Thought of the day
3/8/2021 6:19:50 AM

Monday of the Third week of Lent


Saint Augustine (354-430)

Bishop of Hippo (North Africa) and Doctor of the Church

Sermon 11, 2-3

The Widow of Zarephath

The poor widow had gone out to look for two blocks of wood to bake some bread: it is at this time that Elijah meets her. This woman is the symbol of the Church; because a cross is made of two pieces of wood, the woman, who was destined to die, searches for something by which to live eternally. There is a hidden mystery in this (…) Elijah tells her: “Go, feed me first with your poverty, and you will not run out of your goods”. What a blessed poverty! If the widow received here on earth such retribution, what a reward may she hope to receive in the life to come! I insist on this point: let us not expect to harvest the fruit of our sowing now, at the time we sow. Here on earth, we sow with difficulty what will be the harvest of our good works, but only later on will we gather the fruits of this with joy, according to what is said: “Those who go forth weeping, carrying sacks of seed, will return with cries of joy, carrying their bundled sheaves” (Ps 125:6). Actually Elijah's act towards this woman was not her reward, but only a symbol of it. For if this widow would have been rewarded here on earth for having fed the man of God, what a miserable sowing, what a poor crop! She received just a temporal good: a jar of flour that did not go empty and a jug of oil that did not run dry till the day the Lord watered the earth with his rain. This sign that was given to her by God for a few days was therefore the symbol of the future life where our reward could not be lessened. Our flour will be God himself! As the flour of this woman did not run out in these days, we will not be deprived of God for all the rest of eternity (…) Sow with faith and your harvest will surely come; it will come later on, but when it will come, you will reap it endlessly.