Anestis Keselopoulos on St Gregory Palamas: Repentance and Purification (continued)
In his presentation of the thought of St Gregory Palamas, Anestis Keselopoulos observes: ‘The aim of repentance and mourning is to perfectly cleanse the soul from the passions, which ultimately means to overcome the Fall…repentance is the great opportunity God gives man and the potential for intimacy of sonship and union with Him…Man’s purification is the work of the grace of God, but it also requires the co-operation or “synergy” of man. It becomes a reality through the struggle of the human will, which is richly strengthened by divine grace…The work of the soul’s purification is not dependent on man’s intellectual capabilities, but upon the purity of his heart and his predisposition towards applying the will of God in his life.’
This sounds like hard work! But St Gregory Palamas suggests a number of helps, one of which stands out: ‘By prayer and by finding his place as a worshipping member in the community of the faithful, the believer overcomes his individuality and develops personal communion with God and with his fellow man.’ Concerning ths last point, one of the Fathers sees the Saints as being points on the spokes of a wheel the centre of which is God; the closer they get to Him, the closer they get to each other.