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The men waiting for their Lord.

"Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; And ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their lord, when he will return from the wedding; that, when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. Blessed are those servants, whom the lord when he cometh shall find watching; verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to seat down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through. Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not" (Lk. 12:35-40).

In this parable, as well as the previous one about the ten virgins, the "burning lights" must be understood as spiritual burning, i.e., vigilant service for God, when the light of Divine Grace dwells in our hearts. "The grace of God," by the witness of St. John Cassian, "always directs our will to the side of the good, however it requires or expects from us appropriate efforts. To avoid giving its gifts to the careless, grace seeks occasions that wake us up from cold carelessness, and gives its gifts away only onto our desire and labor so that this open-handed gift-giving would not be reasonless. However, the grace is always given free of charge, because the reward for our little effort is immeasurably generous." A similar thought was expressed by St. Isaac of Syre: "The extent to which a man comes nearer to God by his intentions, is the same as the extent to which God comes nearer to man with His gifts."

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