Regnum Christi | Legionaries of Christ

Weekly Digest of the Regnum Christi Daily Meditations: November 1-8, 2020

Sunday, November 1, 2020 – Winning the Only Contest that Matters

Monday, November 2, 2020 – I Hold the Keys to the Gates of Purgatory

Tuesday, November 3, 2020 – RSVPing to the Lord!

Wednesday, November 4, 2020 – Discipleship: Never Cheap Nor Easy

Thursday, November 5, 2020 – Keeping the Right Company

Friday, November 6, 2020 – What Is This I Hear About You?

Saturday, November 7, 2020 – The Choice Between God and Mammon

Sunday, November 8, 2020 – The Heart’s Oil

 


November 1, 2020 – Solemnity of All Saints

Winning the Only Contest that Matters

 

Father James Swanson, LC

Matthew 5:1-12a

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain, and after he had sat down, his disciples came to him. He began to teach them, saying: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land. Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you falsely because of me. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven.”

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe in you with a faith that never seeks to test you. I trust in you, hoping to learn to accept and follow your will, even when it does not make sense to the way that I see things. I love you, and I want to love you and those around me with a love similar to the love you have shown to me.

Petition: Lord, help me accept sacrifices and overcome difficulties in order to gain heaven.

  1. The Beatitudes Don’t Make Sense: As we celebrate the Solemnity of All Saints’ Day, the Church calls us to contemplate the promises Jesus makes to all those who follow him. At first, they don’t seem very attractive. Jesus lists a whole series of things that most people would probably avoid. They would see them as interfering with their wants and desires. Yet, Jesus says that we will be blessed if we have them in our lives. The word in the original Greek is makarios, which means “happy”. This doesn’t make sense. I am supposed to be happy when I am poor, mourning, meek, lacking righteousness, merciful, clean-hearted, a peacemaker, persecuted and insulted? That’s not what I see on TV, in the movies, on the Internet. It’s not what many of the people I know would recommend. So, what is Jesus’ big idea telling me this? Is he out to make me miserable?
  2. Sacrificing for Worldly Glory: We can see that the whole picture isn’t gloomy. Jesus says that if we accept these difficult things, there will be rewards. And the rewards sound pretty good. In fact, they sound great: the Kingdom of Heaven, comfort, inheriting the land, satisfaction in seeing righteousness done, receiving mercy, seeing God, being a child of God, a great reward in heaven. Who wouldn’t want these things? Don’t people work a lot harder for a lot less? Don’t athletes train for years, giving up all kinds of pleasures, submitting themselves to intense suffering at times only for a brief moment of glory in some competition? Don’t businessmen work long hours, giving up pleasures and making immense sacrifices just to make a few more dollars? Isn’t what Jesus offers us much better than any of that? Better than a gold medal or even a million dollars?
  3. But I Am Not Interested in Heavenly Things: Anything worth having is worth making sacrifices for, and the more it is worth, the greater sacrifices we should be willing to make for it. Perhaps a gold medal is worth the sacrifices the athlete makes to win it. Perhaps a million dollars are worth the sacrifices that a businessman makes to gain them. If heaven is really all it is supposed to be, isn’t it worth all the sacrifices Jesus mentions here – and more? If people are willing to make such great sacrifices to gain things they cannot keep, shouldn’t I be willing to make even greater sacrifices to gain the eternal happiness of heaven? Of course, many people with the talent to do great things in this world never do them because they just aren’t that interested or motivated. Is that why I don’t do more to gain heaven? Am I just not that interested? What will it take to motivate me to really desire what Jesus offers?

Conversation with Christ: Dear Jesus, I don’t do much to make the Beatitudes come to life in me. Help me to give heaven its full value. Help me to desire it more each day. Help me to meditate on what heaven will be like so I will love it more and more and be willing to do anything—whatever it takes—to get there and help many others arrive as well.

Resolution: I will spend at least five minutes today imagining what heaven will be like so as to increase my desire for heaven and enable me to make the sacrifices necessary to get there. Jesus is setting up a mansion there for me. He is going to put everything that he can in it to please me and make me happy.


