Action Alert!

Keep Those Lamps Lit

By Dr. Jeff Mirus ( bio - articles - email ) | Dec 02, 2009

At midnight there was a cry, “Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.” Then all those maidens rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, “Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.” But the wise replied, “Perhaps there will not be enough for us and for you; go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.” And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast; and the door was shut.

It is St. Matthew who tells us of the wise and foolish virgins, in chapter 25 of his gospel. The virgins were keeping watch for the arrival of the bridegroom at the wedding feast. It is an allegory of the Advent season, and of that continuous advent we call Christian life.

But what does it mean to keep our lamps lit? In chapter 5 of the same gospel, St. Matthew provides the answer: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Keeping our lamps lit means doing good for the glory of God. To this are we called, day in, day out, not just sometimes but always. If we don’t succeed, we’ll end like the foolish virgins, locked out of the wedding feast. Thus does the parable end: “`Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.' Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”

Let me be completely forthright. One way to do good for the glory of God is to support the efforts of to advance the Catholic Faith and to build a Catholic culture. Advent provides a good time to emphasize that we need that support day in and day out, not just once in a while. We definitely need frequent donations. And if we are to build a base so that things become easier rather than harder over time, we need pledges—pledges which promise us a regular income each and every month throughout the year.

It takes a full-time commitment on my part to manage the web site, keep abreast of all things Catholic, and write my commentaries. It takes a full-time commitment from Phil Lawler to research and present each day’s news, and to write his outstanding analysis. It takes a significant commitment from another staff member to constantly update the liturgical year system, and maintain the library and site reviews. We are also supported by many others who provide hosting, programming, design, and customer service—not to mention overhead! is a fairly large and complex operation.

During Advent, I am especially asking for pledges. A pledge is an ongoing commitment over an extended period of time, though of course you can alter or cancel it if your circumstances or priorities change.

If you can’t pledge, then at least light a lamp with a one-time donation, and then see if you can keep it burning later. But a pledge does more. It initiates a continuous stream of good works for the glory of God. In other words, giving to is a great way to keep your lamp lit.

Jeffrey Mirus holds a Ph.D. in intellectual history from Princeton University. A co-founder of Christendom College, he also pioneered Catholic Internet services. He is the founder of Trinity Communications and See full bio.

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  • Posted by: - Dec. 02, 2009 4:39 PM ET USA

    A VERY worthy cause!