“Teach us to give and not to count the cost.” - Saint Ignatius Loyola
Gospel text (Lk 21:1-4): Jesus looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasure box; He also saw a poor widow dropping in two small coins. And he said, «Truly, I tell you, this poor widow put in more than all of them. For all gave an offering from their plenty, but she, out of her poverty, gave all she had to live on».
Today, as it happens so often, small things go by unnoticed: small alms, small sacrifices, small prayers; but what, at times, may look small and unimportant, it frequently represents the culmination of master works: be it great works of art, be it the maximum goods and deeds of personal saintliness.
Because these small things are mostly unnoticed, their bona fide intention is out of question: we are not to seek in them neither recognition nor human glory. Only God will discover them in our heart, in the same way as only Jesus could see the poor widow's generosity. It is more than certain that the poor woman did not play trumpets to announce what she was doing, and it is even possible she was ashamed and felt ridiculous before the eyes of the wealthy, who, while offering splendid gifts into the treasure box, were making others, feel admiration for them. Yet, that woman's unselfishness, that caused her to drop the two small coins despite her poverty, deserved the Lord's praise: «Truly, I tell you, this poor widow put in more than all of them. For all gave an offering from their plenty, but she, out of her poverty, gave all she had to live on» (Lk 21:3-4).
The widow's generosity is a good lesson for us, Christ's disciples. When we give all, we are then empty; we "have no more" left (Jn 2:3). Jesus then fills us with a miraculous superabundance of His new life (see Jn 2:5ff) which comes only when we've "emptied ourselves" (see Phil 2:7). When we give it all to Jesus, He gives it all to the Father, Who fills us with new life, so through Him we "may be all in all" (1 Cor 15:28).
Generous giving out of our plenty is important and necessary as it is the practice of justice. But the real imitation of Christ is the generous donation out of our poverty. The woman who gives her “mite” is greater in her love than the mighty. When we give to others out of the resources that we really need for ourselves – when we give the substance of our life rather than the “extra” – then we really understand and practice Charity, the Divine gift that is so evident in Christ’s outpouring of his life for our sakes.
What is your "want"? Do you want wealth, financial freedom, a new car, sexual fulfillment, popularity, or vacations? St Augustine tells us, " it is better to have God in our soul than gold in the safe. " Quite true: Let us be generous with God and He will be much more so with us.