Nay, what is so bitter and vehement as the torment of love?
I mean that those who have become conscious that they have sinned against love suffer greater torment from this than from any fear of punishment.
For the sorrow caused in the heart by sin against love is more poignant than any torment.
It would be improper for a man to think that sinners in Gehenna are deprived of the love of God.
Love is the offspring of knowledge of the truth which, as is commonly confessed, is given to all.
The power of love works in two ways. It torments sinners, even as happens here when a friend suffers from a friend.
But it becomes a source of joy for those who have observed its duties.
Thus I say that this is the torment of Gehenna: bitter regret.
But love inebriates the souls of the sons of Heaven by its delectability.
+ St. Isaac the Syrian, “Homily 72: On the Vision of the Nature of Incorporeal Beings, in Questions and Answers,” Ascetical Homilies of St Isaac the Syrian
“Though your sins be like scarlet, they may be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isaiah 1:18).
O, the boundless mercy of God! In His greatest wrath upon the faithless and ungrateful people, upon the people “laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters” (Isaiah 1:4), as “princes [rulers] of Sodom” (Isaiah 1:10) and upon the people who have become as the “people of Gomorrah” (Isaiah 1:10) – in such wrath, the Lord does not abandon mercy but rather calls them to repentance. Just as after terrible lightnings, a gentle rain falls. Such is the Lord long-suffering [patient] and full of mercy and “neither will He keep His anger forever” [Psalm 102:9 (103:9)]. Only if sinners cease to commit evil and learn to do good and turn to God with humility and repentance they will become “white as snow.” 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. No matter how often linen is washed in water with ashes and soap, no matter how often it is washed and rewashed, it cannot receive whiteness until it is spread under the light of the sun. Thus, our soul cannot become white, no matter how often we cleanse it by our own effort and labor even with the help of all legal means of the law until we, at last, bring it beneath the feet of God, spread out and opened wide so that the light of God illumines it and whitens it. The Lord condones and even commends all of our labor and effort, i.e., He wants us to bathe our soul in tears, by repentance to constrain it by the pangs of the conscience to press it, to clothe it with good deeds and in the end of ends, He calls us to Him: “Come now,” says the Lord, “and let us reason together” (Isaiah 1:18). That is, I will look at you and I will see if there is Me in you and you will look upon Me as in a mirror and you will see what kind of person you are.
O Lord, slow to anger, have mercy on us before the last wrath of that Dreadful Day.
+ St. Nikolai Velimirovich, Homily for August 5 in The Prologue of Ohrid Volume II
St Nicholas of Myra in Lycia The Wonderworker