Pouring out, filling up

    March 25, 2024

    Holy Week is here. It feels at once like both a finish line and the beginning of a race. Our prayer, fasting, and almsgiving has prepared us for this moment, and — ready or not — here it comes. Here He comes: the One to receive our offerings, sacrifices, sufferings, and sins, and carry them with patience, mercy, and unfathomable endurance to Calvary so that they — we — may be redeemed.

    “Grant, we pray, almighty God, that though in our weakness we fail, we may be revived through the Passion of your Only Begotten Son,” the Collect from today’s Mass petitions for revival; that we may be revived by Christ’s Passion. That His exhaustion, suffering, and sacrifice may somehow revive us.

    It seems backwards, upside down. But isn’t that the way of God’s economy? Turning our ways upside down, breaking our preconceived notions and values open with lavish generosity.

    Mary of Bethany gets it. She takes a liter of “costly perfumed oil” and anoints Jesus with this most-prized possession, which could, as Judas suggests, have been sold for a year’s income and given to the poor. Mary is living in the economy of God — one not of bottom lines and profit over expenses, but of expenses that profit. Of pouring out that fills up. Of dying that brings forth life.

    What are we willing to pour out in wasteful, lavish love for God this week so that we can be revived by Christ’s Passion? What else can we exhale so we can fully inhale the truth of the Triduum and Easter Resurrection? What alabaster jar inside us needs to break so that we can be reborn?

    Aimee Shelide Mayer works in Nashville, TN, as a Spiritual Director and consultant to non-profits, churches, and schools around issues of social justice and spiritual formation. She works closely with CCUSA and Catholic Charities agencies across the country on a Seminary Engagement Project guided by the USCCB’s Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development and the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD).

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