It was meet that she who contained Him that fills all things and who surpasses all should outstrip all and become by her virtue superior to them in the eminence of her dignity. Those things which sufficed the most excellent among men that have lived throughout the ages in order to reach such excellency, and that which all those graced of God have separately, both angels and men, she combines, and these she alone brings to fulfillment and surpasses. And this she now has beyond all: That she has become immortal after death and alone dwells together with her Son and God in her body. For this reason she pours forth from thence abundant grace upon those who honor her-for she is a receptacle of great graces-and she grants us even our ability to look towards her. Because of her goodness she lavishes sublime gifts upon us and never ceases to provide a profitable and abundant tribute in our behalf. If a man looks towards this concurrence and dispensing of every good, he will say that the Virgin is for virtue and those who live virtuously, what the sun is for perceptible light and those who live in it. But if he raises the eye of his mind to the Sun which rose for men from this Virgin in a wondrous manner, the Sun which by nature possesses all those (lualities which were added to her nature by grace, he shall straightaway call the Virgin a heaven. The excellent inheritance of every good which she has been allotted so much exceeds in holiness the portion of those who are divinely graced both under and above heaven as the heaven is greater than the sun and the sun is more radiant than heaven.
Who can describe in words thy divinely resplendent beauty, O Virgin Mother of God? Thoughts and words are inadequate to define thine attributes, since they surpass mind and speech. Yet it is meet to chant hymns of praise to thee, for thou art a vessel containing every grace, the fullness of all things good and beautiful, the tablet and living icon of every good and all uprightness, since thou alone hast been deemed worthy to receive the fullness of every gift of the Spirit. Thou alone didst bear in thy womb Him in Whom are found the treasuries of all these gifts and didst become a wondrous tabernacle for Him; hence thou didst depart by way of death to immortality and art translated from earth to Heaven, as is proper, so that thou mightest dwell with Him eternally in a super-celestial abode. From thence thou ever carest diligently for thine inheritance and by thine unsleeping intercessions with Him, thou showest mercy to all.
For this reason the Prophet introduces the angels themselves as glorifying the God come from her, saying, “Blessed be the glory of the Lord from His Place” (Ezek. 3:12). Jacob the patriarch, beholding this throne by way of types (enigmata), said, “How dreadful is this Place! This is none other than the House of God, and this is the Gate of Heaven” (Gen. 28:17). But David, joining himself to the multitude of the saved, who are like the strings of a musical instrument or like differing voices from different generations made harmonious in one faith through the Ever-Virgin, sounds a most melodic strain in praise of her, saying: “I shall commemorate thy name in every generation and generation. Therefore shall peoples give praise unto thee for ever, and unto the ages of ages.” Do you see how the entire creation praises the Virgin Mother, and not only in times past, but “for ever, and unto the ages of ages”? Thus it is evident that throughout the whole course of the ages, she shall never cease from benefacting all creation, and I mean not only created nature seen round about us, but also the very supreme commanders of the heavenly hosts, whose nature is immaterial and transcendent. Isaiah shows us clearly that it is only through her that they together with us both partake of and touch God, that Nature which defies touch, for he did not see the seraphim take the coal from the altar without mediation, but with tongs, by means of which the coal touched the prophetic lips and purified them (cf. Isaiah 6:6-7). Moses beheld the tongs of that great vision of Isaiah when he saw the bush aflame with fire, yet unconsumed. And who does not know that the Virgin Mother is that very bush and those very tongs, she who herself (though an archangel also assisted at the conception) conceived the Divine Fire without being consumed, Him that taketh away the sins of the world, Who through her touched mankind and by that ineffable touch and union cleansed us entirely. Therefore, she only is the frontier between created and uncreated nature, and there is no man that shall come to God except he be truly illumined through her, that Lamp truly radiant with divinity, even as the Prophet says, “God is in the midst of her, she shall not be shaken’(Ps. 45:5).
