Here are some words from St. John of Avila, Doctor of the Church. Although they are directed at scrupulous individuals in particular, they are beneficial for all.
+ Be assured that He loves you, even if He does not show it at the present moment.
+ Our love for God should not cause us excessive sadness whenever we commit some venial sin. If this were necessary, who would ever be at rest or peace, for we are all sinners?
+ How long will you continue your minute self-examinations? It is like raking up a dust heap from which nothing can come but rubbish and unpleasantness… If you look only on yourself, you will loathe yourself and your many defects will take away all your courage.
+ Feel sure of this, that it is not for your own merits, but for those of Jesus crucified, that you are loved and made whole.
+ Do not give way to such discouragement about your faults; the results will show you how displeasing it is to God. It would be far better to be courageous and strong-hearted. Meditate on the benefits you have received through Jesus Christ in the past and possess now; reflect on them in such a manner as to lead you to sorrow for your sins against Him and to avoid offending Him, without losing your peace and patience if you happen to fall.
+ Be content that His love should come from His goodness, and not from your merits. What does it matter to a bride if she is not beautiful, if the bridegroom’s affection for her makes her seem so in his eyes?
+ Be at peace: you are indeed the handmaid of the crucified Christ: forget your past misdoings as if they had never been. I tell you, in God’s name, as I have done before, that such is His holy will.
+ Run swiftly on your way with a light foot, like one who has thrown a heavy burden off his shoulders, which hindered his course. If the longed-for quiet does not come at once, do not distress yourself; sometimes one travels farther in a storm than in a calm, and war gains more merits than peace.
– “While we were still sinners, God died for us.” (Romans 5:8) This passage is proof of the saying, “Love the sinner, hate the sin.” If this were not true, we could never arise from serious sin. We do not earn God’s love. Yes; we are free to reject it, but when we experience remorse of conscience, it is God calling us back to himself, as Archbishop Fulton Sheen says.
(The following words are primarily addressed to those who become discouraged when they fall into serious sin. These words do not refer to doubtful mortal sin, or those who simply misunderstand God’s precepts and His infinite love, which “can be exhaused by no human iniquity.” – Council of Trent)
After serious sin, rather than be discouraged, we should approach God more confidently and humbly than before. (Reflect on this) Backsliding is no small fault.** “Pride is the beginning of all sin.” Give God the joy of forgiving you.
Fr. Hamon: “Dost thou not understand that the great goodness of God is a reason for serving Him better, and that to make of it a motive for offending Him is to amass treasures of anger upon thy head?” (Rom. 2:4-5) Each sinner has two options: 1. Remain in sin and be lost. 2. Repent and be saved! The choice should be obvious!
“He has become so small —you see: a Child! — so that you can approach Him with confidence.” (St. Josemaria Escriva)
– “But they that hope in the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall take wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31). “They who place their confidence in God shall renew their strength; they shall lay aside their own weakness, and shall acquire the strength of God; they shall fly like eagles in the way of the Lord, without fatigues and without ever failing. David says that, “mercy shall encompass him that hopeth in the Lord” (Ps. 31:10). He that hopes in the Lord shall be encompassed by His mercy, so that he shall never be abandoned by it.” (St. Alphonsus)
– St. Francis de Sales says, that the mere attention to distrust of oneself on account of our own weakness, would only render us pusillanimous, and expose us to great danger of abandoning ourselves to a tepid life, or even to despair. The more we distrust our own strength, the more we should confide in the divine mercy. This is a balance, says the same saint, in which the more the scale of confidence in God is raised, the more the scale of confidence in ourselves descends.” (St. Alphonsus)
– God is the cause of ALL holiness. By reflecting on the graces we receive, we will grow in humility, love, gratitude and confidence. I believe this was the secret of St. Therese.
– If you fall into serious sin, ask God: How can I avoid this in the future? Avoid occasions of sin, and do not be discouraged… ever! Recall the words of Our Lord to Sr. Consolata:
“Believe Me, I am solely and always kind; I am solely an always like a parent to you! So, imitate the children who at every little scratch of the finger, run at once to mother to have it bandaged. You should always do the same and remember that I will always cancel out and repair your imperfections and faults, just as a mother will always bandage the child’s finger, whether it is really hurt or only seems so in his imagination. And if the child were to really hurt his arm, or his head, (i.e. fall into serious sin… which Our Lord will preserve us from if we sincerely desire it, just as He promised to Sr. Consolata) how tenderly and affectionately would he be cared for and bandaged by the mother! Well, I do this very same thing with regard to your soul when you fall, even though I may do so in silence. Do You understand Consolata? Therefore, never, never, never have even a shadow of doubt; a lack of confidence wounds My heart to the quick, and makes Me suffer!”
“You are to love. You are too small to climb to the summit: I will carry you on My shoulder.” – Jesus to Sr. Consolata Betrone