When Jesus is born, he does not even have the cradle of a poor child. With his disciples, he sometimes has nowhere to lay his head. He will die stripped of every garment, in the most absolute poverty; but when his lifeless body is taken down from the Cross and given to those who love him and follow him closely, they treat him with veneration, respect and love. Joseph of Arimathea will be in charge of buying a new linen cloth, where he will be wrapped, and Nicodemus will buy the necessary aromas. St. John, perhaps astonished, has left us the great quantity of these: about a hundred pounds, more than thirty kilograms. They did not bury him in the common cemetery, but in an orchard, in a new tomb, probably the one that Joseph himself had prepared for himself. And the women saw the monument and how his body was laid to rest. On their return to the city they prepared new aromas.... When the Body of Jesus remains in the hands of those who love him, everyone tries to see who has more love.
In our tabernacles Jesus is alive, as in Bethlehem or on Calvary. He is given to us so that our love may take care of him and attend to him with the best we can, and this at the cost of our time, our money, our effort: of our love.
Reverence and love must be manifested in generosity with all that concerns worship. Not even under the pretext of charity towards one's neighbor can one fail in charity towards God, nor is generosity towards the poor, images of God, praiseworthy if it is done at the expense of decorum in the worship of God himself, and much less if it is not accompanied by personal sacrifice. If we love God, our love for our neighbor will grow, in deeds and in truth. It is not a question of mere price, nor is there room for simple arithmetical calculations in such matters; it is not a question of defending sumptuousness, but dignity and love of God, which is also expressed materially. Would it make sense if there were economic means to build places of entertainment and recreation with good materials, even luxurious ones, and that for divine worship there were only places, not poor, but poor, cold, dreary places? Then the poet would be right when he says that the nakedness of some churches is "the outward manifestation of our sins and defects: weakness, indigence, timidity in faith and feeling, dryness of heart, lack of taste for the supernatural...".
The Church, watching over the honor of God, does not reject solutions different from those of other times, she blesses clean and welcoming poverty - what marvelous churches, simple but very dignified, there are in some villages of little economic means and much faith; what is not admitted is carelessness, bad taste, little love for God that supposes dedicating to worship rooms or objects that - if it were possible - would not be admitted in the home of one's own family.
It is logical that the ordinary faithful should help, in a thousand different ways, to ensure that all that pertains to divine worship is carefully cared for and preserved. The liturgical signs, and all that concerns the liturgy, enter through the eyes. The faithful should come away from a liturgical ceremony strengthened in their faith, more joyful and encouraged to love God more.
Let us ask the Blessed Virgin that we may learn to be generous with God as she was, in the great and in the small, in youth and in maturity..., that we may know how to offer, like Abel, the best we have at every moment and in every circumstance of life.