HOLY AND GREAT TUESDAY
“Behold the Bridegroom comes at midnight, * and blessed is the servant whom He will find watching, * but unworthy is he whom He will find in slothfulness. * Beware then O my soul, * and be not overcome by sleep, * lest you be given over to death and shut out from the Kingdom. * But return to soberness and cry aloud: * Holy, Holy, Holy are You, O God * through the God bearer have mercy on us.”
Today, we remember the ten virgins, five of whom were wise and five were foolish. The foolish virgins were not prepared to meet Jesus the Bridegroom when He arrived suddenly. They were left outside of the bridal hall where there was much rejoicing. Therefore we are reminded to be watchful at all times for the coming of the Heavenly Bridegroom because He comes when we least expect it.
From Matins: Brethren, let us love the Bridegroom * and prepare our lamps with care, * shining with the virtues and true faith; * that like the wise virgins of the Lord, * we may be ready to enter with Him into the wedding feast. * For God the Bridegroom grants to all * the crown incorruptible.
KONDAK - Tone 2 - Think, wretched soul, upon the hour of the end; * recall with fear how the fig tree was cut down. * Work diligently with the talent that is given to you; * be vigilant and cry aloud: * May we not be left outside the bridal chamber of Christ!
IKOS - Why are you slothful O my wretched soul? * Why do you waste your days in thinking of unprofitable cares? * Why are you busy with the things that pass away? * The last hour is at hand and we shall soon be parted from all that is here. * While there is still time, return to soberness and cry: * I have sinned against You, O my Savior, * do not cut me down like the unfruitful fig tree; * but, O Christ, in Your compassion take pity on me as I call on You in fear; * May we not be left outside the bridal chamber of Christ.
I slumber in slothfulness of soul, O Christ the bridegroom; * I have no lamp that burns with virtue, * and like the foolish virgins I go wandering when it is time to act. * Close not Your compassionate heart against me, Master, * but dispel dark sleep from me and rouse me up; * and lead me with the wise virgins into Your bridal chamber, * where those who feast sing with pure voices unceasingly: * O Lord glory be to You.