On The Sabbath and the Lord’s Day
By St Gregory Palamas
…I shall tell you, in your charity, something which has just occurred to me. I notice that Thomas lost his faith when he was absent, but when he was together with the believers his faith did not in any way fall short. So I have the idea that if only a sinner will flee the company of immoral men and associate with the just, he will never be found lacking in righteousness or the resultant salvation of his soul. It seems to me that the psalmist and prophet was hinting at this when he called blessed the man who avoided sitting with the scornful and being their companion (cf. Ps. 1:1). Another prophet writes, “Thou shalt not follow the multitude to do evil” (Exod. 23:2), and the author of Proverbs says, “Where sinners gather, the fire breaks out” (Ecclus. 16:6), “but he that walketh with wise men shall be wise” (Prov. 13:20).
So let us, brethren, meet together and often come to God’s Church, where all who are truly godly are present and never stay away. When each of you enters the church, look for the more godly of those within, whom you can recognize just by seeing how they stand in attentive silence. Watch for those who are more pious and God-fearing than the rest, and go and attach yourself to them, and attend upon God with them. When you come out after the dismissal on the Lord’s Day and are at leisure from earthly work for the sake of Him whose day it is, carefully search to see if there is an imitator of the apostles who mostly stays indoors, longing for God with silent prayer, psalmody and other suitable practices. Approach such a person and enter his small room with faith as though you were entering a heavenly place containing the Spirit’s sanctifying power. Sit down beside him and stay with him as long as possible. Talk to him about God and divine matters, asking questions, humbly learning and appealing for help through prayer. If you do this, I know for sure that Christ will invisibly come to you, give peace within the thinking part of your soul, increase your faith, strengthen your steadfastness, and in due time set you among His chosen in the heavenly kingdom (Basileia=rule or reign).
May we all attain to this in Him who has now died and risen for us and afterwards will come in glory, Christ the King of the ages, to whom belongs glory unto the ages of ages. Amen.
—St Gregory Palamas