February 18

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)

February 16

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)

February 14

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)

February 11

Many may blame Adam for being so easily persuaded by that wicked counselor and for rejecting the divine commandment, thus becoming the agent of death for us all. Yet to wish to taste a deadly plant before actually doing so, and to desire to eat of such a plant after having learned by experience that it is deadly, are not the same thing. The man who drinks poison knowing that it is poison, and so wretchedly causes his own death, is more culpable than he who takes poison and so kills himself without knowing beforehand that it is poison. Therefore each of us is more culpable and guilty than Adam.

But, you might ask, is that tree really within us? Do we still have a commandment from God forbidding us to eat from that tree? Perhaps exactly that same tree is not within us, yet the commandment of God is with us even now. And if we obey it, and try to lead our life in accordance with it, it frees us from punishment for all our sins, as well as from the ancestral curse and condemnation. But if we now reject it, and choose instead the provocation and counsel of the evil one, we cannot but fall away from the life and fellowship of paradise and be cast into the gehenna of everlasting fire with which we were threatened.

~St Gregory Palamas (Philokalia vol.4, 372)

February 10

Death was thus to become the lot of our forefathers, just as it lies in store for us who are now living, and our body was rendered mortal. Death is thus a kind of protracted process or, rather, there are myriads of deaths, one death succeeding the next until we reach the one final and long-enduring death. For we are born into corruption, and having once come into existence we are in a state of transiency until we cease from this constant passing away and coming to be. We are never truly the same, although we may appear to be so to those who do not observe us closely. Just as a flame that catches one end of a slender reed changes continually, and its existence is measured by the length of the reed, so we likewise are ever changing, and our measure is the length of life appointed to each of us.

~St Gregory Palamas (Philokalia vol.4, p.371)

February 9

Now, after the devil, the cause of the passions is the impassioned eating of the most delectable kinds of foods. For if, as Scripture testifies, simply the sight of the tree was enough to make the serpent an acceptable and trustworthy counselor, how much more would the taste of the fruit have the same effect?

And if this is true for the taste, how much more is it so for the eating to repletion? Thus is it not clear that it was not yet profitable for our ancestors to eat of that tree through the senses? and because they did eat of it at the wrong time, was it not necessary for them to be cast our of paradise, to prevent them from making that divine land a council-chamber and workshop of evil? And should they not have undergone bodily death immediately after their transgression? But the Lord was long-suffering and patient with them.

~St Gregory Palamas (Philokalia, vol.4, p.370)

February 8

Consequently our ancestors–who since they dwelt in the sacred land of paradise should never have forgotten God–ought first to have acquired more practice and, so to speak, schooling in simple, genuine goodness and to have gained greater stability in the life of contemplation. Being still in an imperfect and intermediate state–that is to say, easily influenced, whether for good or evil, by whatever they made use of–they should not have ventured on the experience of things pleasant to the senses.

They ought especially to have been on their guard against things that by nature greatly allure and dominate the senses and that seduce the entire intellect and give access to evil passions, thus rendering plausible the originator and creator of these passions.

~St Gregory Palamas (Philokalia, vol.4, pp.369-370)