By Colette Doherty
This week in our Gospel, Jesus uses a parable to tell us what the Kingdom of God will be like. He tells the story of ten bridesmaids on their way to a wedding; five of the bridesmaids were well prepared whilst the other five bridesmaids were unprepared. The five sensible bridesmaids reached the wedding and entered. When the five ‘foolish’ bridesmaids finally arrived, the groom did not recognise them and did not let them in.
Jesus, in this Gospel, is telling us to ‘be watchful, be ready’. Like the bridesmaids, who were all invited to the wedding, we too have all been invited to the Kingdom of God. The question we need to ask ourselves is, are we ready? Or are we so unprepared that we have even forgotten the way?
This world is so busy and so filled with distractions. We are a population, young and old, that carries this distraction in our hands, ever ready to fill the silent moment, the potential pause, for fear of stillness. From the moment we awake, many of us turn to our mobile phones within the guise of busyness, work, connection. Every moment of every day is filled so easily, even relaxation and time out is now an online exercise. But the reality is, this distraction is preventing us from realising our journey towards God, our journey of life.
We do an exercise with young people called ‘timeout’ where we give each of them a drawing of an outline of a body. We ask them to fill the body with the various activities they spend their time on each day. This exercise always surprises them as it encourages them to check on their phone to see what their average use per day is. The answer is always a shock and leads us into a discussion on how we could fill our lives differently.
In these discussions, every young person, every year, without exception, agrees that social media is not a positive place to be. It does not bring light into their lives, only darkness, and even with that realisation, they find it so difficult to turn away from it. Even for adults, the same can be true.
But Jesus is calling us to be prepared, to be ready, to enable our journey through this life to bring us into a relationship with God so that when we knock on that door, we will know Him and He will know us.
In order for this to happen, we need to form that relationship with God, and this means, we must spend time with Him, sit with him, talk to him and listen to him. We must get to know and love Him just as he knows and loves us. But God does not force us to love Him, he invites us to love Him, but we must make that choice. We must realise that the Kingdom of God was made for us and we were made for the Kingdom of God. We need to have the strength to put aside these distractions so that we can stop time in order to just be and to realise once again why we are here so that we can once again invite God back into our lives.
As we celebrate the feast of All Saints, let us remind ourselves that we can turn to our Saints for help and support in meeting our daily challenges. We ask our Saints to help us remove all distractions from our lives so that we can truly live. We ask our Saints to enable us to see God clearly and to help us to love Him dearly. We ask our Saints to accompany us on our journey so that when we finally arrive at our destination, we will enter with joy the Kingdom of God.
Below are just 5 of the many Saints we can ask for help. The following was sourced from: https://columbabooks.com/5-saints-to-pray-to-for-guidance/
ST JOAN OF ARC
Life presents us with many battles that we must fight, but if you’re finding it difficult to find the courage and strength to conquer something in your life, pray to St Joan of Arc. Joan, At the tender age of just 16-years-old, followed the guidance of visions of St Michael, St Catherine and St Margaret instructing her to help the Dauphin win the Hundred Years War. It was because of her bravery and courage in herself and her visions that she was able to orchestrate a number of military defeats of the English and influence French military strategy even after she was captured and eventually executed, which ultimately resulted in French victory at the end of the war twenty years later. Praying to St Joan will help you find the courage and bravery within yourself to defeat even life’s most difficult battles.
ST TERESA OF AVILA
Loss of faith is not uncommon even for the most devout of believers, so if you find yourself struggling to connect with God and your own spirituality, pray to St Teresa of Avila. Teresa lived her life by the idea that everything that we as believers need for spiritual nourishment is already inside us. She wrote that God was reachable in the everyday moments, for “the Lord walks among the pots and pans’’. If you are having difficulty connecting with God, pray to St Teresa. She will help you find the divine that is already inside you.
ST PIO OF PIETRELCINA
It is sometimes said that life is suffering, and while this is not always true, there are indeed times when we must suffer in order to grow as human beings. That this process is common does not, however, mean that it is simple, so if you are having difficulty seeing beyond your personal struggles, pray to St Pio of Pietrelcina. Padre Pio was known for suffering from the stigmata that afflicted him for much of his life. Yet these stigmata, despite being painful, allowed him to cultivate a deeper relationship and communion with God. If you cannot find the good in your suffering, pray to St Pio. He will help you see the benefits of even the deepest, most visceral pain.
St BERNADETTE SOUBIROUS
As more and more people turned to search engines like Google for the answers to every question under the sun, it becomes harder to simply believe in one’s own convictions. Feeling as though you cannot trust yourself can leave you feeling hopeless. At these times, pray to St Bernadette Soubirous. Bernadette experienced 13 Marian visions at a grotto in Lourdes, France, but despite her honest and truthful accounts of these visions, she had to endure countless trials and bouts of questioning before she was believed. Nevertheless, she persisted, knowing in her heart that what she saw was real. The next time you find it difficult to have faith in yourself, pray to St Bernadette. She will help you have the strength of your convictions.
ST THERESE OF LISIEUX
It’s no secret that growing up is difficult, but growing pains don’t stop when we reach adulthood. Moving from one stage of life to the next can be challenging, but thankfully praying to St Thérèse of Lisieux can provide relief. St Thèrése lost her mother at a young age and afterwards found it extremely difficult to move on. She became depressed, despondent, and unable to fully accept her journey from childhood into adulthood. On Christmas Eve of her fourteenth year, Thérèse experienced a rapid transformation at the hands of Jesus. She had formerly been an extremely sensitive child, prone to anxiety and tears like that of a much younger child, but in a matter of moments, she understood the need to forget her past troubles in the pursuit of maturing and making others happy. From this point forward, she experienced a profound sense of peace and calm that allowed her to discover her vocation and lead a full, happy life. The next time you are struggling to move from one stage of your life to the next, pray to St Thérèse and she will help you find the joy in life and the joy in change.