Our Blessed Mother’s Poverty of Spirit

Our Gospel today (Luke 21: 1-4) asks us to reflect on how we express our love for God.

At first glance, the poor woman in the Gospel looks reckless. Yet, love, regardless of whether it is for God or another person, doesn’t calculate all the percentages.

Many times, it just blissfully provides whatever the beloved needs, even to the point of true sacrifice on the part of the lover for the beloved. The lesson here is simple: love has greater value than material possessions.

This  Gospel reminded me of Our Blessed Mother Mary’s actions in a few Gospel accounts which speak about her presence, love, and the willingness to intercede with her Son; these actions reveal the condition and generosity of her heart.

So our Gospel is not just about what we contribute to the collection basket. It is all about the condition of our hearts – the state of our generosity to the Lord.

You see this Gospel challenges us to ask ourselves this question: “When we give to others, whether it is money, time, talent, or just a sympathetic ear, do we do it out of love or out of a sense of obligation?”

Mary and the poor woman’s witness is that our generosity should always be linked to God’s spirit of charity. These women show us that true selfless generosity must always come from the heart and that we must be willing to give of ourselves for the love of God.

This may not mean cleaning out our bank accounts and giving it all away, a few like St Francis of Assisi, were called to do that; but the vast majority of us are called to clean out our hearts of all those things that interfere with our witness to God’s spirit of love and generosity in our own lives.

As we conclude this liturgical year, and look forward to beginning a new one next weekend, let us pray to Mary to intercede with her Son so that we, too, may share in her poverty of spirit and love of God’s charity.

Copyright © 2012 Deacon Paul O. Iacono All Rights Reserved

3 thoughts on “Our Blessed Mother’s Poverty of Spirit

  1. Many insightful comments here, but I find myself still pondering and not quite comfortable with this paragraph: “This may not mean cleaning out our bank accounts and giving it all away, a few like St Francis of Assisi, were called to do that; but the vast majority of us are called to clean out our hearts of all those things that interfere …” I can almost hear the sigh of relief in the congregation: oh, whew! we can keep our STUFF, just clean out our HEARTS of bad stuff. Yeah.
    I might have understood you improperly, but it seems like this particular part is telling people what they would prefer to hear, reassuring them.
    Jesus was nothing if not challenging, and his request for his followers to divest themselves of THINGS was made clear time after time. Perhaps not to the extent of destituting ourselves (you are right, few are called to throw everything aside like St. Francis did, or the Russian Holy Fools for Christ) but we are indeed asked to put aside more than just those things that interfere with our heart and witness of God’s love.
    It’s hard, for me at least, to have this conversation via keyboard, to clarify shades of meaning. What an interesting discussion this would be face to face for an extended period of time.


    1. Hi, I think that we are on the same page about this.
      Truly, Jesus’ message was not about the accumulation of material goods. He was not preaching nor would He preach, as is seen today in some televangelists, about the blessedness of the accumulation of riches.
      I was trying to say that Jesus is attempting to get us to understand ‘the state of the heart’ is more important that the money in the purse.
      You could have money in the purse, and like Nicodemus, or Joseph of Arimathea, or the Centurion, still be considered a good, and faith-filled man.
      But, it is true that He also said that it would be very difficult for a rich man to enter into Heaven. This demands that we ask “Why?”
      It is probably because the rich man is so preoccupied with his riches, with the worries that come with them, with its maintenance and its governance, that his heart is corrupted and he is unable to see anything else that is valuable – especially the great riches of spirit that comes from loving God and your neighbor and knowing that you are loved back.
      So, if our hearts are in the right place, and in union with God, we will be able to justly apportion our riches to the needs of our family, friends, and strangers who are in need of it.
      Riches are not to be despised, they, like a horse, need to be reigned in and controlled.
      David, Solomon, Jacob’s son Joseph, and Job to name a few were all rich men and considered worthy men by God.
      If riches are controlled by a God loving/fearing heart than those riches can do marvelous things for the people of God’s kingdom and, in turn, give glory to God.
      That being said, it is a delicate, a very delicate balance – and easier said than done. So, ultimately, yes, we are all called to this mystic marriage with the Lord – “to divest ourselves of things” that interfere with our love and commitment to Him so that we may love Him with the purity that He deserves. Yet, this is a very individual experience which each of us has to work out – in fear and trembling – how it can be best applied to our own life. Our success or failure in this is one of the criteria on which each of us will be judged.
      I hope I have clarified rather than muddied the waters. Please feel free to make more comments.


  2. Yes, we do seem to be on the same page. Thanks for the clarification. I think it is important for me to keep in mind the balance here–as you say, easier said than done. It is easy to slip into complacency and cease to grow in faith, love, and relationship with God. I like your Old Testament examples, too. I rarely think of these figures and it is good to be reminded.


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