About Marina McCoy
Marina McCoy is an associate professor of philosophy at Boston College, where she teaches philosophy and in the BC PULSE service learning program. She is the author of Wounded Heroes: Vulnerability as a Virtue in Ancient Greek Philosophy (Oxford University Press, 2013). She and her husband are the parents to a young adult and a teenager and live in the Boston area.
Contact: Website

To Labor and Not to Seek Reward

In celebration of our fifth anniversary, we’ve invited our dotMagis bloggers to reflect on the individual lines of St. Ignatius’s Prayer for Generosity. The Prayer for Generosity gives us words that assist us on a lifelong path of becoming more fully surrendered to God. St. Ignatius’s words “to labor and not to seek reward” can include larger vocational decisions to seek God’s call for its own sake, and not for external rewards such as wealth, […]

Four Ways to Avoid Gossip

In celebration of the release of Pope Francis’s book, The Church of Mercy, several of our dotMagis bloggers will be sharing reflections based on the words of Pope Francis. Few of us gossip out of delight in maligning another. My suspicion is that most gossip arises from either a misguided desire to defend oneself against another who is perceived as harmful, or in order to connect more strongly to others in our social groups. When […]

Winter Dormancy

Late winter is a quiet time for any gardener, especially in more northern climates. Although there are a few crops that can be planted indoors to put outside in early spring, for the most part it’s too early to get started. Tomatoes grown indoors now will be too leggy by Memorial Day. Other early spring crops, like peas, do best in the warmed ground to begin. Winter is a time of stillness and relative inactivity […]

Winter Desolation

It’s been a miserable winter for many people, with record-breaking snowstorms and chilling temperatures. As I write this, we are about to get hammered with yet another snowstorm, and nearly every face I see seems to carry a scowl. It’s the kind of atmosphere that is ripe for desolation. St. Ignatius gives us some tips on resisting the “evil one” who seeks to undo our efforts toward goodness and love: “The enemy acts like a […]

New Year’s Gift of Indifference

As we move out of the Christmas season and into the New Year, my family is cleaning up the last decorations and storing away extra gift wrap and boxes. It reminds me of a prayer from many Christmases ago, when my spiritual director suggested praying about what gift I’d like to offer to Jesus and what gift I thought he might be offering to me. This suggestion was given at a particularly difficult time in […]

Zechariah and Holy Silence

For years, I overlooked the story of Zechariah. I much preferred the story of Mary, whose fiat to the angel Gabriel stood in contrast to Zechariah’s doubt. Mary had passion and faith, while Zechariah seemed uncertain. But over time, I have developed a greater appreciation for him. Often, Zechariah is presented as a counterexample to Mary’s faith. We might contrast his disbelief when he hears the angel tell him that his wife Elizabeth will bear […]

Eucharistic Thanksgiving

This month we celebrate Thanksgiving in the United States. Eucharist means “thanksgiving,” and in the liturgy, we as a community express thanks at many levels. For example, in the Gloria we offer a song of praise that not only thanks God for taking away sin, but also adores God’s own being. An especially striking aspect of thanksgiving at the Mass is the constant, generous, mutual exchange between God and us during the Liturgy of the […]

Autumn Times of Prayer

Colorful foliage is at the heart of autumn where I live. In a good year with plenty of rain the past spring and summer, the hues are spectacular and varied. I remember learning some years ago that while we might think of green as the leaf’s “real” color, the chlorophyll that gives the leaf its color is masking the deeper colors beneath. Only when the chlorophyll disappears as the tree prepares to shed its leaves, […]

Conversion and Car Keys

I’m a convert. Sometimes my conversion experience piques the interest of cradle Catholics, who are eager to hear about the idea of choosing a faith into which they were born (while I admire the depth of faith in which lifelong Catholics are steeped). Yet while my initial conversion was moving, it was but a brief moment. Conversion is not a single movement, but an ongoing experience. The Greek term for conversion, metanoia, means to turn […]

The Earthen Vessel

Ignatian contemplation is most often associated with praying imaginatively with a scene from the Gospels, but I also find praying with particular simple images to be fruitful. One image that I have found helpful in prayer is the image of the “earthen vessel.” A former spiritual director introduced me to the hymn after a particularly powerful retreat with many graces. It expresses beautifully the paradox of being a human being, with all our frailty yet […]

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