St.-Gregory-NazianzenI believe the words of the wise.

I believe that every fair and God-beloved soul, when it has been set free from the bonds of the body, departs hence, and at once enjoys a sense and perception of the blessings which await it.

It enjoys this inasmuch as that which darkened it has been purged away, or laid aside—I know not how else to term it.

And it feels a wondrous pleasure and exultation, and goes rejoicing to meet its Lord.

For it has escaped, as it were, from the grievous poison of life here, and has shaken off the fetters which bound it and held down the wings of the mind.

And so it enters on the enjoyment of the bliss laid up for it, of which it has even now some conception.

Then, a little later, it receives its kindred flesh, which once shared in its pursuits of things above, from the earth which both gave and had been entrusted with it.

And, in some way known to God, who knit them together and dissolved them, the soul enters with the flesh upon the inheritance of the glory there.

And, as it shared, through their close union, in its hardships, so also it bestows upon it a portion of its joys, gathering it up entirely into itself, and becoming with it one in spirit and in mind and in God, the mortal and mutable being swallowed up of life.

Hear at least how the inspired Ezekiel discourses of the knitting together of bones and sinews (Ezek. 37:3).

Hear how after him Saint Paul speaks of the earthly tabernacle, and the house not made with hands, the one to be dissolved, the other laid up in heave.

Hear how Paul alleges absence from the body to be presence with the Lord (2 Cor. 5:1, 6; Phil. 1:23), and bewailing his life in it as an exile, and therefore longing for and hastening to his release.

Why am I faint-hearted in my hopes?  Why behave like a mere creature of a day?

I await the voice of the Archangel (1 Thess. 4:16), the last trumpet (1 Cor. 15:52), the transformation of the heavens, the transfiguration of the earth, the liberation of the elements, the renovation of the universe (2 Pet. 3:10).

Then shall I see Cæsarius himself, no longer in exile, no longer laid upon a bier, no longer the object of mourning and pity, but brilliant, glorious, heavenly.

Gregory Nazianzen (c.330-390): Oration 7, 21 (Panegyric on His Brother S. Cæsarius).