MEDITATION OF THE DAY
The Gift of Oil
What’s the meaning of “They didn’t take oil with them in their flasks”? What’s “in their flasks”? In their hearts. Which is why the apostle says, Our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience (2 Cor 1:12). That’s where the oil is, wonderful oil; it’s entirely the gift of God, this oil…. Carry it with you. What do I mean, carry it with you? Keep it inside you….
It’s not so very surprising, though, that while they go to buy, while they are looking for people to be admired by and can’t find any, while they are looking for people to be comforted by and can’t find any, that the door was opened, the bridegroom came and the bride, the Church, being glorified with Christ, as every single one of her members comes together to form the whole. And they went in with him to the wedding feast, and the door was shut….
It’s said, and it’s true, and it isn’t said to deceive you, Knock, and it shall be opened to you (Mt 7:7); but do it now while it’s the time for mercy, not when it’s the time for judgment. These two times, you see, cannot and must not be mixed up, since the Church sings of both mercy and judgment to her Lord. Now is the time for mercy; repent…. The hour, you see, is coming, and coming we don’t know when. It’s coming in the middle of the night; keep awake. That’s how the Gospel concludes: Keep awake, because you do not know the day nor the hour. Keep awake in your heart, awake in faith, awake in hope, awake in charity, awake in good works; and when you fall asleep in the body, the time will come for you to rise…. Then may that bridegroom be embraced by spiritual arms, may he lead you then into his home where you need never sleep, where your lamp can never go out.
Saint Augustine († 430) is called the Doctor of Grace. [From The Works of Saint Augustine: A Translation for the 21st Century, Sermons III (51-94) on the New Testament, Edmund Hill, o.p., Tr. Published by New City Press, 1991. © Augustinian Heritage Institute, Ardmore, PA. Used with permission.]