Love Is a Total Gift
November 22, 2021 (readings)
- Memorial of St. Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr
- Deacon Erik Burckel, LC
When he looked up he saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins. He said, “I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest; for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.”
Opening Prayer: Dear God, I love you because you notice little details, like a poor widow offering two small coins. I know that you see and cherish all of my good deeds too. It makes me want to love and serve you even more. Please give me the grace to do so!
Complete Love: There is a sense of finality in the poor woman’s meager donation. She had something, and now she has nothing and it would seem her life is about to end. We are now in the last week of the liturgical year, when we read of the end times in Luke 21. And it all begins with this poor widow donating her fortune to God. We are like that woman; we are poor and seemingly insignificant in world history. Our names will be forgotten, like hers was. And yet what she did for God has never been forgotten. Scripture presents her as the epitome of love and devotion, for she followed the first commandment and loved the Lord her God with all her heart, mind, and soul.
Not Much, but All: Jesus often makes statements which can be maddening to those with a worldly mentality. He said, “She has put in more than all the rest.” The worldling says, “But it simply isn’t true! She put in only two coins, entirely irrelevant to the treasury needs.” Jesus is trying to open us up to a deeper reality: The Father does not measure our self-donation in worldly terms but he does ask us to offer him everything we have. May we have the courage to give everything to the Lord, as did this poor woman.
I Choose All: What happened to the widow the day after she gave God her last two coins? Did she die of want and exposure? The Gospel doesn’t say. Wasn’t it rash of her to give away everything she owned? Yes, it was rash. But the saints remind us that love is daring, rash, and sometimes even foolish. When discerning her path in life, St. Thérèse of Lisieux said, “I choose all.” The worldling says, “You can’t choose all, that’s foolish.” May we be fools for Christ!
Conversing with Christ: Jesus Christ, you loved me so much that you gave me all you had by dying on the cross. From the poverty of your humanity, you offered your whole self to your Heavenly Father. You learned obedience through what you suffered and so became the fount of salvation for all who believe in you. Teach me to understand this logic of love so dear to your heart.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will read and reflect on Philippians 2:1-11.
For Further Reflection: Read about the lives of St. Jean de Brebeuf and St. Isaac Jogues, Jesuit missionaries to the New World who gave God their all.
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