One thing I love about Ignatian Spirituality is that it asks us to use our imaginations. As a person who finds it hard to move from my head to my heart, I have appreciated the call to imagine. Ignatius asks us to imagine the scene, notice the smells and the sounds, and become one of the characters in the scripture passage. So I try, and interestingly, I find myself allowing Jesus into my heart.
In today’s gospel we hear a short story about a poor widow who gave out of her poverty. Entering into this passage in my imagination I plan to be the poor woman. However, as I allow myself to be drawn into the passage, I end up a rich person in the crowd. I wasn’t the humble widow I had hoped to be. Rather, I was one of the people with whom Jesus found fault. In my imagination I am standing in line, following the rules, preparing to put my gift in the treasury. I am with my friends, money in hand. I am immune to my need for God.
Then I notice a smelly, poorly dressed woman making her way to the front. I don’t see Jesus. I don’t notice he is there. I am more interested in fulfilling my obligation than trusting in God. Yet I’m drawn to the smelly, older woman making her way to the treasury. I notice, right after she puts her money in the bowl, she smiles trustingly at Jesus and walks away. I feel myself slowly become aware that I want to be like her, I want to trust God with all that I have.
Praying with this gospel, rather than reading it, draws my heart. I come to know Jesus and I come to know something about myself.
Where does God draw our hearts today? How can we let the widows actions challenge us to trust God more fully?
—Sharron Deax Hanisch earned a Master of Theological Studies degree from the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry (formerly Weston Jesuit School of Theology). She is the mother of four children and a teacher at the School of Lectio Divina, St. Joseph Monastery, Tulsa, OK