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Tuesday 23 April |
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The character trait that will help you advance in your spiritual life


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Fr. Luigi Maria Epicoco - published on 11/21/22

It seems that the Gospel wants to tell us that it was Jesus' humanity first and foremost that was functioning properly ...

Today’s readings can be found here. Read Fr. Epicoco’s brief reflections on the daily Mass readings, Monday through Saturday, here. For Sunday Mass reading commentary from Fr. Rytel-Andrianik, see here.

“He saw some wealthy people putting their offerings into the treasury and he noticed a poor widow putting in two small coins.” Jesus’ observing eyes are not simply curious; they are attentive. Attention is the first great characteristic of the inward-looking. Indeed, the opposite of attention is distraction and superficiality. 

Before rising to the spiritual level, the characteristic of attention is first and foremost a human trait that doesn’t necessarily need faith to develop. The gift of faith illuminates this form of attention, but it presupposes it; it doesn’t create it.

It seems that the Gospel wants to tell us that it was Jesus’ humanity first and foremost that was functioning properly, and it was precisely on this foundation that his entire spiritual experience rested. 

But it’s also interesting to take seriously what Jesus says as a result of this very focus of his:

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

Jesus catches a detail invisible to others. He notices something that no one else can see. Jesus sees this woman’s purity of intention, her total trust, her complete self-surrender into God’s hands.

It seems that this passage wants to suggest that we investigate, above all, the quality of our underlying intentions. God doesn’t look at our performance, but at what’s in the depths of our heart and what moves us to do or not to do something.


Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

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