Memorial of St. Cecilia, Virgin and Martyr
In our Gospel today, Jesus says that “this poor widow … has offered her whole livelihood.”
The image of this poor widow is an image of what the Church is striving to be in the world today. I mean that she understands herself as completely dependent upon God. Out of that posture she seeks to give what she has, she seeks to give herself in allegiance to God and to whatever he asks of her. This is a humble stance, a dependent ‘location’ in a world engrossed in the search for security.
This dependent status of the Church, like that of the widow, is interestingly reflected in the situation of the four men mentioned in our first reading: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. They knew they were depending on God to take care of them when they resolved not to defile themselves with the king’s food or wine. “After ten days they looked healthier and better fed than any of the young men who ate from the royal table.”
We can apply this to the poor widow and to the Church. She is completely dependent upon God. This is especially true today in the midst of those situations where being a Christian gets persecution! But she is “healthier and better fed” because she has an interior fullness, in grace and truth. Despite the precariousness of her situation, she firmly trusts that God will take care of her. He will bring her to the fullness of eternal life. The example of the virgin martyr, Cecilia, whom the Church commemorates today, is only one of many examples of such dependence shown by so many ‘poor widows’ of all the ages!
Reflection by Fr. Xavier Nacke, OSB