“The just live forever and their reward is in the Lord and their hope in the Most High.” Time will not suffice for us to recount the virtues of all the saints, so let us consider for the moment the last of the righteous men of old. Whom do I mean? Simeon, whose name is given in the gospel according to Luke. He stands both first and last, being the last to live under the law and the first to live by grace. In observance he was a Jew, in thanksgiving a Christian; by training he was a lawyer, but by knowledge of God an ambassador.
This Simeon, whose story has just been read to us, was plucked from the ill-fame of the Pharisees like a rose from thorns, and became the first to win renown through the gift of grace. Because of his righteousness God revealed to him, while he was still in the body, that he would not depart this present transitory life until his own arms had enfolded life eternal, our Lord Jesus Christ. Simeon the righteous, who before the incarnation had longed to see the Lord, saw him incarnate, recognized him and took him in his arms. Then he cried for release from the prison of his body, calling as a servant on the Lord of all who appeared as a child, in the words you have just heard: “Now, Lord, you let your servant go in peace as you promised, for my eyes have seen your salvation.”
I have seen, allow me to leave, do not keep me here. Let me depart in peace, do not keep me in distress. I have seen, let me go: I have seen your glory, seen the angels dancing, the archangels praising you, creation leaping for joy, a way made between heaven and earth. Now let me depart, do not keep me here below.
Do not let me see the insolence of fellow Jews, the crown of thorns being plaited, a slave beating you, or a spear being thrust into you: do not let me see the sun darkened, the moon fading, the elements altered: do not let me see you broken on a cross, the rocks split asunder, the veil of the temple rent. The elements themselves will not endure this audacity, and will share in the suffering of the Lord. “Now, Lord, you let your servant go in peace as you promised, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all the nations.”
Timothy of Jerusalem