November 2, 2020 – The Commemoration of All the Faithful Departed (All Souls)

I Hold the Keys to the Gates of Purgatory

 

Father James Swanson, LC

Note regarding the Gospel text: The passage below may or may not be the Gospel text that appears on this date in some of the printed missals such as Magnificat or others. The Roman missal offers the option of 24 different Gospel passages of which this is one. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

John 11:17-27

When Jesus arrived, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Now Bethany was near Jerusalem, only about two miles away. And many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them about their brother. When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him; but Mary sat at home. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever you ask of God, God will give you.” Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise.” Martha said to him, “I know he will rise, in the resurrection on the last day.” Jesus told her, “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” She said to him, “Yes, Lord. I have come to believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, the one who is coming into the world.”

Introductory Prayer: Lord, I believe in you with a faith that never seeks to test you. I trust in you, hoping to learn to accept and follow your will, even when it does not make sense to the way that I see things. I love you, and I want to love you and those around me with a love similar to the love you have shown to me.

Petition: Lord, help me to take seriously the gravity of purgatory and the plight of those who end up there.

  1. Even God Weeps for Those Who Have Died: Today we remember our loved ones who have passed away, just as Mary and Martha remember their brother Lazarus in this passage from the Gospel. It is a good and holy thing to be sad when a loved one dies. Some think that it is a lack of faith to be sad when someone dies, but in the passage, Jesus does not rebuke Mary and Martha for being sad but tries to console them. Later, when he comes to the tomb himself, Jesus weeps for Lazarus (John 11:35). What a terrible thing death must be for Jesus to weep for Lazarus even though he knows that in a few moments he will raise Lazarus from the dead. Clearly, we don’t appreciate the true tragedy of death, that God himself would weep for a friend who is dead while knowing he has power over death.
  2. You Don’t Want to Go There: We are quick to put people in heaven, probably a little too quick. We are not doing them a favor. Many of us, even the best of us, will not go straight to heaven, but will have to spend some time in purgatory, to be cleansed of our attachments and desires toward sinfulness as well as for any sins for which we have not done sufficient penance. We tend to underestimate purgatory as well, maybe because people there are assured of getting into heaven. While it is true that people in purgatory probably experience a joy beyond anything we will experience in this life, they also experience more intense suffering than anything we have experienced in this life. The suffering of purgatory is similar to the suffering of hell, and we know we don’t want to experience that. Purgatory is nothing I want my loved ones to experience if I can help it, nor do I want to go there myself, if I can help it. The great thing is, I can help it.
  3. Only the Living Hold the Keys to Purgatory: What am I willing to do to avoid purgatory? Up until now, have I even thought of it as something to be avoided? Do I realize that all the sacrifices I can make in this life to avoid purgatory do not add up to what it will be like to suffer in purgatory? Do I ever remember that my loved ones may be there now? Perhaps while they were in this life, they suffered greatly, and I was relieved by their deaths because now their “suffering was over.” Am I an “out of sight, out of mind” kind of person? Do I think there is nothing more I can do for them? Or am I genuinely concerned about the likelihood that they may be in purgatory? Do I realize that my prayers and sacrifices represent the key to release them and that I can use it if I want to? Do I care about using it? On this day when we remember the souls in purgatory, it would be good to do something for those who are there, especially for the ones I love the most.

Conversation with Christ: Dear Jesus, help me to remember those I love and offer up sacrifices, prayers and Masses for them frequently, so they may be with you as soon as possible. Help me to make the choices I need to make in this life so I can avoid purgatory as much as possible.

Resolution: Today I will make a sacrifice for my loved ones in purgatory, remembering that for God, the size of the sacrifice does not count as much as the love with which it is made.


November 3, 2020  – Tuesday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time

RSVPing to the Lord!

 

Father Steven Reilly, LC

Luke 14:15-24

One of those at table with Jesus said to him, “Blessed is the one who will dine in the Kingdom of God.” He replied to him, “A man gave a great dinner to which he invited many. When the time for the dinner came, he dispatched his servant to say to those invited, ‘Come, everything is now ready.’ But one by one, they all began to excuse themselves. The first said to him, ‘I have purchased a field and must go to examine it; I ask you, consider me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have purchased five yoke of oxen and am on my way to evaluate them; I ask you, consider me excused.’ And another said, ‘I have just married a woman, and therefore I cannot come.’ The servant went and reported this to his master. Then the master of the house in a rage commanded his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in here the poor and the crippled, the blind and the lame.’ The servant reported, ‘Sir, your orders have been carried out and still there is room.’ The master then ordered the servant, ‘Go out to the highways and hedgerows and make people come in that my home may be filled. For, I tell you, none of those men who were invited will taste my dinner.’”

