The poor widow's mite that offers the only two coins that, preached to priests and their bishops, but also to some of our faithful stingy

L'Angolo di Girolamo Savonarola: Catholic homiletics in lean times



How many times, in the church dishonor and scandal to the people of God - whose eyes some things never escape - just happened to watch the stories of some poor priests entered in the seminars, maintained to training studies for the priesthood by the good heart of a benefactor or the attentions of the diocese, that their deaths have left considerable inheritance to their beloved grandchildren, But not a single penny to the Church, everything after living a life marked by the greed and avarice?


Ariel S. Levi di Gualdo.


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from the Holy Gospel of this Sunday: The poor widow's mite

In this XXXII Sunday in Ordinary Time hath proclaimed the incisive of Santo Gospel narrating the story of the poor widow casting into the treasury of the temple has the only two coins [cf. MC 12, 38-44. Text of the Liturgy of the Word, WHO]. This text presents us with a difficult reality to escape with flights of fancy, because if the concreteness of the gesture of the poor widow is disarming, the admonition contained in it is not just severe: the two coins represent the sense of wholeness. Offer to God all our being without savings and fear, in the future of our becoming certainty of faith all wrapped up in the mystery of God, Christ. And we presbyters, when during the rite of ordination we said "Here I am!"And shortly after we were consecrated priests, in our own way we became in the two coins of the Poor Widow, by throwing into the treasury of Christ God, who has filed and impressed upon us the great treasure of the gift that has marked us with a permanent and eternal character: the ministerial priesthood.

In the final part of this Holy Gospel Christ the Lord says ...


"Truly I say to you: This widow, so poor, He has thrown in more than all the other treasure. They have all contributed from their surplus. her instead, of her poverty, He threw everything he had, all she had to live " [Mt 12, 44].


This warning is contained stern reminder of our deep responsibility. We men are called to serve the Church by the sacred order of priesthood that makes us unworthy participants in the ministerial priesthood of Christ, we are responsible for this double wealth: the faith of the poor widow and the money of the poor widow. Everything that is offered to God must in fact be used for God, to God and to the glory of God service. All that wealth of gifts we got from the Church and for the Church, our death must return multiplied to the Church, as we learn from the parable of the talents [cf. Mt 23, 14-30].

Following in the footsteps of the divine impropriety of Christ, without false modesty or painful secret places, I wish to ask a question to my conscience as a priest: how we sometimes see administering these two treasures, the patrimony of the faith and the material gifts that come from living members of the People of God? Now that people are talking about Mercy, we should be more aware than ever how far the richness of faith will rest or fall throughout the example. So every day we should ask ourselves: as an example we give to the People of God for him to keep, to develop and to spread the wealth of faith?

At this first question it should follow a second no less painful: in a society where more and more families are struggling to get to the end of the month, as the riches within the Church are divided? How prudent and equitable distribution of these substances are used for the highest decorum of the House of the Lord, for the decent support of his faithful ministers, for the support of the poor and needy?

How many times, in the performance of my priestly ministry in various parts of Italy, I happened to get into the sacristy smelly, to extract from worm-eaten cupboards and means of rotten yellowed overalls dirt, the sacred vestments malodorous, or be compelled to testify the precious blood of Christ within goblets giovabili not corroded inside them? And how many times I then happened to pass by these private housing sacristy of my brother and see inside the latest generation electronic devices, maxi highly expensive television screens ... not to mention the painstaking care with which the brother kept clean your car, full of accessories as useless as expensive? I, too, I always keep my car clean, but that is not an economy car is a car of average sufficiently expensive displacement, which is neither a whim nor a luxury but a necessity for my long and frequent trips, often carried out in a state of bad weather and especially for journeys of hundreds of kilometers. But, first car, which is certainly well preserved, I keep clean the Tabernacle of the Most Blessed Sacrament. Several times I happened to find in fact some tabernacle of dust and grease caked, even a dead fly inside the ciborium.

How many times, in the church dishonor and scandal to the People of God - whose eyes some things never escape - just happened to watch the stories of some poor priests entered in the seminars, maintained to training studies for the priesthood by the good heart of a benefactor or the attentions of the diocese, that their deaths have left considerable inheritance to their beloved grandchildren, But not a single penny to the Church, everything after living a life marked by the greed and avarice?

