DRIVE far away that hound of hell which comes at the time of your deepest mourning and whispers that God is neither merciful nor compassionate.
You will find, if you take the trouble, that before you sinned he was assuring you that God is loving, compassionate, and forgiving.
St John Climacus, “Ladder of Divine Ascent” Step 7, “On Mourning”. Translation by Colm Luibheid and Norman Russell, with my added italics.
O CHRIST my Saviour, I have become like the man who fell among thieves, who was wounded and left half dead. For through my sins I have wounds more grievous than his.
Stripped of all Thy wealth, he cried out lamenting: ‘O Saviour, I am gravely wounded; leave me not to the thieves.’ So do I also pray to Thee: Merciful Lord, O save me.
My mind has been scourged with the whips of sin by wicked thieves and evil thoughts. Heal, Christ my Saviour, and save me, for Thou art rich in mercy.
O UNDEFILED Mother of Christ, God took flesh from thee while yet remaining always in the bosom of the Father; pray to Him without ceasing, that He may save from every peril the creatures He has formed.
Matins on the Fourth Sunday in Lent. Translation by Mother Mary and Bishop Kallistos.