“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.” (John 12.3)
What Mary performs here is the gesture of absolute extravagant giving. It is the deed of contemplation. Nothing has prepared this act. But still, the ointment is there. It is present in the house of the contemplative, who has renounced everything for the Lord. In the house in which one assuredly does not know any special wealth. Nor is it something that belongs to the house; it is rather something that belongs to Mary alone. It is only the symbol of her extravagant giving. And she uses the whole of the precious ointment, she uses it only for the Lord’s feet, and she pours it out still more lavishly in that she dries the anointed feet again with her hair and lets the perfume spread in this ordinary house…Mary shows…how much she has lavished the gift of her own self. She no longer knows what calculation and proportion are. Her entire relationship to the Lord is expressed through one single word: everything. Everything for him.
from Adrienne von Speyr, The Discourses of Controversy, Meditations on John 6-12, San Francisco: Ignatius Press