I was reminiscing today about a previous stage in my spiritual life when I was given an abundance of drawing graces, defined as graces given to me to draw me into relationship with Jesus and Mary. I remember feeling spiritually “intoxicated”! Everything seemed so easy – meditating, reading spiritual books, turning off the TV, sitting at Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, praying the rosary. These graces were heavenly and I “drank” them up! The more the better! I could talk for hours into the night with other spiritual friends on the same “high” as me!
Looking back, I have to laugh at myself. My reaction was definitely not that of Elizabeth’s: “And how does this happen to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Lk 1:43). No, I think I must have subconsciously imagined I deserved it somehow. My reaction was more like the Pharisee who saw when someone else WASN’T praying! In my intoxication, everyone else’s “exterior” spiritual life was magnified and obviously needed fixing! And, what was worse was that I often doubted my dear ones could convert!
Oh, to waste such beautiful graces! But, it is true. I did. I used God’s drawing graces against Him by living as if I was the master of these graces, up on my pedestal of “holiness” looking down on everyone else as if on their own they should be able to do more to grow in faith. It was so deeply subconscious that it is only now that I see it – over 10 years later.
But, praise God for His master plans and for HIS MERCY! Eventually the drawing graces were limited, and more and more “humble pie” was served to me! The drawing graces were special and needed – without them, I may never have started a prayer life or seen the value in all the Church has to offer. Without all the grace from that time in my life in which I grew quickly in relationship with Christ through Mary, I may not have survived the deeper misery they wanted to show me. During the necessary stage of initial conversion I wasn’t getting the full message of how tremendously God loves.
Now I understand better why it is so emphasized in our spirituality to look upon my dear ones as the saints they WILL BE in Heaven, and not to view them in the “stages” of spiritual life I think they are in. Just as I was drawn by grace into relationship with my Savior and His Mother, why should I doubt that my dear ones will have the same opportunity? WE (Mary and I) believe that my conversion and deeper realization of how I am loved as I am will benefit those around me more than my words, persuasions, or judgments.
“Therefore, we should always look upon our dear ones, as well as those who are away from the faith, as God looks upon them in His mercy. God looks at them as saints, even though they may convert in a year, maybe in ten years, or even – as in the case of the good thief – only at the last hours of their lives. “ (S.C. Biela, God Alone Suffices, 3rd. ed. (Ft. Collins, CO: IAMF, 2011), 41.)
“The person who concentrates on God and on fulfilling His will does not get too discouraged by his own failures, even when it comes to testifying to the truth. If others are not open to his words, his arguments, or his attitude, he tries to remember that faith is a grace, which these people perhaps have not yet received. Also, when he sees that he himself continually forgets about the truths pertaining to interior life, and when he does not see any of the fruits of his interior struggles, he tries to remember that God, in order to realize His will, can hide these fruits from him.” (S.C. Biela, Behold, IStand at the Door and Knock (Ft. Collins, CO: IAMF, 2005), 59.)