AND at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
The first half of Holy Week is dedicated the Christ the Bridegroom. See Milk and Honey for a description of the liturgy on these days, and A Reader’s Guide to Orthodox Icons for an explanation of the iconography.
HAVING once for all cast away the burden of the world, sit at the Lord’s feet and say: “I have found him whom my soul loveth; I will hold him, I will not let him go” (Song 3:4).
And He will answer: “My dove, my undefiled is but one; she is the only one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bare her” (Song 6:9).
Now the mother of whom this is said is the heavenly Jerusalem (Gal 4:26, 25)
Ever let the privacy of your chamber guard you; ever let the Bridegroom sport with you within (cf. Gen 26:8).
Do you pray? You speak to the Bridegroom. Do you read? He speaks to you.
When sleep overtakes you He will come behind and put His hand through the hole of the door, and your heart shall be moved for Him (Song 5:4); and you will awake and rise up and say: “I am sick of [i.e. faint with] love”(Song 2:5).
Then He will reply: “A garden inclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed” (Song 4:12).
St Jerome, Letter XXII (To Eustochium). Translation from CCEL.
MAY the God and Lord of all Who dwells in the heavens, Who gives us breath and life and everything, and constantly cares for our salvation, send forth into your holy souls the comforting Spirit;
may he enlighten your nous as He enlightened the Disciples of our Savior; may He shine the light of His divine radiance upon your entire spiritual and noetic being;
may your whole heart burn with divine eros as did Cleopas’s (see Lk 24:13-19), and may it leap for joy learning of the conception of the new Adam, and the utter destruction of the old Adam along with all his passions.
Then, in this manner, tears will continuously flow every moment like a fountain streaming forth sweetness. Amen.
Elder Joseph the Hesychast (+1959), in “Monastic Wisdom”, Letter 36 (p. 186).