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2014-03-16 message

posted Mar 18, 2014, 9:45 AM by St. John's Webmaster   [ updated Mar 18, 2014, 9:45 AM ]
I am fascinated by the life of St. Gregory Palamas. Born in a noble family, he chose the monastic life. Having learned and loved the life of stillness on Mount Athos, he left the holy mountain in order to defend this way of life when it was under attack, at the cost of personal persecution from within and outside the Church. Later, he again answered the call to serve the Church when he was consecrated archbishop of Thessalonica. While he was archbishop of Thessalonica, he was captured by the Turks and spent a year in prison. 

St. Gregory's life had many twists. He was repeatedly taken from his monastic life to the serve of the Church in public capacities and each time he answered the call faithfully. At one point, I wondered how such service and strength were possible and I still marvel when I recall or reread about his life. I was reminded about the source of St. Gregory's strength just this morning, however, in a post from Abbot Tryphon from the All Merciful Savior Monastery. Fr. Tryphon quotes elder Thaddeus of Vitovnica saying "He who lives according to God's will has no worries. When he needs something, he simply prays for it. If he does not receive that which he asked for, he is joyful as though he had received it. A soul that has given itself over to God has no fear of anything, not even robbers, sickness, or death. Whatever happens, such a soul always cries, 'It was the will of God'." 

Such was the faith of St. Gregory, nurtured and cared for in the life of the prayer of the heart. Through that life of prayer, he came to encounter God, to not simply know about God, but to know God. Meeting God, knowing God, as in the case of the righteous Job, so with St. Gregory made all the difference. But indeed, it is only through fervent and constant prayer that we can grow to such intimacy with God and such faith. As St. Gregory now rejoices with the saints, may he always intercede for us and guide us in our life of prayer. 

With love in Christ,
+Fr. Peter