Introductory Prayer: Oh God, thank you for allowing me to come into your presence. Your love enlarges my soul. I long to see your face! I come to this prayer with a thirst just to be in your presence, to relax under your loving gaze. May my presence here be an expression of my love for you.

Petition: Lord, help me to put aside all excuses when invited to your banquet.

  1. Valuing the Invitation: Some of the happiest moments of our lives are spent around a banquet table. Milestones are celebrated there, friendships grow deeper, and relationships are renewed. Could this be why Jesus so frequently used this image to describe heaven? Let’s spend a moment thinking about the joy of heaven, of this never-ending feast. We cannot fathom what it will be like to see God and the inexhaustible beauty of his Triune majesty. And the company will be great! In the heavenly banquet it doesn’t matter where you sit: you’ll be next to a saint, and the conversation will be wonderful!
  2. Legitimate RSVP? Going to a banquet takes some effort. You need to get a babysitter, pick out something to wear and possibly alter previous plans. If the invitation isn’t valued, that effort won’t be forthcoming; instead, you will make excuses. They may express a reality—those oxen are ready to go!—but they camouflage the real issue: that particular banquet doesn’t seem worth it. This should make us reflect on the excuses we have about our spiritual lives. Do they mask a growing spiritual mediocrity?
  3. The House Will Be Filled: The master of the house is upset because the people that should have been the first to accept his invitation turn him down. But everything is purchased, and the party is ready to go. Someone will have a chance to enjoy it. Here perhaps is another angle for reflection: We are that master’s servants. He wants his house to be filled, and he needs us to make it happen. The servants are quick and agile, and they understand what the master wants: “There’s still room!” So too, let’s ask the Lord to give us apostolic hearts that won’t rest until the house is full. What a feast that will be!

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, I am looking forward to the day when we will be with you at the feast of the Kingdom of Heaven. Help me to understand that the joy and happiness of that banquet are worth the sacrifice of any worldly priority. So often I have excuses. Give me strength never to be pulled away from you.

Resolution: I will accept God’s invitation and not put anything in front of my prayer life today.


November 4, 2020  – Memorial of Saint Charles Borromeo, Bishop

Discipleship: Never Cheap Nor Easy

 

Father Steven Reilly, LC

Luke 14:25-33

Great crowds were traveling with Jesus, and he turned and addressed them, “If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion? Otherwise, after laying the foundation and finding himself unable to finish the work the onlookers should laugh at him and say, ‘This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.’ Or what king marching into battle would not first sit down and decide whether with ten thousand troops he can successfully oppose another king advancing upon him with twenty thousand troops? But if not, while he is still far away, he will send a delegation to ask for peace terms. In the same way, every one of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.”

Introductory Prayer: Lord God, I believe that you are present here for this moment of prayer. Even if I have not really longed for this time together, I know that you have been waiting for me. As an expression of my gratitude and love, I truly wish to give myself totally to you during this meditation.

Petition: Lord, help me to realize that holiness is worth the effort!

  1. A Capital Campaign for Holiness: Our Lord remarks on the need to calculate the costs and estimate the amount of resources needed in a building project. That sounds like a “feasibility study,” the first step of any capital campaign. Whether a parish is trying to build a new hall, or a school is trying to put up a new building, there’s no way to avoid a great deal of work in order to make the endeavor successful. The Lord is saying something similar about our spiritual lives. We have to know what it will take to achieve the goal. His answer to this question? Much sacrifice. This can sound daunting. But just like the thrill of cutting the ribbon when the building is all paid for and ready to be used, the effort to grow in holiness will result in a magnificent eternity!
  2. A Battle Plan’s First Goal? The answer is simple: Don’t get beat! This second image of our Lord makes another important point about discipleship. War is tough, and if getting beat is a likely prospect, you’d better find other tactics to achieve the goal. So too with our discipleship. In our efforts to grow holy, some “battles” will be won easily; others will need to be avoided completely. So, let’s not get beat by foolishly overestimating our capacities. This happens especially when we don’t avoid the occasions of sin, thinking ourselves strong enough to handle them. At times, the best battle strategy is not to fight, but to flee!
  3. What Place for Our Relationships? In all this reflection about plans and resources, the Lord has some extremely radical words about our relationships. In the hyperbole of “hating father and mother” a very important teaching emerges: As vital as these relationships are, they cannot take the first place in our heart. That place belongs to the source of our entire existence, the one who loves us with a tender and passionate love — God himself. This is why the cross is so important. When we see how thoroughly Jesus embraces the will of God above everything and everyone, he gives us a pattern to follow. But the divine irony is that by following Christ in the way of the cross, this “hatred” actually results in a greater and more self-sacrificing love in those very relationships that have to take a back seat to the Lord.

