Mourning As The Fount of Repentance
t. Gregory Palamas sees the course of man’s earthly life as a period of repentance... Spiritual mourning [than] is the basic precondition for man’s exodus from bondage to the passions and the beginning and fount of repentance. St. Gregory Palamas frequently refers to spiritual or ‘godly’ mourning as that painful, but also gladsome state, through which the believer must pass if he desires to live the true and ‘abundant’ life in Christ. For this reason, he does not hesitate to characterize the period of Great Lent as the period of mourning and spiritual struggle par excellence. For him, Lent is the symbol of the [entire] present age and the precondition for resurrection in the life of every believer...
Saint Gregory Palamas lived his life in a state of godly mourning, crying out to God, “Illumine my darkness!” He could not conceive of man’s crossing over from the life of sin to ‘true life’ without mourning and repentance. When the νοῦς is freed from everything connected with the senses, it ascends above the tempestuous bustle for earthly things and is able to see the inner man. In this way, man becomes aware of “the odious mask” that the soul acquires from its wanderings amid earthly things, and then hastens to wash away its stain with tears of mourning. To the extent that man lays aside all earthly cares and returns to his true self, he becomes that much more receptive to divine mercy. Christ has blessed those who mourn for their sins and for the loss of their salvation caused by those sins. This, moreover, is the reason why mourning is also called ‘blessed’.
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Anestis Keselopoulos, Passions and Virtues According to Saint Gregory Palamas (St. Tikhon’s Seminary Press, South Canaan, 2004) pp. 73, 81, 83. Please order this wonderful book from St. Tikhon’s Bookstore and Press to read more! http://stspress.com/products-page/sts-press/