“Charity and love for our neighbours to be ready to meet the Lord”

To enter the kingdom of heaven one must be ready to meet God, but to meet God one needs "not just faith, but a Christian life that is full of charity and love for one's neighbours”. These were the words spoken by Pope Francis during the Angelus celebrated on 12 November 2017. The Holy Father called to mind the parable of the ten virgins.

“We're speaking - the Holy Father explained - of the maidens whose task was to accompany the groom to the wedding ceremony, and since the ceremony was celebrated at night in those days, the maidens were equipped with lamps. The parable tells us that five of these virgins were wise and five were foolish: the wise virgins brought oil for the lamps, while the foolish ones didn't bring any. The groom is late and they all fall asleep. At midnight the groom's arrival is announced; at that point the foolish virgins realise they don't have oil for their lamps, and they ask the wise virgins for some. But these reply that they can't give them any, because it wouldn't be enough for everyone. So, while the foolish virgins wander away to find oil, the groom arrives; the wise virgins enter the banquet hall with him and the door is shut. The five foolish virgins arrive late, they knock on the door, but the answer is: I don't know you, and they are left outside”.

“The lamp symbolises the faith that brings light to our lives, while the oil symbolises charity, which fuels the light of faith making it fruitful and believable. If we let ourselves be guided by what may seem comfortable, by looking out for our own interests, our life will become sterile, incapable of bringing life to others, and we won't store up any oil to fuel the lamp, which is our faith; and our faith with go out at the moment of the Lord's coming, or even before then. If, on the other hand, we are vigilant and seek to do good, with acts of love, sharing, service to neighbours who are facing hardship, we need not worry as we wait for the groom to come: the Lord can come at any moment, and even the sleep of death doesn't scare us, because we have the oil stored up through our good works every day. Faith inspires charity and charity

Blessed is the one who fears the Lord