FOR a righteous man will fall seven times, and rise again: but the ungodly shall be without strength in troubles.
Proverbs 24:16 (LXX).
IT is always possible to make a new start by means of repentance. ‘You fell,’ it is written, ‘now arise’ (cf. Prov. 24:16).
And if you fall again, then rise again, without despairing at all of your salvation, no matter what happens. So long as you do not surrender yourself willingly to the enemy, your patient endurance, combined with self-reproach, will suffice for your salvation. ‘For at one time we ourselves went astray in our folly and disobedience’, says St Paul. ‘… Yet He saved us, not because of any good things we had done, but in His mercy’ (Titus 3:3, 5).
So do not despair in any way, ignoring God’s help, for He can do whatever He wishes. On the contrary, place your hope in Him and He will do one of these things: either through trials and temptations, or in some other way which He alone knows. He will bring about your restoration; or He will accept your patient endurance and humility in the place of works; or because of your hope He will act lovingly towards you in some other way of which you are not aware, and so will save your shackled soul.
St Peter of Damascus (12th century), in his ‘Treasury of Divine Knowledge’, in the Philokalia.
MOST holy Theotokos, save us.
O VIRGIN, who hast such beauty, in whom God’s light shineth, make me bright, make me beautiful in all manner of good things, that I might cry out: Praise the Lord and exalt him to all the ages.
Gate of light, open unto me the shining gate of repentance, revealing to me every straight path of righteousness which leadeth unto the doors of the divine will.
Most holy, pure lady, thou didst bear beyond telling the holy Word who sanctifieth the faithful; beseech him, that he make my lowly soul all holy now, for it is stained with evil.
A clear running river, a spring of incorruption, came forth from thee, holy lady; therefore I cry to thee: dry up the running streams of my evils, O pure lady, by the rains of thy intercessions.
At Matins on Wednesdays of the Plagal of the First Tone. Source.
Holy God, holy strong, holy immortal, have mercy upon us.