Then shall the kingdom of heaven be like to ten virgins, who taking their lamps went out to meet the bridegroom and the bride. And five of them were foolish, and five wise. But the five foolish, having taken their lamps, did not take oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with the lamps. And the bridegroom tarrying, they all slumbered and slept.And at midnight there was a cry made: Behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye forth to meet him. Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise: Give us of your oil, for our lamps are gone out. The wise answered, saying: Lest perhaps there be not enough for us and for you, go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. Now whilst they went to buy, the bridegroom came: and they that were ready, went in with him to the marriage, and the door was shut. But at last come also the other virgins, saying: Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answering said: Amen I say to you, I know you not. Watch ye therefore, because you know not the day nor the hour. --Matthew 25:1-13
The parable of the ten virgins reminds us that we must always be ready for Christ's return and warns us that if we are not ready we can miss out.
When I decided on this passage and I looked in Haydock's Commentary I found this:
"Under this parable, we have the state of all Christians in their mortal pilgrimage justly delineated. The wise took oil in their lamps, the necessary qualifications of grace and charity, joined with divine faith, and an additional supply of oil in their vessels; i.e. they laid up in store for themselves a solid foundation of good works. S. Gregory teaches, that by the lamps, faith is meant; and by the light, good works. Hence he concludes that the bad, although they have lamps, i.e. faith, no less than the good, shall be excluded; because their lamps are out, i.e. their faith is dead, without charity and good works to enlighten them"
Like it says in James, "faith without works is dead". We are not living properly as Christians if our faith does not shine into the darkness of the world through our faith and good works. Of course, good works can be something as little and simple as welcoming a stranger (Matthew 25:35). St Benedict is his Rule wrote that monks should welcome all strangers the same as they should welcome Christ.
Parable of the ten virgins reminds me of the many saints who died as virgins, consecrated or otherwise. Among these saints are St Lucy and St Agnes.
According to tradition, Agnes was a Christian girl of Rome, perhaps twelve or thirteen years old, when Diocletian began his persecutions. Like St. Lucy, she was sentenced by a judge to a house of ill fame, but a young man who looked upon her lustfully was stricken blind. Thereafter she was taken out to be burned, but whether she met her death by fire or sword we cannot know with any certainty. Although we have no contemporary sources for the facts of her life and martyrdom, there is little reason to doubt the main outline of the story. References to this young saint appear in many Church writings of later date. St. Ambrose, St. Damasus, and Prudentius all praise her purity and heroism. Her name occurs in the Canon of the Mass. Agnes' crypt was in the Via Nomentana, and the stone covering her remains was carven with the words, "Agna sanctissima" (most holy lamb). A church in her honor is presumed to have been built at Rome in the time of Constantine the Great. In the apse of this basilica, which was rebuilt in the seventh century by Pope Honorius, there is still to be seen the large and beautiful mosaic depicting the saint. St. Agnes is the patroness of young girls and her symbol is, naturally, a lamb. On the anniversary of her martyrdom, the Pope, after high pontifical Mass in her church at Rome, blesses two lambs, and their wool is later woven into the pallia worn by archbishops.
May God bless all who read my ramblings,
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