The Shepherd, March 2009
FROM THE FATHERS
“IT IS MORE SERIOUS to lose hope than to sin. The traitor Judas was a defeatist, inexperienced in spiritual warfare; as a result he was reduced to despair by the enemy’s onslaught, and he went and hanged himself. Peter, on the other hand, was a firm rock: although brought down by a terrible fall, yet because of his experience in spiritual warfare he was not broken by despair, but leaping up he shed bitter tears from a contrite and humiliated heart. And as soon as our enemy saw them, he recoiled as if his eyes had been burnt by searing flames, and he took to flight howling and lamenting.”
Ven. John of Karpathos, dates unsure, maybe seventh century
“NO ONE should give way to despair, even though the devil finds various means by which to insinuate it not only into those who live carelessly but also into those who practice the ascetic life. If, then, the time of this life is time for repentance, the very fact that a sinner still lives is a pledge that God will accept whoever desires to return to Him.”
St Gregory Palamas, +1359 A.D.
“NEVER DESPAIR of God’s mercy, no matter by what sins you may have been bound through the tempting of the devil, but pray with your whole heat, with the hope of forgiveness; knock at the door of God’s mercy, and it shall be opened unto you. Do not despair, then, whatever sins you may have committed; only repent and confess them with a contrite heart and humble spirit.”
Righteous John of Cronstadt the Wonderworker, + 1908 A.D.