So, in a Mass offered for the repose of the souls of bishops and cardinals who died this year, Pope Francis prayed for “the intercession of all those who lived unassuming lives, content to prepare daily to meet the Lord.”

“The secret to life is to live to serve,” Pope Francis said in St. Peter’s Basilica November 3, reports Catholic News Agency.

Nine cardinals and 154 bishops have died since November 2017.

“Instead of our outward appearance that passes away, we should purify and keep custody of our heart, our inner self, which is precious in the eyes of God,” the pope said in his homily.

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Pope Francis focused his message on the parable of ten bridesmaids who went forth to meet the bridegroom in the Gospel of Matthew.

“The encounter with Jesus, the Bridegroom, who ‘loved the Church and gave himself up for her,’ gives meaning and direction to our lives. That and nothing more. It is the finale that illuminates everything that preceded it,” Pope Francis said.

“Every day of our lives is a preparation for the wedding banquet, a great period of betrothal,” he continued.

The pope identified three qualities of the oil needed for the bridesmaid’s lamps in the Gospel story. The oil is not “flashy but essential.” It exists to be consumed, to serve. And, it must be prepared ahead of time.

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