A profound and hidden mystery is the fall of man. It is quite impossible for a person to understand it by his own powers. This is because among the consequences of the fall is mental blindness, which prevents the mind from seeing the depths and darkness of the fall. Our fallen state deceptively appears to be a state of triumph, and the land of exile seems to be an exceptional field of progress and enjoyment. Gradually God discloses the mystery to those ascetics who serve Him sincerely and with all their soul.
What a different picture, brethren, and how terrible is the sight that meets our gaze when the mystery is disclosed to us! When by divine guidance the abysses of hell are laid bare in the depth of the heart, how is it possible not to be filled with fear! How can we not be filled with fear especially when our with weakness and infirmity is proved to us by countless bitter experiences! How is it possible not to be filled with horror at the thought that some deadly passion can lie hidden in the heart for a long time, then suddenly appear and ruin a person for ever! That is true. But whoever fears sin, whoever does not trust himself, is not in danger from sin.
–St. Ignatii Brianchaninov, Chapter 40 “Concerning Resentment or Remembrane of Wrongs,” The Arena.
[This entry is also posted to my companion blog.]