12th November, 2017
Wisdom is one of the great themes of the Bible. And it is easy to see why. Without it we are like travellers in the dark. With it we have an unfailing lamp for our steps. Acquiring it can be slow and painful. To meet people who have grown in wisdom along the pathway of their lives is a great joy, it is a source of encouragement and inspiration.
Sometime ago I recall speaking with someone imprisoned for serious wrongdoing – he said ‘you know Father, if it were not for my faith I would have wasted those years in prison. The Mass and prayers offered weekly helped me during those dark years and I felt my faith increase not decrease – without my faith I would have lost hope, and without hope, I would have given up.’
Over the years I have seen some prisoners squander their years in prison, coming out worse not better than when they went in. With no awareness nor reflection in their lives, they learnt nothing from their experiences. By the grace of God some acquire wisdom. Even a little wisdom can save us a lot of worrying and fretting.
Wisdom is the highest virtue. Through Wisdom God communicates to us the meaning of life, and the grandeur of destiny, which is to be with God, a greater good than life itself. Unlike knowledge, which is gained through hard work, wisdom is a gift of God and found by those who desire and seek it.
In the Gospel this weekend we are not talking about a momentary lapse of memory on the part of the foolish bridesmaids – forgetting to bring extra oil for their lamps. What we are really dealing with are two contrasting attitudes towards the wedding feast. For the wise maids it was a lifetime chance to meet the Bridegroom. For the foolish maids it was more of a bit of fun, a bit of a lark.
We can understand prisoners loosing their spirit of hope and therefore misusing their time, but not bridesmaids waiting for the Bridegroom-and since they knew not the exact time of his arrival, they needed to be in readiness- Yet the five foolish ones couldn’t do that so found themselves locked outside.
We are like the waiting bridesmaids. We are not dealing with a once-off wedding feast. We are dealing with something infinitely more precious – entrance into the Kingdom of heaven. As a beacon guides a ship to port, The Lamp of God’s words and Sacraments guide our way on earth.
With every blessing and good wish- its great to be home with you. Dean Peter