HUMILITY: The Widow’s Mite, by A Sister of Mercy

widow's mite

From: Contemplations and Meditations on the Public Life of Our Lord Jesus Christ: According to the Method of St. Ignatius; Revised by W. J. Amherst

And Jesus, sitting over against the treasury, beheld how the people cast money therein, and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain poor widow, and she cast in two mites. And, calling his disciples together, he saith to them : Amen, I say to you, this poor widow hath cast in more than all they who have cast into the treasury. For they did cast in of their abundance; but she of her want hath cast in all she had, even her whole living. (Mark 12: 41-44)

Preparatory Prayer: Grant, O my God, that during this meditation all my actions, all my intentions, and all the operations of my soul, may tend purely and solely to thy service and the glory of thy divine majesty. Come! Holy Ghost, fill the hearts of thy faithful, and enkindle in them the fire of thy love. Send forth thy Spirit, and they shall be created; and thou shalt renew the face of the Earth.

O God, who hast instructed the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant us also the gift of the same Spirit, that we may love and relish what is good, and evermore rejoice in his divine consolations, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

1st Prelude: Represent to yourself the exterior porch of the Temple. Jesus is sitting there facing the treasury; he observes those who come to cast money into it.

2nd Prelude: Grant me grace, O Jesus, to animate all my offerings by a pure intention and perfect generosity.

1st Point: God beholds and rewards all that we do for him.

And Jesus, sitting over against the treasury, beheld how the people cast money therein, and many that were rich cast in much. And there came a certain widow, and she cast in two mites. (Mark 12: 41, 42)

That which is done for men is often ignored, or, if it be known, it remains unrewarded. How many painful cares are borne to please the world, and are only repaid with indifference or contempt! It is not so with the service of God; everything in this is known, reckoned, appreciated, and rewarded. The eyes of our Heavenly Father are continually fixed on us, and there is not a single good feeling nor one act of virtue escapes him. What eagerness I ought to show, in consequence, to turn all to occasions of merit! If an ambitious man could be assured that all he did would be made known to his prince, and that he would be honorably promoted in proportion to his zeal and activity, with what care and industry would he not fulfill all his duties! And yet he would only be aspiring to perishable fame; but I aspire to the happiness of being loved by God, and of sharing one day in the triumph of Jesus Christ and in the possession of his Heavenly kingdom. Why, then, do I so often find myself so tepid and negligent in the practice of virtue? Ah! it is because my faith is too weak, and I do not sufficiently desire the gifts promised to generous souls. Have pity on me, my God; render my faith lively and practical; grant me grace ever to remember that thy eyes are always fixed on me, and that thou dost take into account all that I do for thy love.

2nd Point: God does not regard the value of our gifts, but the dispositions which accompany them.

And calling his disciples together, Jesus saith to them: Amen, I say to you, this poor widow hath cast in more than all the rest. For they have given of their abundance, but she in her want hath cast in all she had, even her whole living. (Mark 12: 43, 44)

God sees into the depths of our souls, and his goodness deigns to make account of all that we do for him: the most trifling offering is to him of inestimable value, if made with that generous love which gives unreservedly all that it can give. This is the disposition Jesus praises in the widow in the gospel, and which he wishes to find within us when we consecrate to him our gifts or our services. I ought then, if Providence gives me the opportunity of doing much for God, to be careful to lose nothing of the merit attached to it, and for that end to purify my intentions, inflame my ardor, and make complete my generosity. If my position only permits me to do small things, I should encourage myself with the thought that our Lord accepts them if I do them with great love. Thou hast no need of anyone, O Lord; thy sovereign majesty and almighty power is infinitely above all that thy creatures can offer thee ; but their love gives thee glory, and thou dost ask of them their hearts; receive mine, O my God; unworthy and imperfect as it is, thou wilt not reject it, if it be profoundly touched with the persuasion of its misery and of thy goodness; may this heart, which thou hast created only for thy love, ever belong to thee ; replenish it with thy love, and render all its offerings worthy of thy divine complacency.

Colloquy with our Lord: Let us adore him as our God and our Rewarder. Let us ask him for the grace never to lose the remembrance of his presence, and to seek him alone in all the good we do. Let us beg of him to pardon the human motives and imperfect intentions which may have glided into our good works. Let us offer our heart to him, and consecrate to him all our actions.

Resolutions: Often to recall the presence of God, and to do all our actions to please him.

Offering of the Resolutions: My God, I offer thee these resolutions; unless thou dost deign to bless them, I cannot be faithful to them; from thy goodness then I hope to obtain this blessing, which I ask of thee in the name and through the merits of Jesus, my divine Savior. Holy Virgin, Mother of my God, and also my Mother, my good angel and holy patron saint, obtain for me the grace to keep these resolutions with perfect fidelity.

Spiritual Bouquet: “My son, give me thy heart.” (Proverbs 23: 26) “Behold I come to do thy will, O my God.” (Hebrews 10: 9)

Prayer: Soul of Christ, be my sanctification; Body of Christ, be my salvation; Blood of Christ, fill all my veins; Water of Christ’s side, wash out my stains; Passion of Christ, my comfort be.

O good Jesus, listen to me: In Thy Wounds I fain would hide, ne’er to be parted from thy side. Guard me should the foe assail me. Call me when my life shall fail me. Bid me come to thee above, with thy saints to sing thy love, world without end. Amen.

Examen of the Meditation: Did I carefully prepare the points of my meditation, and resolve on the fruit I would draw from it? Did I recall it to my mind before I went to sleep? Did I, from the moment of awaking, occupy myself with it, to the exclusion of every other thought? Did I place myself as I ought to do in the presence of God? Did I make the preparatory prayer and the preludes? Did I preserve a becoming reverence in my attitude? Have I not passed lightly from one point to another? Have I reflected on the mystery before me with a sincere desire of profiting by it? Have I made the colloquies, asking for grace to practice the virtue that God set before me? Have I made resolutions for the day, determining on the opportunities when I would reduce them to practice? Have I made a Spiritual Bouquet?


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  1. A profound reflection on The Widows’ Mitres | Operating invisibly

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