MARCH 24, 2019 - "ENLIGHTEN MY DARKNESS"
The Saints of the Church, as a rule, did not live easy lives. Their faith was constantly put to the test. Stumbling blocks were always thrust before them. How often their only consolation must have been the words of our blessed Saviour: “If the world hates you, know that it has hated Me first!”
ST. GREGORY PALAMAS certainly fits into the category of saints who were “tried and tested.” At an early age, he entered a monastery on Mt. Athos, where he would have been content to live a contemplative life for the course of his days. But the Lord had other plans for Gregory! He was directed to leave his beloved Mt. Athos to oversee other monasteries. Later, he was given the position of Bishop of Thessalonika. Gregory found that the world outside the monastery was often cruel. Several times he was imprisoned by the Turks. Once he was accused of heresy and imprisoned for four years by his own people. Still, his faith sustained him and ultimately allowed his to prevail.
Gregory strove for spiritual excellence through constant prayer, emphasizing the necessity of making a concentrated effort to come closer to God in one’s own heart. “Enlighten my darkness” became his continuous meditation, maintaining that all man really needs in life is to have his eyes opened to the will of God.
While his teachings were sometimes difficult to understand, our Church honors St. Gregory Palamas as one of her saints. His spiritual views strengthened and sustained monasticism in the Church at a time when its impact on society was declining. For this we give thanks.