The Greatest of All Impediments to Salvation

Of the many things which impede our salvation the greatest of all is that when we commit any transgression we do not at once turn back to God and ask forgiveness. Because we feel shame and fear we think that the way back to God is difficult, and that He is angry and ill-tempered towards us, and that there is need of great preparation if we wish to approach Him. But the loving-kindness of God utterly banishes this thought from the soul. What can prevent anyone who clearly knows how kind He is and that, as it is said, “While you are yet speaking, He will say, ‘Here I am'” (Isa. 58:9), from approaching Him at once for the pardon of the sins which he has committed?

This is a scheme and device against us on the part of our common enemy, that he moves him whom he leads into sin with rashness and daring, but inspires men with shame and groundless fear once they have ventured on the most terrible deeds. Thus in the former case he prepares their fall, in the latter he does not permit them to rise anew, but rather both leads them away from God and prevents them from returning to Him. So he leads to the same ruin by opposite paths.

– St. Nicholas Cabasilas, The Life in Christ