The Saving Work of Christ: Sermons by Saint Gregory Palamas
Published by Mount Thabor, 2013
The Saving Work Of Christ is the second volume in the series of sermons by Saint Gregory Palamas (1296– 1359), Archbishop of Thessalonica, whose brilliant and inspiring sermons have a refreshingly practical relevance to our daily lives. This second volume edited by Dr Christopher Veniamin covers his sermons on the major Feast Days of Jesus Christ (Δεσποτικές Εορτές): Christmas; Presentation; Epiphany; Transfiguration; Palm Sunday; the Precious and Life-giving Cross; Redemption; Sabbath and the Lord’s Day; Ascension; as well as the bestowing of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.
The Precious and Life-giving Cross symbolises our need to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Jesus. St Gregory notes that the first mystery of taking up our Cross involves fleeing from the ways of the world that are a hindrance to attaining piety and a devout life. It also involves the training of our body through fasting and ascetic endeavours. The second mystery of the Cross involves crucifying our passions and attachments to all worldly attractions and deceptions. The contemplative part of the soul strengthens and supports the part concerned with desires, helping to chase away fleshly lusts.
We need to attain the contemplation of God so that these passions can completely leave us, particularly leave our thoughts. This requires us to approach contemplation through action, as well as through the cleansing of our inner selves via the Sacrament of Confession. Through contemplation and prayer, a warmth is born in our heart which chases away evil thoughts, instils spiritual peace and consolation in our soul, and bestows sanctification on our body.
If we strive as hard as we can to ensure that our inner labour is according to God’s will, we will conquer the outward passions. Then we will rediscover the divine treasure which we ourselves have hidden, for the kingdom of God lies within us. This volume contains many other practical pieces of advice to assist us in our spiritual struggle and to make us grateful to our Lord Jesus Christ for His redemptive work, through His Crucifixion and Resurrection, to save us and restore us to the Holy state He created us to attain.
Source: Lychnos April 2018 / May 2018