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All She Had
Memorial of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Looking up, he saw rich people putting their offerings into the treasury; and he noticed a poverty-stricken widow putting in two small coins, and he said, “I tell you truly, this poor widow has put in more than any of them; for these have all put in money they could spare, but she in her poverty has put in all she had to live on.”
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, make my heart more like yours, generous and magnanimous.
- Jesus Notices: The Gospel passage today starts with Jesus “looking up.” Jesus notices. He noticed the rich people and what they put in the treasury. He noticed the poverty-stricken widow. He notices our external actions and our internal dispositions and intentions. This reality calls us to live under that gaze. We live under many “gazes”: the world’s standards, our friends, our families, our parents, our own ideals. But the only one that counts is that of Jesus. He sees the big picture of our lives—where we are and how we have come to the present moment. And he loves us abundantly.
- The Greatest Gift: Jesus mentioned that the poor widow put in “more” than any of the rich people. Is giving relative? In a sense it is. It is relative to the heart’s capacity. The greater the heart’s capacity, the greater the gift. How can we increase our heart’s capacity? By growing in a spirit of poverty. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said “blessed are the poor in spirit, the Kingdom of God is theirs.” The less we hold onto for ourselves, the more available we are to receive the gifts the Lord wants to give. And in return, all we have can be returned to the Lord or given in his name. We discover the greatest gifts in a spirit of poverty: the capacity to receive from God and freely give what was received.
- All She Had: Jesus said that the poor widow gave all she had. She held nothing back in her desire to be generous. She had a magnanimous heart. We rarely speak of the virtue of magnanimity. According to St. Thomas Aquinas, magnanimity helps a person achieve great and noble acts, like this woman who gave “all she had.” It requires great humility, recognizing that what one does and offers is due to God’s gifts. What gifts and riches do we possess? How can we be magnanimous by “giving all we have”?
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, make my heart more like yours, poor of spirit and magnanimous. Thank you for the gifts that you give me. Help me be generous in offering them to others.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will reflect on how you may call me to be magnanimous.
For Further Reflection: The Virtue That Takes Virtue to the Next Level.
Jennifer Ristine is a consecrated woman of Regnum Christi dedicated to spiritual and faith formation through teaching, conferences, writing, and spiritual direction. While serving in Ancient Magdala she wrote Mary Magdalene: Insights from Ancient Magdala and “Nine Days with Mary Magdalene.”