What if you died today? Are you ready? Was every choice that you made firmly rooted in Christ? Have you prayed enough? Have you given of yourself more than you have ever received? Have you loved others more than things? Have you persevered in the Faith and fought the Spiritual Battle in our Lord’s Army? Have you participated in the Sacraments?
Jesus’ parable in Matthew 25:1-13 about the 10 virgins is a warning to us to be prepared. Yes, “Be Prepared” may be a Boy Scout motto, but it should be everybody’s motto. In this parable, the bridegroom was delayed and the virgins fell asleep while waiting for the bridegroom to arrive. 5 of the virgins in this parable did not bring enough oil for their lamps when they knew that the bridegroom was coming. These were the foolish virgins. The other 5 wise virgins did, in fact, bring enough oil for their lamps and were prepared to enter the wedding banquet once the bridegroom arrived.
The bridegroom is Jesus. The virgins are the faithful on Earth. The oil for the lamps that illuminate the darkness are our prayers and good works. The moral of the story is this: we never know when Jesus is coming; we never know when we will die. We must always be prepared by prayers, works of mercy, and offering all sufferings for others. When I was very sick a few years ago, I offered all of my excruciating suffering for the forgiveness of sins and the conversion of sinners.
We do not have to offer the worst of our sufferings. Any small inconvenience can be offered for the souls in Purgatory and/or for the souls on Earth. When we offer up our sufferings, God transforms them to help others through His grace. In my case, it gave my sufferings a purpose; it gave me a mission. My sufferings became a prayer.
We can never pray enough. Instead, you must pray always. “Pray without ceasing.” -1 Thessalonians 5:17. But how do we do this? We pray with everything that we do. I suggest to my children and my students to pray a Hail Mary every time they go up and downstairs. My mom taught this to me and now I am passing it on. Prayer, and faith, crosses the generations. Prayer has upheld each generation. As we enter into a post-Christian society, we will need to rely even more on prayers, works of mercy, and supporting each other through Christ’s Greatest Commandment, love of God and love of neighbor. When we pray without ceasing, we are praying with every ounce of our being through every decision and every action. When we do this, the decisions that we make in life will remain firmly rooted in Christ.
There has been a spiritual battle since the time of Adam and Eve. It is always God vs. Satan. The faithful on Earth are called the Church Militant when being referred to as a part of the Communion of Saints. As the Church Militant, we are the “boots on the ground.” Our strongest spiritual weapons that will truly take down Satan are our prayers and works of mercy. Or spiritual weapons that will always offer a serious blow to the Evil One are the Sacraments, the Holy Rosary, reading Sacred Scripture, Holy Water and discerning God’s directions. All of these aforementioned spiritual weapons unite us in Christ and strengthen us so that we are the Church on Earth.
It is a challenge to persevere in the Faith, most especially in today’s post-Christian era. But we must never give up. We must not be like the foolish virgins who fell asleep while waiting for the bridegroom and found themselves unprepared. We must not fall asleep in the faith; instead we must remain awake and alert. Let us choose to be like the wise virgins who had more than enough oil for their lamps and who were welcomed into the wedding banquet. For the wedding banquet is a soul being welcomed into Heaven and it is a purely joyous occasion. So, are you ready? Do you have enough oil for your lamps?