by Fr Richard Heilman | March 23, 2016 12:05 AM
OIL – OBEDIENCE IN LOVE
How then are we to prepare our restless hearts to receive the power of the Holy Spirit? Recall Jesus’ parable of the ten virgins (Mt 25:1-12), five of whom were wise and five of whom were foolish. When the time came to meet the Bridegroom and go in to join the festivities, the foolish ones did not have enough oil for their lamps. They were forced to go get more oil while everyone else went in to “join the dance.”
Why has study after study shown that people of religious conviction are the happiest? For those who have yielded to a deeply devoted (semper fi) love relationship with Jesus, there is a distinctive serenity and joy about them. There seems to be an extra spring in their step and twinkle in their eye. Far from the boredom and misery of sloth, they radiate a supernatural love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, generosity, and gentleness (Fruit of the Holy Spirit, Gal 5:22-23). They are attracted to spiritual things. They have a resolve to lighten the burdens of others. They have a sense of purpose and mission. They seem to have discovered the way to “join the dance” of life.
In the meantime, like the five foolish virgins, there are those who seem to be “on the outside looking in,” wondering what it takes to be invited to “the dance of life.”
Now, the Holy Spirit is often depicted as fire. Jesus said, “I have come to cast fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled” (Lk 12:49).
So, what is the fuel we offer for the Holy Spirit’s fire? The word “oil” provides a superb acronym to describe the necessary fuel for receiving the fire of the Holy Spirit: O.I.L. = Obedience In Love. Blessed Charles de Foucauld called obedience the “yardstick of love.” It’s a clear way we measure the fidelity and unselfishness of our hearts. Jesus said that his yoke is easy and his burden light (Mt 11:28-30) not because he would ask less of us, but because he knew that love renders suffering bearable and even joyful. St. Ignatius of Loyola said, “It is not hard to obey when we love the one whom we obey.”
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