy

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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.

Getting rid of the bitterness

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“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.”

Exposing the lies depression spreads

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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?”