From the book, 'Thoughts for Each Day of the Year,' St. Theophan the Recluse, Wednesday of the week before Pentecost.
The Lord said to the Holy Apostles before His sufferings: A little while, and you shall not see Me: and again, a little while, and you shall see Me. (John 16:16)
The Lord's sufferings and death so struck the Holy Apostles that the eyes of their minds became dim, and they no longer saw the Lord as the Lord. The light was hidden, and they sat in a bitter and wearisome darkness. The light of Christ's Resurrection dispersed this darkness, and they again saw the Lord.
The Lord Himself explained His words thus: You shall weep, He said, and lament, but the world shall rejoice; and you shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy. (John 16:20)
It is said that every soul experiences a similar defeat on the way to perfection. Universal darkness covers it, and it does not know where to go; but the Lord comes, and changes its sorrow into joy. This is truly as necessary as it is for a woman to suffer before a child is born of her into the world. Can we not conclude from this that he who has not experienced this has not yet given birth to a real Christian within himself?