by St. Nikolai Velimirovich
"This done, in like manner there appeared a man with gray hairs and exceeding glorious, who was of a wonderful and excellent majesty. Then Onias answered, saying, 'This is a lover of the brethren, who prays much for the people and for the holy city, to wit, Jeremiah the prophet of God'" (2 Maccabees 15:13-14).
This was the vision which was seen by the courageous Judas Maccabee. The first to appear to him from the other world was Onias the high priest and after that the holy Prophet Jeremiah. Just as Moses and Elijah were seen in glory by the apostles on Mt. Tabor, thus, at one time Judas Maccabee saw the Prophet Jeremiah in glory. Not even before the resurrected Christ did God the Merciful leave men without proof of life after death. In Christian times, however, those proofs are without number and without end. Whoever, even after all of this, doubts in life after death, that one stands under the curse of his sin as under his grave stone. As inanimate things cannot see the light of day, so neither can he see who doubts life which is and to which there is no end.
But, behold with what kind of glory is the Prophet Jeremiah wedded in the other life! "Gray hairs and exceeding glorious." Around him a certain indescribable dignity, a certain bright aureole, a certain inexpressible pleasure and beauty. He who was dragged and beaten by men to whom he communicated and imparted the will of God and who was a captive in prison and a martyr in a fetid hole and who was ridiculed as folly and was tried as a traitor and finally, as a transgressor, was stoned to death. However, one is the judgment of sinners, another is the judgment of God. The most humiliated among men became wedded with angelic glory before God.
And yet behold how heaven calls one, whom the earth called false, a traitor and a transgressor! "Lover of the brethren" this is how heaven called him. "Lover of the brethren" who prays much for the people. Finally, see how the saints in heaven pray to God for us! Not sleeping, they are praying for us while we are asleep; not eating, they are praying for us while we are eating and have over-eaten; not sinning, they are praying for us while we are sinning. O brethren, let us be ashamed before so many of our sincere friends. Let us be ashamed, let us be ashamed of so many prayers for us by the saints and let us join with their prayers. O Lord All-wonderful, forgive us our sinful slothfulness and dullness.
To You be glory and thanks always. Amen.