Hence, as it was through the Theotokos alone that the Lord came to us, appeared upon earth and lived among men, being invisible to all before this time, so likewise in the endless age to come, without her mediation, every emanation of illuminating divine light, every revelation of the mysteries of the Godhead, every form of spiritual gift, will exceed the capacity of every created being. She alone has received the all-pervading fullness of Him that filleth all things, and through her all may now contain it, for she dispenses it according to the power of each, in proportion and to the degree of the purity of each. Hence she is the treasury and overseer of the riches of the Godhead. For it is an everlasting ordinance in the heavens that the inferior partake of what lies beyond being, by the mediation of the superior, and the Virgin Mother is incomparably superior to all. It is through her that as many as partake of God do partake, and as many as know God understand her to be the enclosure of the Uncontainable One, and as many as hymn God praise her together with Him. She is the cause of what came before her, the champion of what came after her and the agent of things eternal. She is the substance of the prophets, the principle of the apostles, the firm foundation of the martyrs and the premise of the teachers of the Church . She is the glory of those upon earth, the joy of celestial beings, the adornment of all creation. She is the beginning and the source and root of unutterable good things; she is the summit and consummation of everything holy.
O divine, and now heavenly, Virgin, how can I express all things which pertain to thee? How can I glorify the treasury of all glory? Merely thy memory sanctifies whoever keeps it, and a mere movement towards thee makes the mind more translucent, and thou dost exalt it straightway to the Divine. The eye of the intellect is through thee made limpid, and through thee the spirit of a man is illumined by the sojourning of the Spirit of God, since thou hast become the steward of the treasury of divine gifts and their vault, and this, not in order to keep them for thyself, but so that thou mightest make created nature replete with grace. Indeed, the steward of those inexhaustible treasuries watches over them so that the riches may be dispensed; and what could confine that wealth which wanes not? Richly, therefore, bestow thy mercy and thy graces upon all thy people, this thine inheritance, O Lady! Dispel the perils which menace us. See how greatly we are expended by our own and by aliens, by those without and by those within. Uplift all by thy might: mollify our fellow citizens one with another and scatter those who assault us from without-like savage beasts. Measure out thy succor and healing in proportion to our passions, apportioning abundant grace to our souls and bodies, sufficient for every necessity. And although we may prove incapable of containing thy bounties, augment our capacity and in this manner bestow them upon us, so that being both saved and fortified by thy grace, we may glorify the pre-eternal Word Who was incarnate of thee for our sakes, together with His unoriginate Father and the life-creating Spirit, now and ever and unto the endless ages. Amen."
© Holy Transfiguration Monastery, taken from: http://sgpm.goarch.org/Monastery/index.php?p=35.
By Metropolitan Hierotheos of Nafpaktos, from his book "Saint Gregory Palamas as a Hagiorite"'Every saint loves the Panagia. Sainthood is not understood without this Theotokophilia. It occurs because the saints, after tasting the Jove of God, communing of the Body and Blood of Christ, and experiencing the gifts of the incarnation if Christ, feel the need to give thanks also to that person who was the cause of this great joy. It is well known that the saints are very sensitive and are therefore grateful for even the smallest gifts which they receive, and much more for the great gift of the deification of human nature, which came about in the Tomb of the Theotokos. She gave her flesh to the Son and ford of God for his incarnation.
This is also the case with St. Gregory Palamas. However, the saint felt love for the Panagia also for other reasons. He was granted to see her in his life, he was her protege. We shall give me details to demonstrate this truth, as his biographer and low monk, Philotheos Kokkinos, Patriarch of Constantinople, describes them.
The first indication is the fact that from an early age he wass given into the protection of the Theotokos by his father.
