Saint Ignatius Delgado, O.P. and his Companions

Dominican Martyrs of Vietnam

Today the Church honours the memory of the 117 Martyrs of Vietnam who suffered for their faith in Christ during the 18th and 19th centuries.  These martyrs were recognised and beatified in four groups during the early 20th century and the second group beatified by Pope Leo XIII in 1906 were all Dominicans – Saint Ignatius Delgado and his Companions – whom we hold in special honour today.  The whole group of 117 were canonised together in 1988 by Pope John Paul II.

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If someone were to undertake a study of the people who contribute to the upkeep of their parish it would undoubtedly show that each person’s gift means something different—as different as each giver.

The two coins that the poor widow gave were insignificantly small compared to the larger gifts given by the successful merchants and wealthy farmers jostling past her.  But Our Lord could see how much the coins were worth to this woman, and her gift touched his heart.

What was so special about her offering?  The answer gets at the very root of the reason why we are called to give charitably.  Many people are helped by the contributions we make.  But God doesn’t delight in an offering just because of what can be done with it.  His concerns go far beyond a mere pragmatic accounting of pounds and pennies.  God is overjoyed when we give like this poor widow, because in doing so, we give our very lives to him.

This woman, donating more than she could afford, glorified God.  Her sacrificial gift was an offering of worship.  When we surrender ourselves to God by giving out of our substance, he rejoices in it, no matter how small we may think our contribution.  And so let us ask God today for the desire and the courage to surrender to him with the same selfless spirit as the widow who touched his heart.

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