Friday of the Twenty-FirstWeek in Ordinary Time
The meaning of vigilance
“Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones, when taking their lamps … Since the bridegroom was long delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight, there was a cry, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise ones replied, ‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you. Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’ While they went off to buy it, the bridegroom came and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him. Then the door was locked. Afterwards the other virgins came and said, ‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’ But he said in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour”. Mt 25,1-13
In the past, when meditating this parable, we had always thought that the oil of the wise virgins represented only the faith which makes us alert and ready to answer “Here I am” when the Lord will call us to himself. Although being still convinced about, one month ago we had been given to understand that its significance is even larger. Rita, the head nurse of the department Hospice of the hospital of Busto Arsizio, which houses the terminally ill people, made us understanding better about it. We were assisting our friend Mary, who was living her last days of life, by praying with her. Mary has been supported by the faith until the last breath, however, she hoped, and almost tried, to live a little more time to fix some still open administrative issues of her profession as financial advisor. Rita explained us the thereby reason : “In my experience – she said to us – the people do not abandon themselves to the death if they still have to fix some aspects of their lives and are able even to postpone the event”. In fact, after Mary has compiled some of the writings which fixed her things, she abandoned herself to the embrace of the Lord and passed away peacefully, surrounded by her closest friends. When meditating on this event, we understand more deeply the meaning of the Christian vigilance, to which we are called. This, in addition to the faith, includes every aspect of our lives: we need to be at peace with themselves in everything, always being ready to appear before the Lord, as the student who goes well prepared to his examination.