A LITTLE while, and ye shall not see me: and again, a little while, and ye shall see me, because I go to the Father.
And ye now therefore have sorrow: but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.
John 16:16, 22.
From a Homily by St Bede (c. 673-735).
THE cheerful promises of our Lord and Saviour, dearest brethren, we ought to receive with a cheerful attentiveness of heart, and if we are to deserve to attain to them, we ought to continue with a steady purpose to receive them so.
For what is there that deserves to be heard more cheerfully, than the possibility of reaching to that joy that will never be taken away? […]
IF, dearest brethren, we are now experiencing unhappy times for our benefit, if (as the Apostle urges [Rom 12:9-15]) we prove patient in troubles while rejoicing in hope, if we weep for our errors, for the miseries of our neighbours, with such expressions of grief as they deserve, then the Lord will see us again.
That is to say, in the time to come he shall show himself for us to see — he who once condescended to see you, to lavish upon you that same knowledge by faith.
He shall see us for the purpose of crowning us, who once saw us for the purpose of calling us.
“Remember me, when thou comest in thy kingdom.”
He shall see us, and our hearts will rejoice, and no one shall take our joy away from us, because it is the true and incomparable reward of those who share with God in sadness — to rejoice in the unending sight of him.
This reward he himself promised in the highest form when he said, Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
It is something the Psalmist longed for fervently, when he said: My soul hath thirsted after the living God; when shall I come and appear before the face of God?
St Bede. Homily for the Second Sunday after Easter (On John 16). This is my own translation.
VIRGIN wholly light, who gave birth to God, the Giver of light, illuminate the eyes of my heart with the light of the knowledge of God, that I may chant, ‘All you his works bless the Lord, praise and highly exalt him to all the ages’.
For more on Elder Paisios and this icon of the Panagia, see Mystagogy.