Monday, March 29, 2010

A Beautiful Waste

Today (Monday of Holy Week)
the gospel reading is the story
of the anointing at Bethany. (Mt 26: 6-13)
Here is my reflection on the experience
taken from my book, Seasons of Your Heart.

On some days, my heart fills up with questions,
and the gift of my life makes no sense at all.
I can still see that woman, bent over Jesus,
pouring out her expensive flask of perfume
for seemingly no reason at all.
What a silly thing to do!
Do not the scoffers have a legitimate complaint?
What is the point of such extravagance?
And who would think that one would become
so extravagant and wasteful,
as to pour out, not only perfume, but life itself?
It is what we are all asked to do
in our ministry. It has never made sense.
It’s a little bit crazy, as is all love,
to pour out your life like that.
On some days, when my hope feels small,
I want to scream out with the scoffers,
“Why such waste?”
But on other days, when my eyes and heart are clear,
…I feel immensely lavish. I feel extravagant!
And with gentle conviction I proclaim:
“What a beautiful waste this is?”

A jar of perfume
poured out over Jesus
and a question is born:
What is the point of such extravagance?

Why this waste?
I don’t know.
I honestly don’t know.
But if this shocks you so,
prepare yourself
for you’ll see more
more than costly perfume poured out.

You’ll see lives poured out
given freely
used up
spilled out
for no reason at all!

Extravagance unlimited!
Lives poured out
handed over
thrown away
for Jesus!

What is the point of such extravagance?
Why such waste?
Beautiful questions with no answers

and how sad if no one
has ever asked us:
why this extravagance?

Aren’t you wasting your life on Jesus?

--Taken from Seasons of Your Heart, page 179-181
Macrina Wiederkehr--HarperOne Publishers


  1. Pastor Lori Ann StrangMarch 30, 2010 at 11:02 AM

    Sister: I am using your rolling away stones poem for my Easter homily this year. Your writing is so very genuine and touches my heart. I have an older copy of your book given to a friend of mine who grew up in the Catholic tradition... when many others didn't believe in her - one sister saw a spark of creativity and gave her your book (publish date: 1979 by the Silver Burdette co.) WOW! To find that you are still writing and still using the gift God has given to touch many lives and call us all back to the faith journey that lasts as long as we draw breath.
    Thank you.

  2. I ask myself, "What does being poured out look like? I have seen it in others. Have I seen it in myself?" Oh, how I long to be extravagant with all that I have in me, but I recognize some fear that keeps me from a fuller sacred extravagance. I am a mother, a wife, a part time spiritual director. I pray to read your meditation and your poem and see those of us living quiet lives of hope and desire and faithfulness. Is it enough? Is it extravagant? I will keep asking Jesus that question.

    BTW, Marcia said that you said hello from the Women Speak conference. She is my spiritual director and SUCH a gift! Glad that the two of you connected. I'm going to the SDI conference next week. So excited to be with my peoples!