What is it that so distresses you? No stain is intrinsic.

If a man has tar on his hands, he removes it with a little cleansing oil; how much more, then, can you be made clean with the oil of God’s mercy.

You find no difficulty in washing your clothes; how much easier is it for the Lord to cleanse you from every stain, although you are bound to be tempted every day.

When you say to the Lord, ‘I have sinned’, He answers: ‘Your sins are forgiven you; I am He who wipes them out and I will remember them no more’(Matt. 9:2; Isa.43:25);

‘as far as the east is from the west, so far have I removed your sins from you; and as a father shows compassion to his sons, so will I show compassion to you’ (Ps.103:12-13).

Only do not rebel against Him who has called you to pray and recite psalms, but cleave to Him throughout your life in pure and intimate communion, reverent yet unashamed in His presence, and always full of thanksgiving.

It is God who, by a simple act of His will, cleanses you. For what God chooses to make clean not even the great Apostle Peter can condemn or call unclean.

For he is told: ‘What God has cleansed, do not call unclean’ (Acts 10:15). For has not God in His love acquitted us? ‘Who then will condemn us?’ (Rom. 8:33-34).

When we call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, it is not hard for our conscience to be made pure, and then we are no different from the prophets and the rest of the saints.

For God’s purpose is not that we should suffer from His anger, but that we should gain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us.

So then, whether we are watchful in virtue or sometimes fall asleep, as is likely to happen because of our failings, yet shall we live with Christ.

As we look up to Him with cries of distress and continual lamentation, it is Christ Himself that we breathe.

[…] The great Physician of the sick is here beside us, He that bore our infirmities, that healed and still heals us by His wounds (Isa.53:5); He is here beside us and even now administers the medicine of salvation.

‘For’, He says’, I have afflicted you by My absence, but I will also heal you. So do not fear: for when My fierce anger has passed, I will heal you again.

[…] ‘For if a bird devotes itself with tender love to its nestlings, visiting them every hour, calling to them and feeding them, how much greater is My compassion towards My creatures!

John of Karpathos (7th century): For the Encouragement of the Monks in India, Supplement, trans. G.E.H. Palmer, P. Sherrard, and K. Ware, The Philokalia, vol. 1 (Faber and Faber, London & Boston: 1979) @ J B Burnett.

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