From today’s Gospel reading, from St John: ‘It is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Counsellor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you’.

St Cyril of Alexandria commented: ‘Grievous is the sorrow that has consumed your heart, He says, and bitter the affliction that has cast you down. For you consider that separation from Me will be fraught with pain to you, and your apprehension is well grounded. For you will certainly have to encounter all the trials which I have already foretold, and will endure the fury of impious persecutions. Considering then that expediency should always be preferred to pleasure, I will tell you the truth: It is expedient for you that I go away. And we will make all our thoughts subject to the Saviour Who is over us, though I think that the saying may be likely to cause no little perplexity to a simple-minded hearer. For surely the thought will arise in him and occur to his mind, that, if it was better that Christ should go away, His Presence with them could not but infer some loss. And if our advantage lay in His Ascension, surely the reverse would result from His remaining with us. The question may perhaps perplex an unaided judgment; but the man who is guided by knowledge from above to an accurate comprehension of the saying can find here no occasion of stumbling, but will rather discover its true meaning’.

Let us pray that in the depths of our heart we understand this truth, and trust that in the midst of trials, when all seems lost and the Lord is absent, that the Counsellor, the Paraclete, will come, and guide us into all the truth. He may not remove the trial, but He will provide the grace we need. May God bless you this day.