September 1, 2006

The Bridegroom Arrives

Today's Gospel is Matthew's parable of the wise and foolish virgins. It's one of my favorites. The ten virgins wait for the bridegroom to arrive. As the night goes on, only those who have brought an extra supply of oil for their lamps are there when he finally comes. The others have to go shop for more, and they miss the bridegroom and the party.

Of course the Lord, the world's Bridegroom, is arriving at every moment. The presence of God we call grace is there in each encounter and each perception of the world around us. In the love and care of others we experience the love of God. In the suffering we inflict on our sisters and brothers, and on creation itself, we see Christ Crucified and know ourselves to be his torturers.

But we'll only see the Bridegroom in all these things if we have brought a supply of oil with us, and the oil is prayer. We pray not because prayer itself is much of an experience, but so that we might train our minds to see the Bridegroom when he comes. We practice quiet prayer because the Word of God was spoken in Silence, and it is in Silence that we hear It. We pray the Scriptures so as to bend our mind to the imagination that interprets the world through an experience of God.

If we don't build up our supply of oil in prayer, we will begin to lose the perception of God in the people and events around us. Like the foolish virgins, we miss out on the one thing that fulfills our nature completely, and for which we were created.

Incidentally, I think this is partly why my posts have been a little stale lately; I'm in a new house and haven't got my personal prayer practice down quite yet.


Paula said...

Wonderful. I will make a link right now.

Brother Lesser said...

In our prayer lives,God comforts the disturbed and disturbs the comforted, doesn't he?

Aimee Milburn said...

Beautiful. Thank you, Friar, and thanks, Paula, for your link, which brought me to this sight for the first time. May we store up lots and lots of oil in prayer.

Reminds me of something else: "Christ" at its root, etymologically, means "oil from seeds," and is related to another word, "he rubs or grinds."

I think some times of prayer are like that, times when Christ rubs and grinds us in prayer, breaks up and softens and refines us, in order to bring forth the pure oil of Christ within us.

Crescentius said...

My dear Brother:

"Of course the Lord, the world's Bridegroom, is arriving at every moment..."reminds me of:

"Every moment and every event of every man's life on earth plants something in his soul. For just as the wind carries thousands of winged seeds, so each moment brings with it germs of spiritual vitality that come to rest imperceptibly in the minds and wills of men. Most of these unnumbered seeds perish and are lost, because men are not prepared to receive them: for such seeds as these cannot spring up anywhere except in the good soil of freedom, spontaneity, and love...

If these seeds would take root in my liberty, and if His will would grow from my freedom, I would become the love that He is, and my harvest would be His glory and my own joy."
Thomas Merton

Thank you for inspiring this Incarnational meditation.


crystal said...

Hi Friar - wish I had dropped by sooner ... lots of good stuff here :-)

Crescentius said...

This morning, while reading the Office of Reading this incarnational meditiation continues:

Happy are we if we do the deeds of which we have heard and sung. Our hearing them means having them planted in us, while our doing them shows that the seed has borne fruit. St. Augustine