“But at midnight, there was a shout, ‘Look! Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!”
Wednesday, 11 November 2020
The arrival of the bridegroom in the parable signals a moment of divine manifestation.
There are many places in the scriptures where midnight is an important hour. The angel of God went through Egypt and at midnight slaying the firstborn of all the Egyptians and spared the Israelites (Ex 11:4; 12:29). The Psalms tell us that midnight is an apt moment for prayer (Ps 119:62). At midnight Paul and Silas are freed from prison in Philippi (Acts 16:25). It is also at midnight when Paul and his companions see land after a terrible sea journey (Acts 27:27).
At the beginning of his Gospel, Matthew tells us that Jesus is “Emmanuel” – “God with us”. This frames the whole Gospel, from the annunciation of his birth (1:23) to the great commission (28:20). God is with us and intimately acts in our lives. This action is our divine manifestation.
All of us have ‘midnight moments’, times when we have the conviction that God is with us and acting in our lives.
We must become aware of these times. St Ignatius Loyola teaches us that we all have times of consolation and desolation in our relationship with God – not dissimilar to our human relationships! Consolation is the experience of being connected to God, our hearts are drawn towards God and our whole being is filled with a sense of peace and joy. St Ignatius says that the protagonist of consolation is God. He gives advice for the times when we find ourselves in desolation. One thing Ignatius suggests is that we recall when we were in a time of consolation to help us persevere through desolation.
In a world that is busy and restless, always calling our attention to something else, we can easily forget our ‘midnight moments’. We can easily be tempted to think that God is elusive or far.
Take a few moments today to recall your own ‘midnight moments’. Can you remember when and where they took place? Give thanks to God for those times. Ask God to help you, especially in times of challenge and struggle, to hold onto and be encouraged by your own moments of divine manifestation.