Christian poverty leads us to real love

By Fr. Roy Cimagala


Center for Industrial Technology and Enterprise (CITE)

Talamban, Cebu City


THAT gospel episode where Christ commended a poor widow for putting in two small coins into the treasury over the wealthy who put in their lavish offerings (cfr. Lk 21,1-4) clearly tells us that it is worthwhile to give our all if we truly want to be in love with God and with everybody else.

“I tell you truly, this poor widow put in more than all the rest,” he said, “for those others have all made offerings from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood.”

This is a big challenge for us, considering that we always tend to get attached to the things of this world in a way that undermines true love that channels the very love of God for all of us.

Let us remember that in our relation with God, there is no middle ground. It is either we are with him completely or not at all. We have to overcome that strong tendency to think that we can be partly with God and partly with our own selves, even if we can say that we are giving God 99% of what we have and keep only 1% for us.

We have to give all. In fact, with God we have to give our very own selves, and not only things, not only some possessions. Remember Christ telling us that we have to love God with “all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” (Mt 22,37)

Let’s hope that we can echo these words of an old song: “I have no use for divided hearts. I give mine whole, and not in parts.” Let’s strive to reach that goal. It’s not an easy goal, but neither is it impossible. With God’s grace and our all-out humble efforts, we can hack it.

But given our human condition which allows us to learn things in stages, we have to understand that everyday we have to conquer our tendency to some earthly attachments so that we can say we are giving ourselves more and more to God until we give ourselves completely to him.

Giving our all to God is not selfishness on his part. It is simply in recognition of the basic truth that everything, including our life, comes from him and also belongs to him. We have no right whatsoever to expropriate as our own what actually comes and belongs to God.

We need to understand that our intelligence and will, our freedom and rights that enable us to be and to do what we want, and to be rich in many ways, also come from God and belong to him. They can only be properly exercised when used in accord with God’s will and ways.

And to be rich here does not mean only those with a lot of money and resources. It can mean those who are well-endowed in the other aspects of life—power, fame, health, intelligence, luck, etc.

We need to remind ourselves constantly that even if we can say we are the owners of such wealth, resources, talents, power, fame, and indeed of our whole life, we actually are at best only stewards who have to give an account to the absolute owner and source of all these things that we possess.

Our total self-giving to God and to others is when we start entering the supernatural character that our life possesses, since we are the very image and likeness of God, children of his, meant to share in God’s very life that obviously is supernatural.

This is when we enter into the very essence of love!