Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom.
Five of them were foolish, and five were wise.
For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them, but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps.
As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept.
But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’
Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps.
And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’
But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’
And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, Lord, lord, open to us.’
But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’
Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.
The Foolish Bride
A bride is waiting for her future husband, waiting for the day that he will arrive at her house and take her to his home, where they will be married.
Each day she is watching, waiting, and longing for him.
When he doesn’t come, she begins to distract herself with many tasks: sewing and cooking, organising and tidying, seeing her friends and family, and absorbing herself in her life.
Very gradually she ceases watching, being so engrossed in her everyday cares, worries and plans. Some of the things she is doing are preparations for her wedding, but she’s doing these things in a fretful way, with no thought of the real reason she’s so busy.
One evening, she is deeply engrossed in a task, but is anxious and distressed. She lacks joy and peace, as she is trying to get this job done as quickly as possible. Suddenly, she hears a loud blast of a trumpet, followed by shouts of men calling her name. She panics, and putting down her work she goes to the window. She is worried and afraid, as she knows she’s not ready. She doesn’t feel the way she expected to feel, but instead is distracted by anxious thoughts running through her mind:
“I haven’t finished this yet!”
“I still have so much to do!”
“I’m not ready to leave my home yet!”
“I need more time!”
But there is no more time.
Her fiancée’s friends arrive and knock on her door. Opening the door and feeling very disconcerted, she looks past the crowd of men and sees her bridegroom. She doesn’t miss the look of disappointment on his face, for he notices immediately that she lacks the beautiful, radiant glow he remembers. Instead, she looks dishevelled and shocked, and seems distant and unavailable.
With deep hurt and disappointment he turns and begins to walk away. Pushing past the other men, she grabs his arm, and earnestly implores him to give her one more day. He walks away saying, “I thought I knew you, but I don’t.”
The Wise Bride
Another bride is earnestly waiting for her husband. Time passes, and he doesn’t come for her, but she knows he could come any day.
She has preparations to make, and she busies herself with these tasks, also spending time with friends and family. The whole time she is waiting, longing, and hoping that her bridegroom will come soon, and is aware that it could be this very hour.
She often finds herself getting distracted, her attention being pulled into what she’s doing. Her mind frequently begins to race, as she contemplates what needs to be done. But she is learning that, at these times, she needs to stop for a moment and remind herself of the reason for these preparations.
She goes to her window, and looking out, is filled with joy and anticipation as she contemplates the arrival of her bridegroom. She knows the unfinished tasks won’t matter, for it’s her he’s coming for.
Gradually, the distractions and worries have less power over her. Her heart is waiting, and her mind’s eyes are watching.
One evening, as she is doing some intricate embroidery, she is startled by a loud trumpet blast! Charged with expectation she jumps up, just as she hears her name being called! Filled with excitement, she rushes to the door, opening it before her fiancée’s friends are able to knock. Hardly noticing his friends, she looks past them to her bridegroom, and seeing his face she longs to run into his arms!
He smiles: such a warm, all embracing smile, and rushing towards her, he reaches out and takes her hands.
Together, they walk to his home, where they will be married and live forever!