Ten bridesmaids took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. When the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. ~ Matthew 25.1-4

SOMETIME IN THE middle of last week, I got a message from Donald Trump on my Twitter feed. I don’t know why his messages come up there and I haven’t worked out yet how to stop it happening, but usually I don’t read them and they disappear from my mind as quickly as they arrive. But this one squeezed through: Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump & @POTUS: “The U.S., under my administration, is completely rebuilding its military, and they’re spending hundreds of billions of dollars to the newest and finest military equipment anywhere in the world, being built right now. I want peace through strength.”
This certainly struck me as being a sentiment from someone who is striving to be prepared for something. I’ll leave you to decide if it is the preparation of “the wise” or “the foolish”. I wrote a response suggesting some possible alternatives to the “peace through (mighty weaponed-up-to-the-max) strength” angle but surprisingly enough my tweet did not appear next to the President’s. There were some lovely, happy responses which did though. Here’s a flavour: “Our@POTUS is doing an outstanding job…He is highly respected & I am so proud…gives me hope and faith with all the craziness…Thank God for @realDonaldTrump…A year ago was the 2nd happiest day of my life! The first, of course, was my son being born…Let’s battle some Libs and chat again soon 😊”. I am guessing “a year ago” refers to election day. Has it really been a year already?
This Sunday it’s Remembrance Sunday, a time when people come together just before 11 am and hold silence together, to pray, to reflect, to remember. In the words of Laurence Binyon’s famous poem, “At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them”.
For me, it is the silence itself that speaks loudest. In the silence we might remember or think something about war and loss, and the need for repentance and redemption by and for all humanity. But more than that, silence, non-talking, brings us for a moment, together, into a place beyond words, a place that is open, pregnant with presence, alive, natural, peace full.
The wise bridesmaids in Jesus’ story aren’t heartless because they won’t give oil to the foolish for their lamps. It’s not that they won’t but simply that they can’t. The oil in their lamps is the oil of prayer. It comes in the silence, over the years, the silence of a soul opened, beyond remembrance, beyond petition or righteous thought, into which steps the bridegroom,

“I know you”.


~ by Fr Tim Ardouin on November 11, 2017.

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