When the call reaches us to be alert, to be prepared, we usually associate this with a negative event. It could be an emergency, a potential danger or an impending disaster that requires our full attention. Even worse when this call reaches us in the middle of the night. Do we have to be prepared for a natural disaster, do we have to keep watch in case of an enemy invasion?
Today’s Gospel (Matthew, Chapter 25), though, which tells us: “Be alert, you do not know the day or the hour”, does not talk about impending doom. The ten maidens that respond to this call of alertness and preparedness are waiting and watching throughout the night for the coming of the bridegroom.
They are told to be alert and prepared for joy, for goodness and for love.
We know that the best things in life need a significant amount of preparation. Going on a journey, a marriage, the arrival of a child need more forethought than bringing an extra bottle of oil for our lamps.
And some of the most significant events that find us are not outward events at all, but spiritual, inner events that only send their echo into the physical realm.
Many of these events occur during the hours of the night.
The night is were spiritual powers replenish our life’s forces. It is where thoughts and problems we have struggled with in our waking hours mysteriously fall into place when we “sleep on it”.
The night realm is part of yet larger events: The star that leads the Three Kings, the Annunciation to the Shepherds, the birth of the Christ-Child. Even the Resurrection takes place in the dark.
These are spiritual, cosmic events that reach potently into our soul life and our soul events.
We do not know when revelations and shifts in our soul life will happen. All we can do is prepare for them throughout our waking life. In the words of the Gospel: To gather our lamps, to take with us an extra bottle of oil, to be in the right place at the right time. Thus we prepare our soul and work on the spiritual aspects of our being. We follow our path and our destiny. And when the bridegroom of our earth existence arrives, we can be ready to receive him.
This contemplation by Rev. Contreras is inspired by the Parable of the Ten Maidens.