The vision of Saint Gregory Palamas

The Niptic fathers made many endeavours for finding the Grace of God by prayer. For this reason we, their sons, have the duty to bring them thanks without cease as they showed us a path which leads to the union with God. But we marvel and wonder: `How is it possible for the men, especially for the monks and clerics, to live a spiritual life, fulfilling their spiritual needs without prayer which our Niptic fathers gave us from their experience?

Saint Gregory Grigorie Palamas, the great enlightener of the hesychast work, of vigilance and especially of the ceaseless prayer, wrote the highest and most systematic teachings for which he received the name of `top of the Niptic fathers.`

Once while he made his ascetic endeavors in the Great Lavra with his community the Saint fell into rapture and saw before him a pot which looked like a jug and it had a liquid inside. This liquid was superabundant so it spilled  over and it was wasted. This white nice drink found in that jug looked like milk. An honorable man told him: `Gregory why do you let so much spiritual matter  be spilled over and lost instead of giving it to those who need it?` The saint understood it was the Grace of God. It was that spiritual drink he had within himself as Grace of God , as wisdom, experience, vigilance and power of the word. How come that you leave these and keep them in this place and don`t give them to the helpless, to the hungry and thirsty ones? After many years with God`s help and guidance he found himself among many people and nourished those who needed spiritual help.

Even when he was in the world he prayed by himself. He sought peace alone in his cell and went to the Holy Liturgy only on Saturdays and Sundays. In the other five days of the week he closed himself in his cell and didn`t go out at all. He didn`t eat, he didn`t drink. Only on Saturday he stopped his struggle and went to the divine Liturgy.

He communed, went down to the refectory, spoke with the monks and from Sunday evening he stayed in peace again until the next Saturday.

These great fathers teach us that whenever the soul of the man is assaulted by dirty, selfish, blasphemous, sinful thoughts, beside the word against them, he must make the endeavour to chase them away with anger and with the Jesus prayer . It is not enough only the anger against the sinful thoughts and images, it is also necessary for the man who is fought to pray with the ceaseless prayer by calling the divine Name: `Lord Jesus Christ have mercy on me.`

Excerpt from Fatherly counsels – Pious Ephrem Philoteos,  Evanghelismos Publishing.

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