To that end, let us offer here some words that may encourage all during this season of the Great Fast.
Wisdom of Sirach 17:20-27 Turn to the Lord and forsake your sins, and pray in His presence and reduce your offense. Return to the Most High and turn away from wrongdoing, and hate an abomination exceedingly. Who will praise the Most High in Hades, as do the living and those who give thanks? Thanksgiving ceases from a dead man since he is no longer alive; only the living and the healthy will praise the Lord. How great the mercy of the Lord is, and His atonement for those who turn to Him!
Wisdom of Sirach 28:1-7 He who seeks revenge will find it from the Lord, and He will surely punish his sins. Forgive a wrong done by your neighbor; then your sins will be pardoned when you pray. Can a man preserve wrath against his neighbor and still seek healing from the Lord? Can he show no mercy toward a man like himself and still beg God for mercy for himself? If he being flesh keeps his anger continually, who will atone for his sins? Remember the end of your life and cease from enmity; remember destruction and death and stand fast in the commandments. Remember the commandments and do not vent your wrath against your neighbor; remember the covenant of the Most High and overlook faults.
From Saint Augustine: The fact that your enemies have been created is God's doing. The fact that they hate you and wish to ruin you is their own doing. What should you then say about them in your mind? Lord, be merciful to them. Forgive them their sins. Put the fear of God in them. Change them. Then, you are loving in them not what they are, but what you would have them become.
From Saint John Climacus: Do not stop praying as long as, by God's grace, the fire and the water [i.e. fervor and tears] have not been exhausted, for it may happen that never again in your whole life will you have such a chance to ask for the forgiveness for your sins.
Saint Mark the Ascetic: He who seeks forgiveness of his sins loves humility, but if he condemns another he seals his own wickedness..... The sign of sincere love is to forgive wrongs done to us. It was with such love that the Lord loved the world.
Saint Maximos the Confessor: A man who has been assiduous in acquiring the fruits of love will not cease loving even if he suffers a thousand calamities. Let Stephen, the disciple of Christ, and others like him persuade you of the truth of this (cf. Acts 7:60). Our Lord Himself prayed for His murderers and asked the Father to forgive them because they did not know what they were doing (cf. Luke 23:34).
Saint John Cassian: If we remember that thief who, for a single confession, was taken into Paradise, we shall realize that it was not for the merit of the life he lived that he obtained so great blessedness, but that it was his by the gift of God, Who had mercy on him. Or let us think of David, the king, whose two such grievous and awful crimes were wiped away by one word of penitence. Neither here do we see that the merit of what he did was equal to obtaining pardon for such great offense, but the grace of God did the more abound when on the occasion of true penitence He did away with all that weight of sin for one single word of genuine confession.
Saint Nikolai Velimirovich: Seven brothers were ill in one hospital. One recovered from his illness and got up and rushed to serve his other brothers with brotherly love, to speed their recovery. Be like this brother. Consider all men to be your brothers, and sick brothers at that. And if you come to feel that God has given you better health than others, know that it is given through mercy, so in health you may serve your frailer brothers.