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

A Patient Lent

When March rolls around in New England, I eagerly look forward to the arrival of spring and new plant life, only to discover that, same as last year, meteorological spring comes a lot sooner than the “spring” soil that allows the ground to be workable and new life to emerge. I am not an especially patient person. I hate waiting and doing nothing and the frustration that ensues when the ground and cold weather seem […]

Sharing the Wisdom: What I Learned from My Grandfather About Courage and Nature

When I was a child, my brother and I spent long summers with my grandparents on their retirement farm outside of Cornwall, Ontario. My grandparents were both immigrants from Latvia and often offered perspective or advice from their old country. Most of what I learned from them came in the form of storytelling. In 1944, my grandmother gave birth in a hospital with bombed-out windows and little heat in the December cold. After recovering from […]

The Magi and Contemplation

When the magi see the star and come to visit the Christ Child, they see the baby and fall down and worship God’s presence there. When I have prayed with this story imaginatively, my focus is rarely on the magi themselves. Almost inevitably my gaze turns to the baby Jesus. What could be more natural when there is a newborn infant in the room? When I was a young mother, I used to enjoy just […]

Three Characteristics of Advent Waiting

Advent is a time of waiting. But not all kinds of waiting are alike. In Advent, we wait in a special way. 1. Advent waiting is expectant. Many years ago, when I was expecting my first child, I felt a deep connection to Mary in the Nativity stories. As I noticed my stomach beginning to swell, awaited feeling the first kicks, and wondered what it would mean to become a mother, I waited with an […]

Time in Silence

For the past several months, I have been building in one monthly retreat day into my calendar, on the advice of a spiritual director. I had been complaining that although I try to set aside an hour to pray in silence in the morning, I often long for the longer spaces of silence a time of retreat provides. Time in silence is nourishing and grounding. Silence gives the space to hear God speak, whether through […]

Five Easy Ways to Build Prayer into Your Day

Too busy to pray? Here are five easy ways to build a little prayer into the day. Try a “mini Examen” just before lunch, dinner, or going to sleep. Pause to thank God for good gifts from the day, and notice where God was present. Gratitude is at the heart of prayer. (And the full Examen doesn’t take that long, either!) Slow down and take a walk. On the way to an appointment? Instead of […]

Finding Space for Play and Wonder

In Plato’s dialogue Theaetetus, Socrates says, “All philosophy begins in wonder” (155d). I recently thought of this in the midst of a discussion of Jesus’ idea that one must be a child to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 18:3). Children love to ask “why” questions. Why are there clouds in the sky? Why do birds sing? Why do all the flowers not bloom at the same time? Some questioning is about a desire […]

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 […]

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