From the Gospel of St. John for today’s Mass of the Monday in Holy Week:
12 1 Jesus therefore, six days before the pasch, came to Bethania, where Lazarus had been dead, whom Jesus raised to life.
12 2 And they made him a supper there: and Martha served. But Lazarus was one of them that were at table with him.
12 3 Mary therefore took a pound of ointment of right spikenard, of great price, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the odour of the ointment.
12 4 Then one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, he that was about to betray him, said:
12 5 Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence and given to the poor?
12 6 Now he said this not because he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief and, having the purse, carried the things that were put therein.
12 7 Jesus therefore said: Let her alone, that she may keep it against the day of my burial.
12 8 For the poor you have always with you: but me you have not always.
12 9 A great multitude therefore of the Jews knew that he was there; and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead.
Mary is the symbol of the soul in love with God, the soul who gives herself exclusively to Him, consuming for Him all that she is and all that she has. She is the symbol of those souls who give up, in whole or in part, exterior activity, in order to consecrate themselves more fully to the immediate service of God and to devote themselves to a life of more intimate union with Him. This total consecration to the Lord is deemed wasteful by those who fail to understand it– although the same offering, if otherwise employed, would cause no complaint. If everything we are and have is His gift, can it be a waste to sacrifice it in His honor and, by so acting, to repair for the indifference of countless souls who seldom, if ever, think of Him?
Money, time, strength, and even human lives spent in the immediate service of the Lord, far from being wasted, reach therein the perfection of their being. Moreover, by this consecration, they conform to the proper scale of values. Giving alms to the poor is a duty, but the worship and love of God is a higher obligation. If urgent works of charity sometimes require us to leave His service for that of our neighbor, no change in the hierarchy of importance is thereby implied. God must always have the first place.
–From Divine Intimacy, Fr. Gabriel of Saint Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.