Conversation with Christ: Oh Jesus, following you is not easy. You ask me to put everything in second place to you and pick up my cross every day. I won’t be able to do this without your grace. I am weak and frail, but I believe that you will give me the strength I need.

Resolution: I will take some time and think about my priorities to make sure that God is always coming first.


November 5, 2020  – Thursday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time

Keeping the Right Company

 

Father Steven Reilly, LC

Luke 15:1-10

The tax collectors and sinners were all drawing near to listen to Jesus, but the Pharisees and scribes began to complain, saying, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.” So Jesus addressed this parable to them. “What man among you having a hundred sheep and losing one of them would not leave the ninety-nine in the desert and go after the lost one until he finds it? And when he does find it, he sets it on his shoulders with great joy and, upon his arrival home, he calls together his friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance. Or what woman having ten coins and losing one would not light a lamp and sweep the house, searching carefully until she finds it? And when she does find it, she calls together her friends and neighbors and says to them, ‘Rejoice with me because I have found the coin that I lost.’ In just the same way, I tell you, there will be rejoicing among the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”

Introductory Prayer: Lord God, I believe that you are present here for this moment of prayer. Even if I have not really longed for this time together, I know that you have been waiting for me. As an expression of my gratitude and love, I truly wish to give myself totally to you during this meditation.

Petition: Lord, grant me greater zeal for the salvation of souls.

  1. You Can Judge a Man by the Company He Keeps: Our Lord took a considerable amount of flak from the Pharisees for taking time to get to know the less respectable crowd. In those days, “sinners” were marginalized and treated with contempt. Today, attitudes have changed. Folks that were considered sinners back then would now be mainstream; some of them would probably even be celebrities. But one thing is still the same: People still judge others by the company they keep. For better or worse, people are judged by their associations. That brings up a good question. I am a Catholic. I receive the Eucharist frequently. Jesus is spending a lot of time with me. Would people be able to tell that I have been spending time with the Lord? What would they think of Christ and his influence on me? Are the Lord’s standards reflected in my life?
  2. The 99 Safe Sheep: Jesus’ description of going out to get the sinner is truly consoling. Perhaps this brings up a beautiful memory of how he came to my rescue, when I was one of the wooly ones wandering far from the flock. But that’s now a changed scenario. I am in the flock. How do I stay here and keep from wandering off? The Good Shepherd gives us so many tools, but I need to use them. If I slacken in my prayer life and participate with routine and lack of fervor in the sacraments, I may find myself wondering what other pastures may be like. Let’s focus on being faithful within the beautiful flock of the Church.
  3. Fireworks in Heaven: Returning to the thought about people judging others based on the company they keep, we can easily see why those judgments occur: People that spend time together often start to become like each other, since they share many of the same interests. Jesus reveals in the parable what his driving, passionate interest is: the salvation of the individual soul. “There will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance.” The Lord is always looking to set off fireworks in heaven with one more conversion. If I’m hanging around Jesus enough, I’m probably starting to sound like him. If not, am I really spending as much time with him as I think? Am I trying to bring back the lost sheep that I know?

Conversation with Christ: Jesus, you lifted up the sinners around you — so many of them became saints. Let me soak up the grace of your divine influence so that I will truly reflect in my actions the reality of your work in my soul. Grant me a little portion of the burning desire you had to bring back the lost sheep.

Resolution: I will write a letter or email to a friend or relative who has drifted away from the Church, hoping that even a little “hello” may plant a positive seed.


November 6, 2020 – Friday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time

What Is This I Hear About You?

