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

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 […]

How Do We Wait?

Advent is a time of awaiting the Lord. But there are many ways in which we can wait. Zechariah awaited the fulfillment of the angel’s words with confusion and doubt. Yet the Lord delivered on his promise. Elizabeth awaited expectantly and greeted Mary with hope. And the infant leapt in her womb. Mary awaited faithfully, pondering and trusting in the angel’s reassurance not to be afraid. And the Lord was with her and within her. […]

God Receives Us

The Ignatian Suscipe begins with the words, “Take, Lord, and receive…” This prayer then goes on to offer oneself to God. The Suscipe is a prayer of surrender. We might think about what we are doing on our end when surrendering (or resisting surrender): what parts of our lives we give to God or hold back; what aspects of ourselves we disclose or hide (perhaps even from ourselves); and whether we are free around matters […]

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