St. Isaac the Syrian
“As a handful of sand is thrown into the ocean, so are the sins of all flesh as compared with the mind of God. Just as a strongly flowing fountain is not blocked up by a handful of earth, so the compassion of the Creator is not overcome by the sins of His creatures. Someone who bears a grudge while he prays is like a person who sows in the sea and expects to reap a harvest.”
St. Nicholai Velimirovich
In the third volume of the Missionary Letters of St. Nicholai Velimirovich, in letter 230, St. Nicholai tells a story to explain how God’s mercy works.
“A priest is walking down a lonely road on a hot day when suddenly out of the bushes jumps a wild looking man with a gun. The man says to the priest, “I have killed 99 men, and you will be the 100th.” The priest says to the him, I am ready to die; but please before you shoot me, give me a little water to drink. I am so thirsty. The murderer is confused for a moment, and then directs the priest at gun point to his hovel in the bushes where he gives the priest a cup of water to drink. As the priest is drinking the water, the murderer dies of a heart attack. The angels from heaven come to escort the soul of this murderer to heaven, but the demons contest with them. “This man murdered 99 men and committed many other smaller sins. His soul belongs to us.” But the angels answer the demons,” But he also did two great deeds for the Gospel of Christ which outweigh all his sins. First he confessed his 99 murders to a priest and second he gave water to the thirsty. No sin, no matter how many times repeated, is greater than the mercy of God.”
The Lord is mighty and willing. No one, except Him, is able to cleanse the sinful soul of man from sin and, by cleansing, to whiten it.
O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! 34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor? Romans 11:33-34