They were to perform a ceremonial greeting for a bridegroom with oil lamps. The wise ones made sure they had enough oil. The foolish ones did not pay attention to their oil supply until it was too late.
The oil symbolizes spiritual preparation – the grace of the Holy Spirit (spiritalis unctio, as the great hymn Veni Creator Spiritus says).
The parable reminds us that we dare not procrastinate when it comes to our spiritual life and our relationship with Christ.
We need to pray continually for the grace of the Holy Spirit, the anointing oil of eternal life.
As our Lord warns us, “You know neither the day nor the hour.”
Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the Living God, be merciful to me – a sinner.
Veni Creator Spiritus,
Mentes tuorum visita,
Imple superna gratia,
Quae tu creasti, pectora.
Qui diceris Paraclitus,
Altissimi donum Dei,
Fons vivus, ignis, caritas,
Et spiritalis unctio.
"Come, Creator, Spirit,
Visit the minds that are Yours.
Fill with heavenly grace
The hearts You created.
"You who are called the Paraclete,
Gift of God Most High,
Living Spring, Fire, Love,
And Spiritual Anointing."