My parish priest used a story about an oil lamp during his homily today. The story and how it relates to God's Word and our souls resonated something within me as I listened, and so I thought I would share it with all of you.
The Story of the Oil Lamp
There was a monk in the early days of the Church whose job in the monastery was to maintain the oil lamp. His job was an important one, for this lamp provided much of the light for the monastery. The lamp would continue to give light so long as there was enough oil for the wick to absorb.
One day a mouse entered the monastery and got to the oil lamp. The mouse began to chew at the wick. This mouse was so intent on getting to the wick that he knocked over the lamp which fell to the ground and broke. The lamp could no longer hold the oil that was needed for the lamp to give off its beautiful light.
Our souls are like that lamp, and God's Word is the oil we need to give off God's light in our lives. The mouse that gets into our lamps is the devil and sin. By giving into sin our souls are like the broken lamp; they cannot accept and hold onto the oil of God's Word and therefore our lives are unable to give the light of Christ so needed in our world today.
St Paul reminds us today that we are temples of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in us. (see 1Cor, 3:16~23) If we allow sin into the temple~our souls, they can eventually shatter just like the oil lamp.
In the Gospel today, Jesus continues His Sermon on the Mount and tells us to be holy and perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect. That's no small feat in this day and age; we need God's help and His grace. He gives it to us through the sacraments. It began at our Baptism and is sustained through the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist.
So let us ask God for the grace to become perfect and holy as He is perfect and holy by keeping our oil lamps in tact and ready to accept and hold the oil of His Word. In this way may our light~the light of Christ Himself, so shine before men.