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We have arrived at the Second Sunday of Great Lent, the Sunday of St. Gregory Palamas, the great 14th century scholar, monastic and Archbishop of Thessalonika, who by his example was a great inspiration to the people of his time.

The central precept of his teaching was that through faith, prayer and the Holy Mysteries of the Church, Orthodox Christians experience a personal sharing in the life of God.  The two main aspects of his life and work can be summarized with the words, “theosis” or becoming like God, and “hesychasm”, prayerful stillness before God.

Theosis is the renewal of all things in God, the experience of salvation as a personal sharing in God’s “own glory and goodness”. In simpler terms, theosis is God’s plan for all, the glorification of human beings as well as of creation.  The goal of the whole universe is to be like a “burning bush”, ablaze with the glory of God.  It is also the wonderful gift of new life, a dynamic process already begun through the person and redeeming work of Christ.  Christ, my dear Brothers and sisters, is our bridge to heaven. For as St. Athanasius stated, “God became man in order that man might become God”.

Hesychasm on the other hand is quiet time with God, it is a way of finding a spiritual focus in one’s life.  It is our daily renewal so that we as God’s creation can carry out our responsibilities with inspiration and effectiveness.  It is our opportunity to gather our thoughts and feelings in His presence by means of fervent prayer and spiritual reading in the stillness and quietude of serene peace.

Union with God is achieved by the practice of virtues and communication with Him through prayer.  May we attain this peacefulness as we continue our journey through Great Lent.

St Gregory Palamas