Advent IV: Don’t Procrastinate
Rt. Rev. Edward L. Tatro, Jr.
(sing) Prepare ye the way of the Lord! Prepare Ye the way of the Lord.
Jeremiah 13:6 (Amplified): Give glory to the Lord your God before He brings darkness and before your feet stumble upon the dark and twilit mountains, and [before], while you are looking for light, He turns it into the shadow of death and makes it thick darkness.
Ecclesiastics 3:1 (NLT): For everything there is a season, a time for every activity under heaven.
We are in the Holy Season of Advent, a time to prepare for the wonderful celebration of the Holy Nativity. What is the greatest sin against preparing? Procrastination. Let us define procrastination: the Random House Dictionary states: “the act or habit of procrastinating, or putting off or delaying, especially something requiring immediate attention”
Right now, today, this very moment your soul requires your immediate attention. Turn your hearts and minds into preparing for that beautiful moment when we celebrate our Saviors birth as well as to His Second coming. Take to the most Holy Sacraments especially Confession/Absolution and then the most Holiest of all the Sacred Eucharist! Pray the Rosary and yes even partake in our weekly Stations of the Cross!
Let us consider our Gospel reading today with the parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins.
The Holy Gospel of Matthew 25:1-13 (Douay-Rheims Bible): THEN shall the kingdom of heaven be like to ten virgins, who taking their lamps went out to meet the bridegroom and the bride. And five of them were foolish, and five wise. But the five foolish, having taken their lamps, did not take oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with the lamps. And the bridegroom tarrying, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made: Behold the bridegroom cometh, go ye forth to meet him. Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise: Give us of your oil, for our lamps are gone out.The wise answered, saying: Lest perhaps there be not enough for us and for you, go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.Now whilst they went to buy, the bridegroom came: and they that were ready, went in with him to the marriage, and the door was shut. But at last come also the other virgins, saying: Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answering said: Amen I say to you, I know you not. Watch ye therefore, because you know not the day nor the hour.
This commentary from Matthew Henry sums up our task at hand. “The circumstances of the parable of the ten virgins were taken from the marriage customs among the Jews, and explain the great day of Christ’s coming. As Christians we profess to attend upon Christ, to honour him, also to be waiting for his coming. Sincere Christians are the wise virgins, and hypocrites the foolish ones. Those are the truly wise or foolish that are so in the affairs of their souls. Many have a lamp of profession in their hands, but have not, in their hearts, sound knowledge and settled resolution, which are needed to carry them through the services and trials of the present state. Their hearts are not stored with holy dispositions, by the new-creating Spirit of God. The delay represents the space between the real or apparent conversion of these professors, and the coming of Christ, to take them away by death, or to judge the world. But though Christ tarry past our time, he will not tarry past the due time. The wise virgins kept their lamps burning, but they did not keep themselves awake. Too many real Christians grow remiss, and one degree of carelessness makes way for another. Those that allow themselves to slumber, will scarcely keep from sleeping; therefore dread the beginning of spiritual decays. A startling summons was given. Go ye forth to meet Him, is a call to those prepared. The notice of Christ’s approach, and the call to meet him, will awaken. Those that take up short of true grace, will certainly find the want of it one time or other. An outward profession may light a man along this world, but the damps of the valley of the shadow of death will put out such a light. Those who care not to live the life, yet would die the death of the righteous. But those that would be saved, must have grace of their own; and those that have most grace, have none to spare. The best need more from Christ. And while the poor alarmed soul addresses itself, upon a sick-bed, to repentance and prayer, in awful confusion, death comes, judgment comes, the work is undone, and the poor sinner is undone for ever. This comes of having oil to buy when we should burn it, grace to get when we should use it. The suddenness of death and of Christ’s coming to us then, will not hinder our happiness, if we have been prepared. The door was shut. Many will seek admission into heaven when it is too late. The vain confidence of hypocrites will carry them far in expectations of happiness. The unexpected summons of death may alarm the Christian; but, proceeding without delay to trim his lamp, his graces often shine more bright; while the mere professor’s conduct shows that his lamp is going out. Watch therefore, attend to the business of your souls. Be in the fear of the Lord all the day long.”
Ecc 11:3-4 (KJV): If the clouds be full of rain, they empty themselves upon the earth: and if the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the place where the tree falleth, there it shall be. He that observeth the wind shall not sow; and he that regardeth the clouds shall not reap.
Deuteronomy 23:21(Douay-Rheims Bible): When thou hast made a vow to the Lord thy God, thou shalt not delay to pay it: because the Lord thy God will require it. And if thou delay, it shall be imputed to thee for a sin.
Watch and be ready for we know not the great hour our Savior will return. We celebrate this season of penance and preparedness by searching our hearts, and our minds. Do not fall into the sin of procrastination; keep your lamp always ready and prepared. Veni, Veni Emanuel et Fidelis!