the 'second chances' I see are in the new souls that are given. The Guardian Ascended get these from Ascendants Hill, Cyril sends you there to get one. The Defiants get a new soul after doing the quest from the Faceless man, and then each of the factions when returning/going back, are told something entirely different than they were told when first becoming ascended.
One little thing I am trying to understand, is in the book the Price of Progress. It is said in this that the Guardian Ascended that they are studying in Terminus were caught in a soul net. You come across this book after seeing the Guardian Ascended Ravagers held captive, so I assumed that these were the ones caught, so I question did these ones return to a soul stream somehow? If I don't assume they are the same ones, then I assume that when the Vigil were ascending others, that somehow, while descending, they were caught.
When I look up Ravagers a definition is one that brings heavy destruction, so then I wonder, if this is what is meant by the Vigil saying, the ascended are instrusments of their own fate, so these ones caught were of the Guardian Ascended that attacked Meridian, and somehow re-entered the soul stream.