…the grace of deification is entirely unconditional, and there is no faculty whatever in nature capable of achieving it since, if there were, this grace would no longer be grace but merely the manifestation of the operation of a natural capacity. Nor, if deification were in accord with a natural capacity, would there be anything miraculous in it; for then deification would truly be the work of nature, not the gift of God, and a man would be able to be and to be called a God by nature in the full sense of the words.
For the natural capacity of every being is nothing other than the undeviating and natural disposition for active accomplishment. It is, indeed, incomprehensible how deification can raise the person deified outside or beyond himself if it is encompassed within the bounds of nature.
~St Gregory Palamas (Philokalia vol.4, pp.420-421)
…not all things said of God betoken His essence. For what belongs to the category of relation is also predicated of Him, and this is relative and refers to relationship with something else, and does not signify essence. Such is the divine energy in God. For it is not essence, nor an accident, even though it is called a kind of accident by some theologians, who mean to say simply this, that it is in God and that it is not essence.
~St Gregory Palamas (Philokalia vol.4, p.406)
The intellect perceives one light, and the senses another. The senses perceive sensible light, which manifests sensory things as sensory. The light of the intellect is the spiritual knowledge inherent in intellection. Thus sight and intellect do not perceive the same light, but each operates to the limit of its nature in what is natural to it.
When saintly people become the happy possessors of spiritual and supranatural grace and power, they see both with the sense of sight and with the intellect that which surpasses both sense and intellect in the manner that–to use the expression of St Gregory of Nazianzos–“God alone knows and those in whom these things are brought to pass”.
~St Gregory Palamas (Philokalia vol.4, p.424)
…if in the age to come the body is to share with the soul in ineffable blessings, then it is evident that in this world as well it will also share according to its capacity in the grace mystically and ineffably bestowed by God upon the purified intellect, and it will experience the divine in conformity with its nature.
…as St Diadachos states, in the case of those who have abandoned the delights of this age in the hope of enjoying the blessings of eternity, the intellect, because of its freedom from worldly cares, is able to act with its full vigor and becomes capable of perceiving the ineffable goodness of God.
Then according to the measure of its own progress it communicates its joy to the body too, and this joy which then fills both soul and body is a true recalling of incorruptible life.
~St Gregory Palamas (Philokalia vol.4, pp.423-424)
The grace of deification is, therefore, above nature, virtue and knowledge and, according to St Maximos, all such things infinitely fall short of it. For all the virtue we can attain and such imitation of God as lies in our power does no more than fit us for union with the Deity, but it is through grace that this ineffable union is actually accomplished. Through grace God in His entirety penetrates the saints in their entirety, and the saints in their entirety penetrate God entirely, exchanging the whole of Him for themselves, and acquiring Him alone as the reward of their ascent towards Him; for He embraces them as the soul embraces the body, enabling them to be in Him as His own members.
~St Gregory Palamas (Philokalia vol.4, p.421)
The Lord said to His disciples, “There are some standing here who will not taste death till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power” (Mark 9:1); and after six days He took Peter, James and John, and when they had ascended Mount Tabor He shone like the sun, and His clothes became white as light (cf. Matthew 17:1-2). When the disciples could look at it no longer or, rather, because they lacked the strength to gaze at the brightness, they fell prostrate to the earth (cf. Matthew 17:6). None the less, in accordance with the Savior’s promise they did see the kingdom of God, that divine and inexpressible light.
St Gregory of Nazianzos and St Basil call this light “divinity”, saying that “the light is the divinity manifested to the disciples on the Mount”, and that it is “the beauty of Him who is almighty, and His noetic and contemplatable divinity”.
St Basil the Great also says that this light is the beauty of God contemplated by the saints alone in the power of the divine Spirit; and again he writes, “On the mountain Peter and the sons of thunder saw His beauty shining more brightly than the sun; and they were privileged to receive with their eyes a foretaste of His advent.”
~St Gregory Palamas (Philokalia vol.4, pp.414-415)
All existent things can be grouped into ten categories, namely, essence, quantity, quality, relation, place, time, activity, passivity, possession and dependence; and these ten categories apply likewise to everything subsequently seen to pertain to essence. But God is supraessential essence, in which can be seen only relation and activity or creation, and these two things do not produce in His essence any composition or change. For God creates all things without being affected in His essence. He is Creator in relation to creation, and also its Principle and Master in that it has its origin in Him and is dependent on Him. But He is also our Father, since by grace He confers on us rebirth. Yet He is Father, too, in relation to the Son who is completely without any temporal beginning. The Son is Son in relation to the Father, while the Spirit is the projection of the Father, coeternal with the Father and the Son, being of one and the same essense.
Those who assert that God is only essence, with nothing to be seen in Him, fabricate a God who has neither creativity and energy nor relation. But if He whom they suppose to be God does not possess these properties, then He is neither active nor Creator, nor does He possess an energy; and neither is He Principle, Creator and Master, nor is He our Father by grace. For how could He be these things if relation and creativity are not to be envisaged in His essence? Furthermore, if relation is not to be envisaged in God’s essence, the tri-hypostatic character of the Godhead is also abolished. But He who is not tri-hypostatic is not the Master of all or God. Thus those who hold the views of Barlaam and Akindynos are atheists.
~St Gregory Palamas (Philokalia vol.4, pp.409-410)
St Paul has taught us that the soul endowed with intelligence can be as if dead even though it possesses life as its being; for he writes, “The self-indulgent widow is dead while still alive” (1 Timothy 5:6). He could not have said worse than this about the present subject of our discourse, namely, the soul endowed with intelligence. For if the soul deprived of the spiritual Bridegroom does not humble itself and mourn, and does not adopt the strait and grievous life of repentance, but is, on the contrary, profligate, sunk in sensual pleasure and self-indulgence, it is dead even while it lives and even though it is immortal in essence.
It has the capacity for what is worse, death, and likewise for what is better, life.
St Gregory Palamas (Philokalia, vol.4, pp.366-367)
States, conditions, places, times, and any other such thing are not literally but metaphorically predicated of God. But to create and to energize can in the truest sense be predicated of God alone; for only God creates. He does not come into existence nor with respect to His essence is He acted upon. He alone through all things creates each one. He alone creates from absolute nothingness, since He possesses energy that is all-powerful. With respect to this energy He can be referred to in relation to creation and possesses potentiality. For He Himself in His own nature is not capable of being affected by anything at all, but if He wishes He is capable of adding to His creations. For God in His essence to be capable of being affected, of possessing or acquiring something, would denote weakness. But for God through His energy to be capable of creating, and of possessing and adding to His creations whenever He wishes, is a token of divinely fitting and almighty power.
~St Gregory Palamas (Philokalia vol.4, p.409)
Since the Logos of God through His descent to us has brought the kingdom of heaven close to us, let us not distance ourselves from it by leading an unrepentant life. Let us rather flee the wretchedness of those who sit “in darkness and the shadow of death” (Isaiah 9:2). Let us acquire the fruits of repentance: a humble disposition, compunction and spiritual grief, a gentle and merciful heart that loves righteousness and pursues purity, peaceful, peace-making, patient in toil, glad to endure persecution, loss, outrage, slander and suffering for the sake of truth and righteousness. For the kingdom of heaven or, rather, the King of heaven–ineffable in His generosity–is within us (cf. Luke 17:21); and to Him we should cleave through acts of repentance and patient endurance, loving as much as we can Him who so dearly has loved us.
~St Gregory Palamas (Philokalia vol.4, p.373)