To make it worse all, is that while these accumulated treasures for nonmembers, not to the House of God, not to the poor and needy of his Holy People ... their other brothers entered into ecclesial and pastoral contexts less happy - or if you prefer less profitable - they had to cash in with their family, because they did not manage to move forward, because they had no money to put petrol in the tank car to go to offer their pastoral services, because they had no money to buy a heavy coat, that should make them from the winter cold.

At the conclusion of this painful discussion but I have a precise utility in the economy of salvation, I invite you to read an encyclical written in the year 1935 by Pope Pius XI, To chatolice Priest, in which the Holy Father did not hesitate to point the finger at certain malpractices of the clergy of yesterday and today, going to the root of potential problems that should always be avoided upstream, but especially offering solutions. For this purpose,, he invites the candidates to the priesthood trainers to understand and above all to perceive what true compassion and how it operates. He wrote in that encyclical Pius XI to the paragraph on the choice of candidates for the priesthood:


"Correct the error when you hear, no human consideration, without the false mercy that would become a real cruelty, not only for the Church, which would give a minister or inept or unworthy, but also to the young man himself who, pushed so above a false way, It could be exposed to be a stumbling block to himself and others, with the danger of eternal ruin […]. To get others to embrace the Gospel, the subject more accessible and more persuasive is the view that law implemented in the lives of those who preach the observance " [full text, WHO].


This message, and partly the loving drama that lurks behind the two coins of the poor widow. On what can be born or can die on which the faith of God's people and the credibility to his priests are called to serve the Church, certainly not using the Church. This is the embarrassment and the provocation with which Jesus Christ, the Son of God made man and God challenges our indifference and our slumber, asking us now more than ever to announce what has been said on the lines and beyond the lines of his Holy Gospel, not that comfortable and de-empowering often we interpret, the sad and disastrous order to evade the truth, until omit to lead people to know the truth that will set us free [cf. GV 8, 32].

The two money of the poor widow have a profound theological significance: represent and manifest the mystery of faith and action of God's grace on the man who, freely accepted the grace, He responds giving himself no savings, so that people can get into the glorious liberty of the children of God. We just need the Church of God and even less of 'poor widow's mite to enrich ourselves or our hungry factions. The Church serves to enrich the whole of humanity, after having become poor in spirit [cf. Mt 5, 3] to become blessed and to gain eternal wealth of the Kingdom of Heaven, aware that Christ has called us to himself and set up for the sacrament of grace "Fishers of Men" [cf. Mt 4, 19], furnished with the best ways of giving our, as his, can be a miraculous catch.

That said, however, it remains unclear the fact that at the same time it is not even permissible lack of sensitivity and generosity on the part of many of our faithful, because the example of the Poor Widow applied to priests, it must also apply to those many believers until they ask and demand for all their human needs, moral and spiritual, do not hesitate to throw the priest out of bed even at two in the morning, but when the priest has to pay heating or electricity bill of the parish church and the premises for the pastoral and charitable activities, that's falling from the seventh heaven many replicate: "But how, you have not the Vatican ... the Vatican Bank?». And then there is the State, there is the Region, there is the Municipality ... in short, there are so many, there are all, except him, faithful miser, that has to be taken until, then takes, But, whether to grant, then it indicates the existence of other, but most other people's wallets ...

This is to say that the Poor Widow coins have a right and a reverse: one for certain priests - of which we first recognize no limits problem, weaknesses, greed and avarice -, the other for those of our faithful who have only hands to take, never to give, downloading on others the responsibility for maintaining the decorum of the House of the Lord and of social structures, youth, charity, welfare and so on.

One of my trainers, with the wisdom of the whole typical of the elderly He told me one day: it is true, certain priests can give the impression of being stingy, or attached to the money, but behind that apparent attachment, which it is then not actually such, They lie in truth quite different fears: the fear of being alone and abandoned in old age. Often, many of these priests, They were very touched - when they were not old people - as cases of priests who died alone and sick. Said this, always my old trainer, continuing to talk about the fears of the elderly priests, he added: "... and species in certain areas, where the faithful often arrive only extended hands to ask the spirit of those to whom everything is due, it has happened that certain priests, become old, sick and no longer exploitable, finding no money found themselves without someone to bring them a glass of water '.

