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Matthew 25:1

Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, who took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
Let us now, beloved, discuss the five wise and the five foolish virgins. They wished to go to meet the bridegroom. What is the meaning of “to go and meet the bridegroom”? To go with all the heart, to eagerly await his coming.
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
So then let us understand, dearly beloved, that this parable relates to us all, that is, to the whole church together, not to the clergy only, of whom we spoke yesterday, nor to the laity only but generally to all. Why then are the virgins five and five? These five and five virgins are all Christian souls together. But that I may tell you what by the Lord’s inspiration I think, it is not souls of every sort but such souls as have the catholic faith and seem to have good works in the church of God. Yet even of them it is said, “Five are wise, and five are foolish.” ...

Cornelius a Lapide

AD 1637
Then . . . which went out to meet the bridegroom and the bride (Vulg.). And the bride is not found in the Greek, nor in S. Chrysostom. It is the reading of the Latin and the Syriac versions, and of Origen, Hilary, and S. Augustine (Epist120). Then: when Christ shall return unexpectedly to judgment. The Kingdom of heaven: that Isaiah , the Church militant, which shall then be about to triumph. The meaning Isaiah , At that time shall it be with members of the Church as if ten virgins were preparing themselves for a marriage feast. For although the damned, as being already in hell, are no longer members of the Church, yet because they were members of it in this life, they are brought to hear the sentence of the judge. There is no mention of unbelievers here, because, as S. John says, "He that believeth not is judged already." Observe, that formerly, as now, youths were assigned to the bridegroom, to do him honour, and virgins to the bride; and these last were often ten in number. Moreo...

Cornelius a Lapide

AD 1637
s24 , 25. Then he which had received the one talent, &c. There is an emblem here which only pertains to the embellishment of the parable. For this, says Frank Lucas, is the way in which lazy servants excuse their idleness, throwing it upon the severity of their masters. As if they said, "You are not willing to lose, but always want to gain. And if gain is not brought you, you take away the property of your poor servants for any reason, or none." It is to be observed that the reprobate in the Day of Judgment, when they behold the Saints thus rewarded by Christ and themselves sentenced to Gehenna, will, out of despair and madness, inveigh against Christ the Judges , and will shamelessly reproach Him for His too great severity, and will impiously and blasphemously throw the blame of their damnation upon Him. And thus they, in hell, being driven to madness by the severity and eternal duration of their torments, will continually blaspheme God, and Christ, and the Saints, as though they wer...

Cornelius a Lapide

AD 1637
s22 , 23. He also that had received two talents, &c. The Arab. has, And these are the five2 talents which I have gained, as though the servant showed them, and offered them to his master. The same thing is said as in vers20,21 , save that there were five talents, here there are two. For, as S. Jerome says, "The Lord does not regard so much the greatness of the gain, as the good-will and the desire. And it is possible that he who receives two talents, by trading diligently with them, may merit more than he who receives five, and uses them in a lukewarm manner." Thus S. Nicolas Tolentinus passed his life in constant prayer and the practice of austerities. He used to fast on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays on bread and water, in honour of the Blessed Virgin, and used to punish himself by means of an iron chain. Six months before his death he heard daily at vespers angelic Song of Solomon , which invited him to the marriage feast of the Lamb in Heaven. Just before his death he ...

Cornelius a Lapide

AD 1637
s26 , 27. His lord answered and said unto him, &c. This likewise is an emblem, and only signifies how we ought by all means to increase the grace of God. Observe that they are called money-changers, who make gain by exchange, and by lending and borrowing. This gain is lawful in the way of exchange and merchandise. It is unlawful in the way of lending upon interest, and is the sin of usury. Wherefore the Lord in this place does not speak so much according to the abstract right of the matter, as parabolically, partly because of the common practice of nations (for usury was allowed in many nations, especially among the Jews, who think that God permitted them to exact it from the Gentiles, in Deut. xxiii19), partly as a deduction from the words of the slothful servant, who attributed to his master the avarice of extorting money, by fair means or foul, from himself or others. This passage may, however, be accommodated to what is signified by the parable in the following manner-that God requ...

Cornelius a Lapide

AD 1637
s37-39. Then shall the righteous say, expressing their wonder at Christ"s liberality towards them, not so much with their lips as in their hearts. When saw we. By this word when is expressed at once the profound humility and the exultation of the Saints in that they hear their few and poor works made so much of by Christ, as that He should count them as done to Himself, because they were done to the poor for love of Christ. And the King shall answer, &c. ... one of the least of these. The word these strictly denotes the Apostles, and Religious and Apostolic men similar to them, who shall sit as assessors with Christ as judge. In this world they were accounted the least and most abject. And to themselves in their humility they seemed to be the very least of all. Inasmuch as they voluntarily embraced poverty of spirit, they gave themselves up altogether to the cross of Christ and to the preaching of the faith. But in the second place, all poor Christians who, having been born again in b...

George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
Ten virgins. By these are signified all mankind. By the bridegroom, Christ; by the bride, the Church; by oil, grace and charity. (Witham) The kingdom of heaven is not unfrequently compared to the Church militant; which, as it is composed of both just and wicked, reprobate and elect, is deservedly compared to five wise and five foolish virgins: the wise constantly aspiring after their blessed country; the foolish, with all their fasts and austerities, wishing to procure nothing more than the empty esteem of men. (St. Gregory) Went out to meet the bridegroom and the bride; in the Greek, it is simply, before the bridegroom. The custom among the Jews was, that the bridegroom should go to fetch his spouse, and conduct her with solemnity to his house. (Bible de Vence) This was the conclusive ceremony, and done in the night-time. The young women of the vicinity, in order to do her honour, went to meet her with lighted lamps. Modern travellers inform us, that this custom still obtains with ...

Hilary of Poitiers

AD 368
The whole story is about the great day of the Lord, when those things concealed from the human mind will be revealed through our understanding of divine judgment. Then the faith true to the Lord’s coming will win the just reward for unwavering hope. For in the five wise and five foolish virgins, a complete separation between the faithful and unfaithful is established. Similarly, Moses had received the Ten Commandments written on two tablets. For it was necessary that all these things be written on each. The double column represented, under a single testament, the division between the good and the bad, between the designation of right and left. ...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
These parables are like the former parable of the faithful servant, and of him that was ungrateful and devoured his Lord's goods. For there are four in all, in different ways admonishing us about the same things, I mean about diligence in almsgiving, and about helping our neighbor by all means which we are able to use, since it is not possible to be saved in another way. But there He speaks more generally of all assistance which should he rendered to one's neighbor; but as to the virgins, he speaks particularly of mercifulness in alms, and more strongly than in the former parable. For there He punishes him that beats, and is drunken, and scatters and wastes his lord's goods, but here even him that does not help, nor spends abundantly his goods upon the needy. For they had oil indeed, but not in abundance, wherefore also they are punished. But wherefore does He set forth this parable in the person of the virgins, and does not merely suppose any person whatever? Great things had He sp...
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Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. - 2 Peter 1:20

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