The image of the “widow’s mite” has a special place in the religious imagination of so many parishes, schools, soup kitchens, thrift shops, and shelters. In truth, most every parish church community has wonderful older folks—widows and widowers among them— who form the backbone of parish life and outreach. They may be poor or rich, many living on fixed incomes. These good folks help parish communities and non-profit causes in a variety of ways… most often with little recognition. One widow I know spoke about how she comes alive just by sitting in the “quiet” of her parish church or in the “chapel” of her bedroom, praying for family members and the needs of others, sometimes saying the rosary, often just conversing with the Lord in her heart.

The daily prayer, practical service, and deep-down faith of these good folks build a powerful network of spiritual energy that envelops families, neighborhoods, and institutions of all kinds. Today’s gospel reading reminds us to thank these good folks and to hold them and their needs up to our good and gracious God. These special friends of the Lord are truly saints in our midst.

—The Jesuit prayer team