Now, you'll have to forgive me, but I don't know where or who originated the following quotes, but nonetheless they provide a great source of hope. I remember reading or hearing a quote from one Eastern saint that was along the lines of "God desires to give us mercy more than we desire to receive it." Think of that. No matter how much we may desire God's mercy, He desires to give it to us even more! He stands ready to forgive us, even before we are ready to be forgiven.
I believe I've heard once as well that there is more mercy in God than there are sins in us. No matter how much we sin, there is always more mercy awaiting us. We simply have to ask for it, and we have to be willing to receive it; this implies that we must always be willing to change our lives where our lives need changing. The mercy is there, but we have to be willing to cooperate with God's mercy.
One last quote that has impacted me strongly lately comes from a Western saint, St. Alphonsus Liguori. It was the writings of St. Alphonsus that originally got me into reading the writings of the saints. His words are always so simple and to the point, and yet they are always so profound. In meditating on the reasons for our hope, St. Alphonsus has this to say:
"God willed that we should be so inseparably united to Jesus Christ that He cannot be loved except that we be loved with Him; nor can we be hated except that He be hated with us. But now Jesus cannot be hated (by the Father); therefore, we shall be loved as long as we remain united to Him by love."
Have you ever considered this; that the Father has tied his love for us so closely to His love for His Son that He cannot love the Son without also loving us! Nor can he hate us without also hating the Son! Talk about a personal "catch 22." But the Father would have it no other way.
So don't let personal sinfulness get in the way of your hope in God. God has bound His love for us with His love for His Son. And just as He raised His Son from physical death, He will raise us too from the spiritual death of our sinfulness. May heaven consume us!