Monday, November 21, 2011

"Self-sacrifice is the real miracle out of which all the reported miracles grow."

“The Christian faith is meant to be lived moment by moment. It isn't some broad, general outline--it's a long walk with a real Person. Details count: passing thoughts, small sacrifices, a few encouraging words, little acts of kindness, brief victories over nagging sins.”

Gospel text (Lk 21,1-4):
When Jesus 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."

Money is a power in our world that takes many forms. We meet budgets, send aid, search for jobs, collect dividends, and confront the growing gap between rich and poor. My credit score sits next to my bank account as a measure of my worth in the eyes of the world. Entering into my heart, I find expectations shaped by a capitalist world that I sometimes mistake for the only way the world could be. The financial crisis stirs up fear. What future will our children face? Our spirit shrinks with our retirement funds. Gravity gets the upper hand and grace retreats.

The widow was alone and vulnerable. She had very little to grasp. Yet she realizes how many blessings fill her life. Set free by gratitude, she digs into her meager rations to share her wealth with others. Her generosity was not designed to win favors from God or temple leaders. It was not simply adherence to the law. The widow knew a fullness missing from the grasping hands of those who never have enough. She knew abundance and her response was to share with others.

The widow's generosity is a good lesson for us, Christ's disciples. We can be extremely generous, as the wealthy people that were «putting their gifts into the treasure box» (Lk 21:1). But, none of this will be worth while if we only give “from our plenty”, without a loving or generous spirit, without offering ourselves along. St. Augustine says: «They looked at the great offerings from the wealthy and they praised them for that. And, even if they could see the widow later on, how many did notice those two coins...? She gave whatever she had, for she had God in her heart. But she had plenty, for she had God in her heart. 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.

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