This is the reason why often insist, with young confreres, on the importance of closeness that especially young people should have towards the elderly priests. And I will tell: every time I was close to elderly priests, I have gained a deep well, because a small thing has been the company that I have done to them, or the help I gave to priests semi sick, compared to what they have given to me, sending me their prudence luggage, wisdom, knowledge …

Priests elderly should not be set aside, but far put to work. It would be good that the bishops, especially the young ones, if they held them close as counselors, instead be surrounded by groups of young priests - often driven by personal interests or career expectations conditioning -, because certain elderly are the living historical memory of their dioceses. That bishops will enable them to make the rectors, i confessori, or the spiritual fathers of the seminars, because in order to develop prudence, wisdom, knowledge, no need for the young rectors be sent to do the socio-psychology courses in secular universities, but older people are able to teach young people not only through their virtues, but also through their own defects, that belong to humanity of each of us, presbyters included.

To give another reading at the end of the Gospel story of the poor widow: the poor widow is the Church that gives his all; two valuable coins that she lays into the public treasury of the temple - which is public and visible to everyone -, I have the prudence and wisdom of the elderly.

Therefore, those bishops who say "We must start from the training ', I have always answered: then you have to reboot the elders, since no young, however gifted, You can have the wisdom of the old. Neither may have the momentum of the poor widow, who gave all of herself through the little he had, but what little was his all. And to really give everything takes time, We need a life. And this old did it, while young people need to learn to do it. And to learn how to do that they need the experience of old, especially of those who in the course of their entire Christian and priestly life have tried to transform themselves - for Christ with Christ and in Christ - into the Poor Widow.


the Island of Patmos, 11 November 2018


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6 replies
  1. Iginio says:

    Dear don Ariel, thank you for your explanation the widow's mite. E’ bella, meaningful and simple, yet I assure you that I have never heard it no priest.
    Playing down a bit ', since she spoke of cars, I ask her: who thinks the train? He travels by train ever in his travels? I have a soft spot for trains – at least in theory! – and I promote it for them!

  2. fabius says:

    «…I would like a poor church for the poor, "he said recently the reigning pontiff. Why a faithful should fund a hierarchy covering sodomites and rapists (see dossier Viganò) and does not answer? Posterity will judge …

  3. hector says:

    I went to quickly read the encyclical: a real gem! Words inspired on topics still extremely topical for the formation of priests; thoughtful words of exhortation, warning and lesson for all consecrated persons and also useful for the simple faithful.
    I will return more calmly, compulsando per parola parola. Request: It is taught in Seminars? Or study it is left to the discretion of individual? Perhaps the answer is already implicit in what we are sadly experiencing …

  4. with no fear of the word says:

    righteous thoughts, but Church- Money is complex. Still it remains that it is up to Christians (Catholics) keep even the Church materially (5° general precept), many ways not all right. Many questions, but no answers formulette. The better the system 8 per 1000 italiano, or German church tax system ? both coupons, or bad either? The coin during Mass, peaceful conscience ? The ticket to enter the artistic churches, lawful ? Ancient Churches of Rome only pay setting for wedding celebrations, are confusing ? Christians who live together because “You can not afford the expenses of marriage”, Never say that marriage (and other sacraments) is free but you pay luxuries ? The ecclesiastical salary bestowed priests, even the most mundane, but denied the hated “traditionalists”, It is lawful ? 50 years ago, a highlight was the collection of offers for the Missions: Today there are more evangelizing Missions, or only botched NGO ? Events heretics or indecent in churches, filthy depravity not few nor lowly, single-issue political interference, They are to be financed ?

    • Cristiano says:

      needing no help.
      In front of a lot of your questions may I give to you and to many readers some certainty: l’8×1000 Italian and the German church tax are two very different things.
      In Italy you can’ choose (year by year) to direct the 8×1000 Irpef in favor e.g. of the Catholic Church. It is money already’ paid by the person to the Italian tax authorities: e’ just a chance’ to assign the destination.
      The German INSTEAD fee and’ a withholding (i.e. from his employer) which would be triggered automatically as you register Anagrafe claiming to belong to the Catholic Church (i.e. barrando La Casellina Roemisch Catholic). It is a percentage amount between 8 and 9×100 (percentage), from which you can not’ terminate if not through Anagrafe correction procedure with adjoining curiale. False statements in this respect are regarded as tax offenses (see Luca Toni, former football player of Bayern Monaco) and as such pursued. The curial process above provides that if the person cancels his membership can not anagrafe’ “legally” receive the sacraments (including…

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