"She, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood"

How significant is the Gospel story of the widow who, out of her poverty, cast into the Temple treasury «all she had to live on». Her tiny and insignificant coin becomes an eloquent symbol: this widow gives to God not out of her abundance, not so much what she has, but what she is. Her entire self.

We find this moving passage inserted in the description of the days that immediately precede Jesus' passion and death, who, as Saint Paul writes, «made Himself poor to enrich us out of His poverty» (2Cor 8,9); He gave His entire self for us... In His school, we can learn to make of our lives a total gift; imitating Him, we are able to make ourselves available, not so much in giving a part of what we possess, but our very selves. Cannot the entire Gospel be summarized perhaps in the one commandment of love? The...  practice of almsgiving thus becomes a means to deepen our Christian vocation. In gratuitously offering himself, the Christian bears witness that it is love and not material richness that determines the laws of his existence. Love, then, gives almsgiving its value; it inspires various forms of giving, according to the possibilities and conditions of each person.

Benedict XVI, pope from 2005 to 2013

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