So today I decided I was going to spend some time sitting outside praying, journaling, reading scripture, etc. While I was praying I decided to look up Matthew 25, it was kind of random (or not, can anyone say Holy Spirit?). I started reading right from the beginning of the chapter. Jesus is telling a parable about ten virgins who went out to meet the bridegroom, five were foolish and five were wise. Half of them brought extra oil for their lamps and the others didn’t. It took a long time for the bridegroom to arrive and so half of the virgins ran out of oil and had to leave to get more. So when the bridegroom came only half of the virgins were there to go to the wedding feast. If you want to read the actual story (you totally should!) it’s Matthew 25:1-13.
Anyway, the part that really struck me was this verse, “the bridegroom came and those who were ready went into the wedding feast with him. Then the door was locked.” (MT 25:10) It really made me start thinking about whether I think I’m ready or not. Ready for what you may ask? Well, in the context of this passage Jesus was talking about His second coming, so that is where I went first. It’s really an interesting question to consider. If Jesus came back right this second would you be ready? My initial thought was absolutely not. I am not ready. I am a sinner. I literally fail every day.
But then I continued on in my reflecting. Will we ever really be ready? I’m not sure. Living in this fallen world we will always be confronted with sin and because of our fallen nature we will succumb to those temptations.
However, the Lord knows this. So how could He put us in this situation to just leave us behind and lock the door? He doesn’t. That’s why He came the first time. He came to give us the opportunity to be ready. He came to give us His grace and mercy – to open that door to Heaven. So it’s our responsibility to keep tabs on whether we are currently ready for His return and if we’re not to seek His mercy in the sacrament of reconciliation. It’s okay that we keep failing. He knows we will. The important thing is to keep getting back up, brushing the dust off, and starting again.
Now on to the other place I went with this passage: am I ready for religious life? This is a question I ask myself literally every day. I struggle with it going back and forth questioning whether I should even be in the process that I am in right now. I am definitely not worthy. Like I said before, I fail every day. I walk away from the Lord when I know I should be walking toward Him. I feel distant from Him sometimes. I struggle with transferring things I know to be true in fact to knowing them in my heart and accepting them there. I get frustrated with God and with life. I lose my patience with my family and people I encounter on a daily basis. I could go on and on but then I can apply the exact same principle as applied above to my dilemma.
Christ doesn’t call us to things that are impossible. He wouldn’t put something in front of us that we couldn’t accomplish. However, He does say “be perfect just as your heavenly Father is perfect” (MT 5:48) which initially sounds pretty impossible. The problem with all of this is that we are trying to do it on our own. We are trying to get to Heaven or improve at our job or fulfill our vocation on our own. The only way we can do any of this is by leaning on the Lord. He gives us Himself totally on the cross and in the Eucharist. He gives us every opportunity to lean on Him through His grace. All we have to do is seek His mercy and everything will become possible. As Jesus says, “For human beings this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” MT 19:26