“Clever Maids” by Thomas J. O’Gorman

Kordis, George_Wise Virgins

Face to face with our limits,
Blinking before the frightful
Stare of our frailty,
Promise rises
Like a posse of clever maids
Who do not fear the dark
Because their readiness
Lights the search.
Their oil
Becomes the measure of their love,
Their ability to wait—
An indication of their
Capacity to trust and take a chance.
Without the caution or predictability
Of knowing day or hour,
They fall back on that only
Of which they can be sure:
Love precedes them,
Before it
No door will ever close.

This poem by Thomas J. O’Gorman appears, untitled, in The Advent Sourcebook (Liturgy Training Publications, 1988) and is published here with O’Gorman’s permission. He told me he suggests the title “Clever Maids.”

The Wise Virgins icon by George Kordis (Greek, 1956–), pictured above, is sold, but the artist has seven signed, limited-edition giclée prints available; contact him through his website if interested.

4 thoughts on ““Clever Maids” by Thomas J. O’Gorman

  1. Thanks for another great post. This theme is also found in Fleming Rutledge’s great book on Advent, with a William Blake painting on the cover of the wise and foolish virgins from Matthew 25. I thought there were five wise and five foolish women–is O’Gorman’s painting based on this and if so, why are there only four women in the painting? Advent Blessings. Barbara


    1. I’m not sure. I wondered the same. I do believe it’s meant to represent the women from the parable (it was floating around the Internet with the title “Wise Virgins”), and the artist didn’t correct me when I reached out to him regarding the painting.


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