 

Luke 16:1-8

Jesus said to his disciples, “A rich man had a steward who was reported to him for squandering his property. He summoned him and said, ‘What is this I hear about you? Prepare a full account of your stewardship, because you can no longer be my steward.’ The steward said to himself, ‘What shall I do, now that my master is taking the position of steward away from me? I am not strong enough to dig and I am ashamed to beg. I know what I shall do so that, when I am removed from the stewardship, they may welcome me into their homes.’ He called in his master’s debtors one by one. To the first he said, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He replied, ‘One hundred measures of olive oil.’ He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note. Sit down and quickly write one for fifty.’ Then to another he said, ‘And you, how much do you owe?’ He replied, ‘One hundred measures of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note; write one for eighty.’ And the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently. For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light.”

Introductory Prayer: Jesus Christ, where else can I turn each day but to you? One day, I will make that final turn to you, and it will last for all eternity. Yet as in everything else, you set the pace, you take the initiative, and you are the protagonist. You will turn and look my way first and I, as I strive daily to do, will respond and gaze back into your eyes. This moment of prayer is a rehearsal for that final turn to you.

Petition: Lord, help me to respond better to your love.

  1. What Is This? “What is this I hear about you?” Of course, this is just a parable. In actuality, God doesn’t need to “hear” anything about us since he is all-knowing. Yet, he may very well say to us, “What is this?” as he looks over the record of our lives and reminds us that we are accountable for all our free actions. Let us take a look, in our prayer now, at the face of this Father who asks, “What is this?” Does it perhaps express concern over a wound in our soul, over something that has marred the beauty of our image as sons and daughters of this Father?
  2. A Full Account: Yes, we will have to give that full account. The sacrament of reconciliation, prepared by thoughtful and prayerful examinations of conscience, affords us the opportunities to give that account, piece-by-piece, as a preparation for the final audit. What a grace! Are we taking advantage of it?
  3. Squanderer: Could the Good Lord accuse us of being squanderers? This isn’t the only place in the Gospels where the word appears. Recall that the Prodigal Son was accused of squandering his father’s wealth. Certainly, to squander is to misuse, to use unwisely, to waste, or to use extravagantly. What about all the graces that God has given to us: our faith, our Catholic Church, the sacraments, the scriptures, the example of the saints, the rich deposit of Catholic tradition, the means that have been placed in our hands today, the time we have been offered, the talents we have been given? Are we squanderers? How can I respond better to the many gifts Our Lord has given me? How can I better “invest” my talents for the sake of the Kingdom of Heaven?

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus Christ, awaken me to your gifts and make me zealous and generous in using them for the good of the brothers and sisters you have put at my side. Through my daily examination of conscience, help me to be a good steward so that one day I may arrive with you and enjoy you in paradise as my eternal reward.

Resolution: I will employ the time of my examination of conscience today to thank God for all the graces and blessings he has bestowed upon me. I will make a careful accounting of what God has placed in my hands.


 

November 7, 2020 – Saturday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time

The Choice Between God and Mammon

 

Father Steven Reilly, LC

Luke 16:9-15

Jesus said to his disciples: “I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth, so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones. If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth, who will trust you with true wealth? If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another, who will give you what is yours? No servant can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all these things and sneered at him. And he said to them, “You justify yourselves in the sight of others, but God knows your hearts; for what is of human esteem is an abomination in the sight of God.”

Introductory Prayer: Father in heaven, I come to you today to praise and worship you. In my faith, I reach out to you, knowing that you love me and are leading me to heaven. I trust in your mercy and boundless love.

Petition: Lord, help me to break the disordered attachments in my life.

