“Our lamps are going out.” (Matthew 25: 7)
Today’s parable tells a cautionary tale of 10 virgins who wait to meet the bridegroom. When he finally arrives, 5 of them are unable to journey with him because their lamps have gone out. While they go back to get more oil for their lamps, they are locked out of the wedding feast.
I’m struck by the symbolism of light and oil. It is their lack which prevents everyone from entering the feast.
I’ve been reflecting on Psalm 36: “in your light, we see light.” It is through grace that we are able to see reality as it truly is. Grace is the “oil” which fuels the fire to illuminate our lives and way, enabling us to see the Lord in all things – past and present – and to walk with Him. The brighter the flame, the more fully we can see Him. The more we see Him clearly, the more we may love Him.
When we have our hearts oriented towards God, when we set our mind and heart to expectantly seek Him in our everyday lives, when we follow His call to give our lives for Him, we allow His grace to work in our lives, and through this we, and our vision, are continuously transformed.
For myself, I know that this takes intentionality and faith. If my heart and mind get off-center, I’m unable to see reality in truth. Like the virgins who trim their wicks, I must regularly recalibrate my heart: discerning what I truly love and desire, and how these are directing my vision and actions, then allowing the Lord to reorder or purify anything; noticing any wounds or areas for healing, and allowing His grace to transform those areas and enable me to see Him more clearly in my story; spending time with Scripture, letting His Word pierce and reshape my heart (Heb 4:12); and giving of myself freely in love.
When we seek Him, it takes faith to believe that He will meet us. But, as the passage from Wisdom reminds us today, He “hastens to make [himself] known,” is “found by those who seek” and is “readily perceived by those who love” Him.
Let us keep attentive to the work of grace in our lives, expectantly seek the Lord, and trim our wicks, so that His light within us will not go out, but rather be magnified.