The Lord calls to him all sinners; He opens His arms wide, even to the worst among them. Gladly He takes them in His arms, if only they will come to Him.” — St. Macarius of Optina
Note the Saint’s humility in the last sentence.
He that does not believe in the God Who saves is in difficult circumstances, but is faint-hearted; he that does not wish to render glory to God, that represents Him as not vigilant, but sleeping, not all-powerful and not merciful, thinks falsely of the God of Truth, and thus sins grievously. Especially inexcusable are faint-heartedness and unbelief in the man who has already been deemed worthy of often receiving marvelous help from God the Savior. Oh how great a sinner I am!
St. John of Kronstadt
Initially one thinks this is the typical “Hey all you sinners, stop it!” quote. While it is that, it is also St. John’s look in the mirror.
There is a sin which is always ‘unto death’ (1Jn 5:16): the sin for which we do not,
repent. For this sin even a saint’s prayers will not be heard.
St. Mark the Ascetic; On Those Who Believe They are Made Righteous by Works, v 44, The Philokalia
Someone was asked, ‘When will a man know that he has received the remission of his sins?’ He answered, ‘When in his soul he becomes conscious that he has completely hated them with his whole heart, and when he governs himself in his external actions in a manner opposed to his former way of life. Such a man, as having already hated his sin, is confident that he has received remission of his sins by the reason of the good witness of his conscience which he has acquired, after the saying of the Apostle, “A conscience is a witness of itself.”
St. Isaak the Syrian
Be attentive to yourself, so that nothing destructive can separate you from the love of God. Guard your heart, and do not grow listless and say: ‘How shall I guard it, since I am a sinner?’ For when a man abandons his sins and returns to God, his repentance regenerates him and renews him entirely.
St. Isaiah the Solitary -The Philokalia, Vol.1
O Lord, the woman who had fallen into many sins perceived Thy divinity, and taking upon herself the duty of a myrrh-bearer, with lamentation she bringeth Thee myrrh-oils before Thine entombment. Woe unto me! saith she, for night is become for me a frenzy of licentiousness, a dark and moonless love of sin. Receive the fountains of my tears, O Thou Who gatherest into clouds the water of the sea. Incline unto me, unto the sighings of my heart, O Thou Who didst bow the Heavens by Thine ineffable condescension. I will kiss Thine immaculate feet and wipe them again with the tresses of my head; those feet, at whose sound Eve hid herself for fear when she heard Thee walking in Paradise in the cool of the day. As for the multitude of my sins and the depths of Thy judgments, who can search them out, O Saviour of souls, my Saviour? Do not disdain me, Thy handmaiden, O Thou Who art boundless in mercy.
Ποίημα Κασσιανὴς Μοναχῆς
Κύριε, ἡ ἐν πολλαῖς ἁμαρτίαις περιπεσοῦσα Γυνή, τὴν σὴν αἰσθομένη Θεότητα, μυροφόρου ἀναλαβοῦσα τάξιν, ὀδυρομένη
μύρα σοι, πρὸ τοῦ ἐνταφιασμοῦ κομίζει. Οἴμοι! λέγουσα, ὅτι νύξ μοι, ὑπάρχει, οἶστρος ἀκολασίας, ζοφώδης τε καὶ
ἀσέληνος, ἔρως τῆς ἁμαρτίας. Δέξαι μου τὰς πηγὰς τῶν δακρύων, ὁ νεφέλαις διεξάγων τῆς θαλάσσης τὸ ὕδωρ· κάμφθητί
μοι πρὸς τοὺς στεναγμοὺς τῆς καρδίας, ὁ κλίνας τοὺς οὐρανούς, τῇ ἀφάτῳ σου κενώσει· καταφιλήσω τοὺς ἀχράντους σου
πόδας, ἀποσμήξω τούτους δὲ πάλιν, τοῖς τῆς κεφαλῆς μου βοστρύχοις, ὧν ἐν τῷ Παραδείσῳ Εὔα τὸ δειλινόν, κρότον τοῖς
ὠσὶν ἠχηθεῖσα, τῷ φόβῳ ἐκρύβη. Ἁμαρτιῶν μου τὰ πλήθη καὶ κριμάτων σου ἀβύσσους, τίς ἐξιχνιάσει ψυχοσῶστα Σωτήρ
μου; Μή με τὴν σὴν δούλην παρίδῃς, ὁ ἀμέτρητον ἔχων τὸ ἔλεος.
An elder said: “Joseph of Arimathea took the body of Jesus and placed it in a clean shroud in a new sepulchre [cf. Mt 27:57–60], that is, in a new man. Let each one studiously endeavour not to sin in order not to do violence to the God who dwells within him and drive him out of his soul. Manna was given to Israel to eat in the desert: to the true Israel the Body of Christ was given.”
The Anonymous Sayings of the Desert Fathers (p. 23). Cambridge University Press.