The period of Great Lent is a time of repentance, a time of confession. Our Lord, God and Father seeks for nothing more than our repentance. He wants our sins. We give Him our sins – He forgives us. We give Him our sins – He heals us. We give Him our sins – He sets us free from the bonds of sin and the evil one. We give Him our sins – ‘He kills the fatted calf’ (Luke 15:27). We give Him our sins – And He exclaims ‘for this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found’ (Luke 15:24).
Pretty unfair deal! We give Him our sins and we benefit. What are we waiting for? Why procrastinate! Now is the time for repentance!
Take care, my brothers and sisters, for the Evil One wars against spiritual strugglers in various ways. He works against man with unimaginabe hypocritical cleverness. Thus, before a sin is committed, the Enemy diminishes its significance in the eye of strugglers. More than any other sin, he puts before them the desire for fleshly pleasure as such a small thing that, prior to succumbing to it, it appears as insignificant to the conscience of a brother or sister as throwing a glass of cold water on the ground. When, however, the fleshly desire is fulfilled, then the Evil One greatly puffs up the sin in the conscience of the sinner, kindling in his soul numberless thoughts of despair, like black waves from Hell, so that the brother’s good thoughts of repentance are submerged and he is hurled into the depths of hopelessness.
Seeing from the preceding example, my brothers and sisters, the scheming of the Enemy, take care not to be duped in some misdeed, persisting in it and despairing of your salvation; rather, after rising from your fall, return to the Lord your God. And be confident that He will have compassion on you, for our Lord is tender-hearted and full of compassion, rich in mercy and long-suffering, and He does not punish those who sincerely repent, but immediately greets them with joy.
Therefore, when the Enemy of your soul whispers, “You have lost all, you cannot be saved,” answer him: “I do not despair of my salvation, for I have a compassionate and long-suffering God. And this conviction upholds me in my belief that He Who commanded that we forgive our fellow man for his transgressions against us even seven times seventy that He, by the same token, will forgive the sins of all who with their whole souls turn to Him.” With such reflections and with the Grace of God, most assuredly all warfare with Satan will depart from you.
St Isaac the Syrian