Before his father died, St. Gregory's mother asked him to ask the emperor to protect his children. That saintly man not only did not accept her words, but rebuked her in a way and said to her."I do not leave my children to some earthly rulers, but I leave my children to this Mistress of all, the mother of the King of heaven." And indeed at the time when he said these things he was looking at the icon of the Theotokos which was in front of him. St. Philotheos says in his biography of St. Gregory that the words of his holy father came true, because the theotokos herself persuaded the emperor to take care of the orphan children, but also later "she was seen to be their protectress and guide, and in every way the saviour of both their souls and their bodies."The second circumstance which shows that his father's prophetic words were actually fulfilled and the Theotokos was a wonderful sponsor, governess and guide, came from the period of his studies. At die beginning of his studies the saint had difficulty in memorizing.
Then he placed a restriction on himself not to come near the books and not to begin reading without first having knelt three time before the icon of the Theotokos, saying a prayer at the same time. When he did this work every day he succeeded very easily in memorizing and reciting the lessons. But if he sometimes forgot to follow this rule even the recitation failed right away." At the same time, as Philotheos says, the Panagia persuaded the emperor to be the guardian of the children and to assume all their personal expenses. Furthermore the emperor showed particular sympathy, for he invited them to come to see him and talked with them in a kind and loving way.
The third sign is from the period of his asceticism on Mount Athos. Immediately after he came to the Holy Mountain he gave himself over with great zeal to ascesis, fasting, vigil and unceasing prayer. It is significant, according to the information of St. Philotheos Kokkinos, that he prayed unceasingly to the Theotokos. He prayed day and night to God, projecting the Mother of God "as guide, protector and mediator, all the time bringing before his eyes her aid and her countenance, with words and prayers and noetic movements, and pondering the way of obedience with her guidance." So in the first two years the saint was praying constantly to God, with the Panagia as his guide and mediator. The prayer which he was saying at that time was "enlighten my darkness."During a great stillness, while his nous had turned inward and to God, John the Evangelist appeared to him, not in a dream, but in a vision, and assured him that he had been sent "as a messenger from the Queen beyond," to find out why he was constantly praying: "enlighten my darkness, enlighten my darkness." St. Gregory replied that, since he is a passionate man, he was praying to be enlightened by God to be conformed to His saving will. Then John the Evangelist said: "Do not be afraid, do not doubt... the Queen of all is giving the order through us: 'I myself will be your help'." And when again St. Gregory asked when the Theotokos would be his help and ally, in the present or future life, then the Evangelist replied: "both before and now, in both the present and die future."
The fourth sign is the revelation which the Theotokos herself made to St. Gregory. It was at the time when he had returned to the Lavra, but he was staying at St. Sabbas frontisterion outside the Monastery of the Great Lavra. He once prayed for himself and his escort to the Panagia, "the usual governor and deliverer," that both their guidance and their journey toward God might be unimpeded, but also that they might have what they needed for their nourishment, in order not to be very much occupied with collecting supplies and neglect prayer. Then the Panagia, the Queen of all, appeared in a vision, "dressed modestly and purely," just as the holy icons present her. Many saints had appeared and were following her. Then the Theotokos turned and gave them the order to serve St. Gregory and his escort: "From now on you are to be stewards and distributors of the necessities for Gregory and his escort."
And St. Gregory was assured that from then on "all that was necessary for our bodily needs was offered us without effort wherever we happened to be."
From what we have said it is clear that St. Gregory Palamas had a close relationship and communion with the Theotokos. All the things that he writes about her, which we shall see further on, are obviously not dry, intellectual thoughts and reasoning conjectures, but experiences of the Panagia. This explains his great love for her. We can also see the progressive manifestation and revelation of the Theotokos. At first, through his father's prayer, she took up his protection. Then she showed him clearly that he must trust in her, for she would protect him throughout his studies. Then, through John the Evangelist, she assured him that she would be his helper and protector, and finally she herself was revealed personally. Throughout his life the saint was convinced that he had the protection and help of the Theotokos, and therefore he struggled with strength and courage, expounded the theology of the Church in an orthodox way and defeated the heresies of his time."
ORTHODOX HERITAGE OCTOBER 2004 BROTHERHOOD OF ST .POIMEN, taken from: http://www.pigizois.net/agglika/personal_relationship.htm.