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 two young adults and live in the Boston area.
Contact: Website

Ten Things Forgiveness Is Not

Forgiveness is not the acceptance of injustice. Forgiveness is not a reason to keep things the way they always have been. Forgiveness is not incompatible with loving anger. Forgiveness does not eliminate the need for mutual communication. Forgiveness is not yet reconciliation. Forgiveness is not a moment but a process. Forgiveness does not forget history. Forgiveness does not create illusions but engages deeply with what is real. Forgiveness is not a straight line. Forgiveness is […]

Seagulls as an Image of the Evil Spirit

I like to watch seagulls as they glide across the sky, but as with many of God’s creatures, we can have negative interactions with them as well. This past summer on retreat, I spent much of my time praying near the ocean. One day I watched as seagulls chased down a fishing boat. A flock of seagulls repeatedly dove in, attempting to steal some of the haul from the boat as it sailed forward in […]

Contemplation to Attain the Love of God

The Contemplation to Attain the Love of God is a kind of capstone of Ignatius’s Spiritual Exercises. Sometimes it is phrased as “The Contemplation on Divine Love,” since God’s love is not something that we “attain” through our own actions. The aim of the meditation is to be aware of the gracious and abundant love of God and to respond in love, generosity, and freedom. Ignatius asks us to pray for the grace that we […]

Ignatian Indifference

Often, we think about freedom as freedom from interference from others, but St. Ignatius understood freedom differently. For him, human freedom is a freedom to grow in relationship with God and share in God’s redemptive work. This requires internal freedom or what Ignatius called “indifference.” Indifference means being detached enough from things, people, or experiences to be able either to take them up or to leave them aside, depending on whether they help us to […]

Living Out the Beatitudes, Part Two

In Pope Francis’s recent apostolic exhortation, Gaudete et Exsultate (Rejoice and Be Glad), he reflects on the Beatitudes as a guide for how we can increase in holiness. Last week we looked at the values of poverty, meekness, mourning with others, and the pursuit of justice. The Pope goes on to talk about two aspects of mercy to consider in the beatitude: “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.” These are serving others […]

Living Out the Beatitudes, Part One

Pope Francis recently released an apostolic exhortation, Gaudete et Exsultate (Rejoice and Be Glad). The document is rich in reflections, such as one on the Beatitudes. I found the Pope’s commentary on the Beatitudes could serve as a kind of examination of conscience. How am I living out these Beatitudes, and where do I need to grow? For example, Pope Francis asks us to reflect on the beatitude, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for […]

Savoring the Gifts Like Chocolate Eggs

When we were children, my brother and I used to eagerly await awakening to Easter baskets full of candy, which we soon devoured. As an adult, I have mostly lost my sweet tooth, but I still like the occasional small piece of chocolate. It is a treat to unwrap slowly just one foil-wrapped chocolate egg, savor its taste and texture, and let that be enough. This Easter, I have been praying about all the good […]

Praying on Holy Saturday

After the powerful days of Holy Thursday and Good Friday, knowing how to pray on Holy Saturday can feel a bit uncertain. Easter has not yet arrived, and yet the intensity of praying with the Passion has passed. Although surely there are practical things to do in order to get ready for Easter—clothes to press, a meal to prepare—skipping over Holy Saturday never feels quite right to me. At the same time, how to proceed […]

Letting This Lent Be God’s

What if this Lent we didn’t approach the practices of prayer, almsgiving, and fasting with an eye to what we can do to transform ourselves, but rather with an eye to what God wants to do in order to transform us? Too often we approach Lent as though it were a series of New Year’s resolutions: to give up a particular bad habit, or share more with the poor, or be more faithful to prayer. […]

Three Ignatian New Year’s Resolutions

Here are three New Year’s resolutions grounded in the counsel of St. Ignatius Loyola. 1. Give others the benefit of the doubt. Ignatius said to be, “more ready to put a good interpretation on another’s statement than to condemn it as false” (Spiritual Exercises 22). What I am tempted to do: Correct others when I think they are wrong. After all, perhaps I am pretty sure I know the truth, especially if it is on […]

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