"out of her poverty"

This morning I began Luke 21 during my prayer time. I love this story:

Jesus looked up and saw the rich putting their gifts into the treasury; and he saw a poor widow put in two copper coins.

And he said, "Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all the living that she had."

And as some spoke of the temple, how it was adorned with noble stones and offerings, he said, "As for these things which you see, the days will come when there shall not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down."

I especially like how Luke puts the saying about the temple right after the story about the poor widow. It's not money or buildings ("noble stones and offerings") that God needs, or even wants. We're eager to heap praise on wealthy benefactors when they "support" God's work. We think we need them. But to God, the poor woman's two copper coins were much more valuable (and they really have done far more for God's kingdom than those other noble stones and offerings, which disappeared long ago).

It makes me think of how I've been overwhelmed by the unbelievable richness of my experience with Heather, though we have very little. Our privacy is rather limited (because our lives are shared with many others). Our entertainments are always simple and inexpensive. So much of what we use is borrowed. But it's all so good (or maybe it's so much better because it's been shared with us or given--all a gift).

I introduced her to some poetry by John of the Cross recently. Because she is also a poet and interested in the intuitive/mystical aspects of the spiritual life--plus the tone of his poems seemed rather appropriate right now. Here's "The Dark Night of the Soul" (which follows this same theme of great richness in poverty, complete fullness in emptiness...):

On a dark night,
Kindled in love with yearnings--oh, happy chance!--
I went forth without being observed,
My house being now at rest.

In darkness and secure,
By the secret ladder, disguised--oh, happy chance!--
In darkness and in concealment,
My house being now at rest.

In the happy night,
In secret, when none saw me,
Nor I beheld aught,
Without light or guide, save that which burned in my heart.

This light guided me
More surely than the light of noonday
To the place where he (well I knew who!) was awaiting me--
A place where none appeared.

Oh, night that guided me,
Oh, night more lovely than the dawn,
Oh, night that joined Beloved with lover,
Lover transformed in the Beloved!

Upon my flowery breast,
Kept wholly for himself alone,
There he stayed sleeping, and I caressed him,
And the fanning of the cedars made a breeze.

The breeze blew from the turret
As I parted his locks;
With his gentle hand he wounded my neck
And caused all my senses to be suspended.

I remained, lost in oblivion;
My face I reclined on the Beloved.
All ceased and I abandoned myself,
Leaving my cares forgotten among the lilies.