The Vatican

"The interior life is not improvised," the Pope reminds us.

Pope Francis spoke at the Angelus on November 12 about the Gospel parable of the ten virgins, "which refers to the meaning of one's life."

Paloma López Campos-November 12, 2023-Reading time: 2 minutes
Pope Francis

Pope Francis during the general audience on Wednesday, Nov. 8 (CNS Photo / Lola Gomez)

In his Angelus meditation, Pope Francis reflected on the parable of the ten virgins (Matthew 25:1-13) that reads in the Gospel on Sunday, November 12. The Pontiff pointed out at the outset that this passage "refers to the meaning of life itself". Our life, he explained, is a preparation, an active waiting until we are "called to go out to meet the One who loves us most, Jesus!".

Christ's parable of the ten virgins explains the difference between wisdom and foolishness. Francis delved into these two vital attitudes. On the one hand, he noted that "the difference between wisdom and foolishness does not lie in willingness," for all the virgins are waiting for the bridegroom. "Nor does it lie in the promptness with which they arrive at the encounter: they are all there with their lamps."

The Holy Father stressed that the real difference between wisdom and foolishness is "preparation". The oil of the lamps is the symbol of preparation in this parable. "And what is the characteristic of the oil? That it is not seen: it is inside the lamps, it does not attract attention, but without it the lamps give no light."

Taking care of your inner life

Francis wanted to bring this idea down to earth in daily practice, in our present day. "Today we are very attentive to appearances, what matters to us is to take good care of our image and make a good impression on others. But Jesus says that the wisdom of life is in another dimension: in taking care of what is not seen, but which is more important, because it is within us". In short, the essential thing is to take care of the inner life.

The care of the interior life implies "stopping to listen to the heart, to pay attention to thoughts and feelings". The Pope invited to "give space to silence, to be able to listen". He also stressed the importance of leaving technology aside "to look at the light in the eyes of others, in one's own heart, in God's gaze towards us." Finally, he addressed those who have a role within the Church. To them he suggested "not to get caught up in activism, but to dedicate time to the Lord, to listening to his Word, to adoration".

Personal Examination

All this, Francis pointed out, leads us to conclude that "the interior life cannot be improvised". To take care of the heart it is necessary to dedicate "a little time every day, with constancy, as one does for every important thing".

To conclude his meditation, the Pope posed a question for each of us to ask ourselves: "What am I preparing at this moment of my life? Along with all the good projects, Francis invited us to ask ourselves if we are dedicating time "to the care of the heart, to prayer and service to others, to the Lord".

Finally, the Holy Father turned to Holy Mary, so that she "may help us to guard the oil of the interior life".

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