Matthew 25:13

Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of man comes.
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Augustine of Hippo

AD 430
"The lamps" which they carry in their hands are their works, of which it was said above, “Let your works shine before men.” Or, by the five virgins, is denoted a five-fold continence from the allurements of the flesh; for our appetite must be held from gratification of the eyes, ears, smell, taste, and touch. And as this continence may be done before God, to please Him in inward joy of the conscience, or before men only to gain applause of men, five are called wise, and five foolish. Both are virgins, because both these men exercise continence, though from different motives. For there die of both kinds of men in this interval of time before the resurrection of the dead, and the Lord’s coming shall be. “At midnight,” that is, when none knew or looked for it. Or, that the virgins go forth to meet the bridegroom alone, I think is to be understood that the virgins themselves constitute her who is called the bride -as we speak of the Christians flocking to the Church as children running to ...

George Leo Haydock

AD 1849
Watch ye. St. Augustine asks, how can we be always watching, it being necessary for each one to give himself sufficient time to sleep and rest from his many labours? He answers the question in these words: We may always keep watching to our hearts by faith, hope, charity, and all other good works. But when we awake, like the five wise virgins, we must arise and trim our lamps, by supplying them with the oil of good works. Then they will not go out, nor will the soothing oil of a good conscience be wanting to us. Then will the bridegroom come and introduce us to his house, where we shall never need sleep or rest; nor will our lamps ever be in danger of going out. While we are in this life, we labour; and our lamps, blown about by the winds of innumerable temptations, are always in danger of being extinguished; but soon their flame shall become more brilliant, and the temptations we have suffered here shall not diminish, but increase its lustre. (St. Augustine, serm. xxiv.) ...

Glossa Ordinaria

AD 1480
Ap. Anselm: Grief at their exclusion extorts from them a repetition of this title of, “Lord;” they call not Him Father, whose mercy they despised in their lifetime.

Gregory The Dialogist

AD 604
By “the kingdom of heaven” is meant the present Church, as in that, “The Son of Man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend.” . For in each of the five senses of the body there is a double instrument, and the number five doubled makes ten. And because the company of the faithful is gathered out of both sexes, the Holy Church is described as being like to ten virgins, where as bad are mixed with good, and reprobate with elect, it is like a mixture of wise and foolish virgins. It is to be observed, that all have lamps, but all have not oil. To sleep is to die, to slumber before sleep is to faint from salvation before death, because, by the burden of sickness we come to the sleep of death. The lamps of the foolish virgins go out, because the works which appeared outwardly to men to be bright, are dimmed within at the coming of the Judge. That they then beg oil of the wise virgins, what is it but that at the coming of the Judge, when the...

Hilary of Poitiers

AD 368
“Then,” because all this discourse is concerning the great day of the Lord, concerning which He had been speaking before. Or, The five wise and five foolish are an absolute distinction between believers and unbelievers. The “oil” is the fruit of good works, the “vessels” are the human bodies in whose inward parts the treasure of a good conscience is to be laid up. At the trumpet signal they go forth to meet the bridegroom alone, for then shall the two be one, that is, the flesh and God, when the lowliness of the flesh shall be transformed into spiritual glory. Or, the trimming their lamps is the return of their souls into their bodies, and their light is the consciousness of good works that shines forth, which is contained in the vessels of the body. They that sell are the poor, who, needing the alms of the faithful, made them that recompense which they desire, selling in return for the relief afforded to their wants, a consciousness of good works. This is the abundant fuel of an undyi...


AD 420
This parable of the ten foolish and the ten wise virgins, some interpret literally of virgins, of whom there are according to the Apostle some who are virgins both in body and in thought, others who have preserved indeed their bodies virgin, but have not the other deeds of virgins, or have only been preserved by the guardianship of parents, but have wedded in their hearts. But from what has gone before, I think the meaning to be different, and that the parable has reference not to virgins only, but to the whole human race. For there are five senses which hasten towards heavenly things, and seek after things above. Of sight, hearing, and touch, it is specially said, “That which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, and our hands have handled.” There are also other five senses which gape after earthly husks. The virgins that have oil are they who, besides their faith, have the ornament of good works - they that have not oil, are they that seem to confess with like faith, but n...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
And He employs the character virgins in this parable to shew, that though virginity be a great thing, yet if it be not accompanied by works of mercy, it shall be cast out with the adulterers. Or, The “oil” denotes charity, alms, and every aid rendered to the needy; the lamps denote the gifts of virginity; and He calls them “foolish,” because after having gone through the greater toil, they lost all for the sake of a less; for it is greater labour to overcome the desires of the flesh than of money. Or otherwise ; these virgins were foolish, not only because they departed hence, lacking store of mercy, but because they deemed to receive it from those of whom they importunately begged it. For though nothing could be more merciful than those wise virgins, who for this very mercifulness were approved, yet would they not grant the prayer of the foolish virgins. But the wise answered, saying, “Not so, lest there be not enough for us and you;” hence we learn that none of us shall be able in th...

John Chrysostom

AD 407
Do you see how continually He adds this, showing how awful our ignorance concerning our departure hence? Where now are they, who throughout all their life are remiss, but when they are blamed by us, are saying, At the time of my death, I shall leave money to the poor. Let them listen to these words, and be amended. For indeed at that time many have failed of this, having been snatched away at once, and not permitted so much as to give charge to their relations touching what they wished to be done. This parable was spoken with respect to mercy in alms; but the one that comes after this, to them that neither in money, nor in word, nor in protection, nor in any other things whatever, are willing to assist their neighbors, but withhold all. And wherefore can it be that this parable brings forward a king, but that a bridegroom? That you might learn how close Christ is joined unto the virgins that strip themselves of their possessions; for this indeed is virginity. Wherefore Paul also ...

Theophylact of Ochrid

AD 1107
. He says that a cry was made in the middle of the night to show that the Lord comes when least expected, as at midnight when we all have fallen into a deep sleep. He also comes with a cry, for a trumpet will sound at the second coming. The lamps are our souls, and each one’s mind is also a lamp; the lamp is lit when one has the oil of the virtues and of almsgiving. The virgins were truly foolish in this regard also, that they went to look for oil when it was not the time for work and business. The wise virgins say, "lest there be not enough for us and you." My neighbor’s virtue scarcely suffices for his own defense, and certainly not for me as well, for each one will be deemed righteous by his own deeds and not by those of his neighbor. But the foolish virgins went to "them that sell," that is, to the poor. What He is saying is this: the foolish virgins repent of not having given alms and now for the first time they understand that it was from the poor that we should have obtained oil...

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. - 2 Peter 1:20

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