Giving God Your All

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Well, there it is. With Mary’s humble recognition of servanthood and her fiat, “May it be to me as you have said,” time stopped and started up again. All the waiting was over. The ancient hope was to be fulfilled in and through this young woman. In that act of humble servanthood to the Lord, Mary opened the door of her whole being, allowing the infinite blessing of the promised Messiah to enter into the broken world through her. In her deep faith she was willing to give her all to God, withholding nothing.

I am going to make what may seem a strange analogy here with the gospel passage in Luke 21: 1-4, which is about the Widow’s Mite. You know the simple story. It goes like this: “When he 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.'” In a similar way, this is what Mary did when she said yes to God’s messenger. She gave her all. She gave her whole being; body, soul, and intellect to God to be used according to his will. This is what God is asking all of us who call ourselves Christians to do today.

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Can we be like Mary, or the poor widow? Can we open ourselves completely to the will of God so that he can continue to fill us and the world with the infinite grace and healing power of his love for all we know and meet. Are we willing, like Mary and the poor widow, to give our all to God? This is, of course, our deepest desire as Christians. We are called to this virtue of humble magnanimity every day. But we are also mired in the tensions and the worries, the weakness of will that seem to be so much a part of our humanity. This makes no difference, though, if our hearts are directed toward God as Mary’s and the poor widow’s were. God can fill even the most battered of vessels to overflowing, if we bend our wills to his as Mary does in today’s devotional reflection.

The fact is that most of us are just ordinary folks. Very few of us will be extraordinary in the eyes of the world. But what God asks of us in our ordinariness is to be extraordinarily kind, loving, generous, and compassionate in our daily lives. We are all poor in the economy of heaven. If, in our humility, we open ourselves to God as Mary did, God’s wealth of love and mercy will enter us. When we reach into the tattered purse of our love, especially when times are difficult, by letting go of our personal needs or desires at a given point in time, in order to serve the needs of another who is suffering more, our generosity will be like that of the poor widow. Sometimes this is difficult, even seemingly impossible. But if our minds and hearts are focused on God, all things are possible. The proof is in the passage that serves as our devotional reflection today. With Mary’s simple acceptance of God’s will, infinite love and forgiveness entered time and space in the form of an infant child growing in her womb.

Lord, enter us today. Fill our hearts to overflowing with love for you and for our neighbor. Help us in our poverty to say yes to you in all things. Give us the humility of Mary and the faithful generosity of the poor widow, so that we may be your servants of love and compassion in our daily lives. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site blog.