Every time I turned around, something was costing more money: a haircut, local produce, a restaurant meal. Then the theatre company called to say that the matinée performance we booked in our subscription was sold out. Should Fred and I change shows or pay more for an evening performance?
We don’t have a lot of money so we’re careful with it. Fred and I talked about the tickets and the recent expenditures as we walked to our weekly contemplative group. “I think I see a pattern emerging. I wonder if God is answering my prayer to help me become less self-centred,” I said. “Instead of whining about the cost, I could enjoy the fact that others are getting what they need.”
“Besides,” I continued, “if I really meant the Ignatian prayer I have been praying, it’s not my money anyway.”
That evening a member of our group led. She invited us to use our imagination to pray with the story of the woman who anointed Jesus with perfume. What is Jesus asking you to “waste” for him? she asked us to consider.
I imagined myself as the woman with the alabaster jar of perfume. I resonated the disciples’ dismay: What a waste! Should I do it? Nervously I poured the expensive perfume on Jesus’s head. The scent filled the room and delighted him. It delighted me, too.
Then the scene changed. I saw myself with Jesus pouring perfumed blessings on the people who worked for Pacific Theatre, and then on my hairstylist, the strawberry farmers, and the friend I had lunch with. Each person was filled with joy.
As Fred and I walked home, we talked about the evening and the sold-out matinée. “I want to spend more money and get the evening tickets,” I said. He agreed.
Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty,
my memory, my understanding,
and my entire will,
All I have and call my own.
You have given all to me.
To you, Lord, I return it.
Everything is yours; do with it what you will.
Give me only your love and your grace,
that is enough for me.
– Ignatius of Loyola
Suscipe (Take and Receive) by St. Ignatius of Loyola
Photo of St. Mary Magdalene by Fr. Lawrence Lew, O.P. Used with permission.
Scripture reference: Matthew 26:6-14
© Esther Hizsa, An Everyday Pilgrim, 2014.
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