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So stay awake, because you do not know either the day or the hour—so Jesus of Nazareth concludes the parable of the Ten Bridesmaids in Mathew’s Gospel.

This imperative, if practiced, prickles waking hours with discomfort, stripped of defense mechanisms, distractions, and procrastination. It corrals wayward thoughts and motives and reveals them for what they are: sludge-pots obscuring the Sacred’s yearning for communion with his beloved creatures.

Such discipline, or Kingdom living, costs, as Jesus well knew. To engage his listeners’ imaginations—hungry for peace—he taught with parables often used by other rabbis, but bearing his imprint that quickened heart-conversions. A revolutionary manner of living inevitably followed.

Indeed, is not conversion of heart life’s deepest lesson? As I continue filling each twenty-four hours with prayer, study, writing, and phone contacts, I keep company with the five wise bridesmaids in the parable; they knew to carry extra flasks of palm oil for their lamps lest theirs went out while waiting to escort the bridegroom and his bride to the feast. With them, I keep my spirit well oiled while waiting for his call to enter the joys of the banquet prepared for all eternity.

That, indeed, will be a moment…

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