Dear brother, rest assured that you are not the first, or the last, person who has difficulty with this particular Saint. While St. Gregory Palamas is not found on the Roman Calendar, he is recognized as a Saint within the Catholic Communion, and his teachings are considered orthodox. That being said, there are some major hurdles to overcome in terms of understanding his teachings, especially when it comes to nuance and terminology.
One "ground rule" to keep in mind at all times when dealing with St. Gregory Palamas is that his writings were actually a defense
of the "Beatific Vision", rather than an argument against it. Keeping this in mind will help you to understand how his teachings are indeed orthodox. It also helps to know a bit about his opponents, and what they were arguing, so I think I'll start with that.
The most famous opponent of St. Gregory, the one who got him writing in the first place (and the one who's arguments are pretty much the archtype of the opposition) is Barlaam of Calabria, a Byzantine Scholastic theologian. Barlaam wrote against the Hesychast monks who believed that through prayer, fasting, and holy living they could come to "see God", which they termed a vision of the Taboric Light (referring to the Light which shined forth from Christ on Mt. Tabor, also known as the Transfiguration). Barlaam said that this was impossible, because God essentially infinitely removed from all things, being the Almighty and Infinite, and couldn't be perceived by the finite. He argued that what the monks were experiencing was not God, but merely the "actions of God", in other words the experience was merely a creaturely miraculous representation of God, much like an Icon or something like that. Any true vision of God would basically be impossible.
St. Gregory Palamas, in order to argue against Barlaam, began to articulate his famous distinction of Essence and Energy, saying that both are equally God, but that while the Essence remains infinitely seperate from created things, the Energy (while still Infinite and Almighty) is shared with creatures, and therefore creatures really can see God, and don't merely experience a miraculous "analogical image" of God as a gift from on high.
The major difficulty that comes up, in my opinion, is how the term Essence is used. I believe that the term as used by Palamas is not
equivalent to the common Western use of the term Essence. In Western theological language (especially among my personal favorite Latins, the Dominican Thomists) Essence means "what God is". In Palamas, however, Essence is more akin to meaning "what God is in and as Himself". The term Energy is also used a bit differently in both schools of thought, but it can be roughly boiled down to "God's activity" in either case, albeit with slightly different nuance.
So already we have a major difference in terminology with the use of Essence. In Latin theological terminology, Essence basically means Divinity, whereas in Palamite theology Essence means "God as Himself". This may seem like a small difference, and it is very subtle, but it has significant impact on how the term is used. Since we come to share in Divinity by Grace, the Latin theology can rightly say that we "participate in the Divine Essence". This can't
be said using Palamite terminology and definitions, however, because even with Grace and the Divine Life we don't "share in God as God is God", but only as "creatures sharing in God". In other words, we don't become Divine in the same sense as God is Divine, but rather as participants in Divinity by Grace. Palamas uses "sharing in the Divine Energies" to express this idea, whereas the Latins would simply say "we participate in the Divine Essence without becoming the Divine Essence".
It was taken for granted, in the argument between Palamas and Barlaam, that sharing in the Divine Essence meant becoming
God as God is God, and it was on this basis that Barlaam said that we couldn't actually see God at all (because we'd have to literally join the Trinity in order to do so). Palamas had to navigate between that extreme, and the extreme of total non-participation in Divinity, in order to properly articulate the orthodox theology, and the language of Essence and Energies is how he did so. That way he could say that we do share in Divinity, since Energies and Essence are the same Divinity, but we don't become as God is in Himself.
In Latin theology we actually see the same distinction being made, just in different words. Thomists, for example, would say that we see the Divine Essence, but we can't comprehend
it, i.e. possess it totally as God alone can. This is because we participate
in the Divine Essence, it is shared with us, while God is
the Divine Essence, i.e. His very being is being this Divinity, and that's something we can never, ever share. The Latins simply don't have a unique term for this "unshared" aspect of Divinity, as this strict distinction between Essence and Energy arose in the East out of these debates in Byzantium after the Schism.
So in the end, I think St. Gregory Palamas was merely defending the same orthodox truth that is defended by the Latins (especially by the Dominicans against the Nominalists), but it's easily clouded by the fact that the terms being used have a different nuance in either theological system. Such is the difficulty of translation and human language.
Hope that helps!
Peace and God bless!