St Gregory PalamasThe Eastern Christian Saint Gregory Palamas (1296-1359) whose feast day is observed twice a year by Orthodox Christians –once on November 14 and then on the Third Sunday of Lent. For Catholics Saint Gregory Palamas is a great guide for our spiritual training in Lent.

John Paul II was very keen on the theology of the body for some very good reasons. One of which is that he thought that the recovery of certain biblical principles as they are related to the human body were essential for the truthfulness, goodness and beauty Christian life life to thrive. His massive tome on the subject takes times to digest. But he’s not the only one to use the theme of “theology of the body.”

Some tend to reject the idea that the human body has anything to do with spiritual life. Nothing can be further from the truth. Christians, especially liturgically oriented Christians like Catholics and the Orthodox, believe that the body  Saint Gregory, the archbishop of Thessalonki taught a great deal about the importance of the body in the prayer life. Gregory was a proponent of hesychasm, a Greek work meaning stillness, quite. As it is related to a form of prayer it attends to the inner prayer life. It is mental prayer. The Jesus Prayer is prayed.

The point is to prayer unceasing no matter what we are doing. We know this from Saint Paul the Apostle. Saint Gregory helps us to focus on the essentiality of inner prayer amidst the noise of life. No activity is outside of God’s grace because the material world is not contrary to the things of God. However, if the material world becomes an idol, then sin creeps in, which is not good.

Incessant prayer and the worthy reception of the sacraments lead to communion with God. Nothing, particularly, the body-ethic, is outside communion with God, through the energy, not the substance, of the Holy Spirit. This is called thesois. The uncreated energy is defined as grace. It is the uncreated energy of God which transfigures and illuminates us drawing us in communion with the Divine Majesty.

Don’t get grumpy as the mid-Lent blues set in… but keep focus on your mental prayer as it will lead to a deeper relationship with Jesus. Pray to the Holy Spirit for guidance.