  1. Earning Trust: Parents know well what this means! Discovering that your teenage child’s story about being at a friend’s house studying was just that — a story — makes for a very unpleasant realization. Trust has been broken. After the “grounding” takes effect, the speech is then delivered: “Here’s what you do if you want to earn back our trust…” Certainly the family car won’t be lent out again until progress in the small things has been seen. That’s the message Jesus has for us today. Our sins are like the trust-breakers of the teenage kid. They show we aren’t ready for God’s greatest gifts, so we have to start with the small things. Each grace we respond to opens the door to receiving another grace. If we are trustworthy in very small matters, we can be trusted with the greater. Following through on the everyday graces will someday lead to the grace of graces: the Beatific Vision.
  2. God and/or Mammon: Part of earning trust with God is getting our priorities straight. Taking a God-AND-mammon approach to life is similar to trying to say the rosary while watching television. The Hail Marys may come out, but they do so with as much reflection as is put into breathing. We simply can’t have our cake and eat it too. Foolishly entertaining any bad habits (our personal version of mammon) that erode our commitment shows God that we are not spiritually mature enough to be fully trusted. On the other hand, when we take a determined step to break these attachments, we make a big step forward. God must come first!
  3. Human Eyes See Only Part of the Story: Naturally, this effort to live a God-centered life is going to generate mixed reactions. The Pharisees scorn Jesus for this: To them, he seems totally naïve about money. Like them, if we see things only from a merely human perspective, big chunks of reality elude us. Jesus is the one who has the complete picture. We can trust him completely to lead us in the right direction. We won’t need to hedge our bets with human props for our sense of security.

Conversation with Christ: Lord Jesus, thank you for helping me to realize that your grace is more important than anything I could ever have in this world. Break the hold of mammon in my life so that I might serve you with greater purity of intention.

Resolution: I will make that sacrificial donation to charity that I have been putting off.


November 8, 2020  – Thirty-second Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Heart’s Oil

 

Father Alex Yeung, LC

Matthew 25:1-13

Jesus told his disciples this parable: “The kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish ones, when taking their lamps, brought no oil with them, but the wise brought flasks of oil with their lamps. Since the bridegroom was long delayed, they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight, there was a cry, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins got up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise ones replied, ‘No, for there may not be enough for us and you. Go instead to the merchants and buy some for yourselves.’ While they went off to buy it, the bridegroom came and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him. Then the door was locked. Afterwards the other virgins came and said, ‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’ But he said in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”

Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I believe that you are here calling me to prayer. I believe in the reality and strength of your love, poured out for me. I trust that I can enter into this love now through prayer and find all the courage I need to seek you actively. I love you, Lord. May this prayer serve as a sincere act of my love for you.

Petition: Lord, prepare my heart for Love.

  1. Called to Meet the Bridegroom: God became man to encounter each one of us in a human way. Yet the encounter is not distant, brief or superficial. It is intimate; God presents himself as a “bridegroom.” He is the reason for joy and celebration. The 10 bridesmaids represent the bride, sharing in her joy. Their sole mission is to greet and accompany the bridegroom into the wedding feast. No one can take their place. How seriously they take their role will determine how well they fulfill it. The Church is Christ’s bride. Like the bridesmaids, must I not have a deeper understanding of Christ and his love for the Church, if he is to be my joy and reason to celebrate?
  2. Life Is a Preparation: Time is one of God’s most precious gifts. Once lost, it can never be restored. We realize that the most important moment of life is in fact the moment of death. Yet, that last hour will be in some way the result and summary of all the hours we have lived until that moment. Every moment is a preparation to meet the Lord who loves us and has given his life to win our salvation. We will not be able to improvise when the moment of truth comes. Each act of faith, trust and love—every effort to sacrifice and do God’s will—establishes a relationship with the Bridegroom. My life is a search to know and love him, to be with him. How ready, open and surrendered will my heart be? Will I still want to greet him?
  3. Does He Know Me: What words could be more desperate than, “Lord, open to us”? And what more tragic than “I do not know you”? The Bridegroom certainly knows the bride, the one for whom he has given his life. But he knows us in love, what his love calls us to be. So he cannot know us only if we “fall out of love.” Our disposition while we await the Bridegroom—which sums up faith, hope and love—is gratitude. The Lord, who loved us first, will look to find a grateful heart that has been transformed by the graces of baptism, repentance and charity. A grateful heart does not forget him. Not a day goes by without a loving remembrance and acts of thanksgiving. Little wonder he left us the Eucharist, the thanksgiving sacrament, through which to prepare for his coming.

Conversation with Christ: Dear Lord, help me to anticipate your coming by finding you in each person on my path. May I never fail to prepare my heart to love you and share the joy of your Kingdom. Reveal to me the depths and qualities of your love so that I can prepare to give you a ready, sincere and worthy response.

Resolution: I will take time to resolve or put aside the worries or hardships of the day in order to recognize and love Christ in those I love.

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